Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad
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Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad on 01/06/2010 15:14:43 MST Print View

For the past few weeks, I have been working on a massive trip report on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

The Trip Report is located in the Photo Gallery Section of the Forum.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=27149

I have tried to make it very detailed and include lots of photos to take the reader almost step by step along for the ride to share the adventure.

However, I am 4 days into the trip report and I have some 100 to 150 photos in there and I have 5 more days to report on!

I would like to get people's opinions and constructive criticisms on what has been done so far and feed back for changing what it there and how to proceed with the rest.

Right now, I think that on a day to day basis of the Trip Report it shows what happened without too much fluff, but at the same time, I might be overwhelming the reader or boring them to death.

Any feedback is welcome.

If people like it and enjoy it, then I will keep pressing on.

Thank you for your help.

-Tony

Edited by Valshar on 01/06/2010 16:00:03 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad on 01/06/2010 15:46:24 MST Print View

Tony,

First of all... with all that mileage, where did you find time for all the pictures :)

Although the report is long, I didn't mind going through it all at once. I know how tedius it is to upload pictures on this message board.

Others might find it helpful to post a message for each day of the trip.

Lastly, it looked like a great adventure.

Scott White
(sdwhitey) - F

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad on 01/06/2010 15:47:10 MST Print View

Tony,

love reading your trip reports. Thanks for taking time to post all the photos and commentary. If you have to cut back on content for the second part of the trip I would vote for less "walking along the trail" shots. I really enjoy all the gear details like cooking, shelter setups, etc.

Edited by sdwhitey on 01/06/2010 16:12:56 MST.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad on 01/06/2010 17:10:59 MST Print View

I like trip reports all in one post or at least one thread. If you do multiple posts though, people will post in between the pieces of your trip report, making it more difficult to read.

christopher shive
(cms432)

Locale: Along the AT in PA
Re: Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad on 01/06/2010 17:41:11 MST Print View

I say post them all up! I love a thorough trip report.

Chris

Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
re;re;re;re;re;etc trip report on 01/06/2010 17:56:15 MST Print View

As the author of long trips reports myself, I say write and post what you want. If others find it interesting they'll read and comment. If not they won't. If it seems there is scant interest then adjust next time. But don't leave us hanging halfway through, I'm enjoying it as is.

Steve

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad" on 01/06/2010 19:18:20 MST Print View

One madly obese, photo bloated, meticulously described Tahoe Rim trip report is my vote Tony! And I mean that in a completely positive way. You post some of the best trip reports and I would rather spend a good chunk of time reading an entire summary of your experience than a segmented one. Patience for the finished product, it'll be worth it.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: "Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad" on 01/06/2010 19:39:41 MST Print View

Remember the people who are reading the report were not there and so don't know what you saw and didn't see. Magazine editors have to sort through hundreds, even thousands of photos and pick through those that represent what the writers are trying to portray. You don't have to put up every single photo you have in order to bring someone along the journey. Remember you're trying to get readers to "feel" and "experience" the story, not be you. Even video documentaries, which are actually a series of thousands of snapshots, don't record every single moment of a trip; they cut and jump and choose representative moments. Just go through the pictures which best say what you want to show and ruthlessly eliminate those that are redundant.

It will save your sanity in putting the report together!

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
What Miguel said: "Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad" on 01/06/2010 20:46:27 MST Print View

First I must say that I enjoy Tony's trip reports. He has a gift of communicating the sense that the viewer was present at that moment. BUT ...

The budding writer should understand what Miguel said. I saw an interview with Ken Burns regarding the recent National Parks feature. One question can be paraphrased "Were there some shots that you hated to leave on the editing room floor?" There wasn't a hint of hesitation in the answer, which was more or less "When it comes to editing I have a heart of stone. I never hesitate to cut all material that I don't KNOW advances the story."

I've known that advice for quite a while but it's very hard for me to really understand it. Often the hardest part for me is deciding what the story is.

But in the meantime ... keep it coming Tony, I'm lovin it!

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: What Miguel said: "Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad" on 01/06/2010 21:47:38 MST Print View

Think of it this way: when listening to a friend telling the story of an experience he had, what is more interesting and keeps you glued to what he is saying, a detailed, nothing-left-out, inch-by-inch chronology of every waking moment he had, from what time he brushed his teeth and chewed his oatmeal to which rock he sat on for lunch and how many times he swigged water from his bottle to which side he placed his walking shoes outside his shelter and how many minutes his headlamp was turned on before he went to sleep... or, a series of quick sketches of the best moments of his trip, with some emotional structure that gives the story a human element?

For instance, (and please don't feel offended at this example, just trying to show you how an editor sees things), a little down from the top you have the picture of your blue windbreaker clad friend at the picnic table taking out a Caldera stove, then the next picture is of the same blue clad friend also with a Caldera stove, then a picture of the BushBuddy, followed by the blue clad friend with the Bushbuddy again and then another table shot of the table with a stove, then the iPod, and only then finally a different type of shot with the net shelter, and on to two almost identical shots of your friends stopping to take a break. Look at the run of these shots and mentally eliminate any of them that essentially show the same image. You could eliminate at least 1/3 of the shots and still say exactly the same thing.

Many of your pictures are of three people walking along the trail or resting. Of course, since this is a backpacking report you want to show people actually backpacking, but it might come across stronger if each image stands out as an instance, while at the same time reflecting onto the next image, enhancing it.

Landscapes are wonderful (I love landscape photography), but readers almost always respond more powerfully to images with humans in then... our herd instinct, I guess.

Nevertheless a great story to follow!

I'm not saying at all that your story is boring (I'm enjoying it!), but just trying to both explain how editing works and how you can save yourself a lot of preparation time. Editing is a lifelong art and takes many years to develop well. One of the great losses in great writing is the loss of editors on the internet; many great writers became great due to the invisible hand of their editors. A good editor is just as important as being able to write well.

Edited by butuki on 01/06/2010 22:06:56 MST.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: What Miguel said: "Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad" on 01/06/2010 21:59:36 MST Print View

Miguel & Jim,

Thank you for your insight and advice to keep me on track.

As I have been culling photos for the next leg of the trip, I have this thread open to remind me of what I should be doing.

Part of me wants to document everything that we saw as a step by step memory of what happened and to allow a reader to be able to take the trip themselves and know what is going to happen.

In hindsight, that seems a bit heavy handed of an approach and my sanity can only take so much of staring at these darn photos!

Miguel, great post illustrating the difference between what I have been doing vs. trying to capture the best moments of the trip.

Well, I will see what I can do to thin out the photos, but keep the good stuff.

Yes, a good editor would be a great help.

Everyone, thanks for the positive feedback and for being my virtual editors.

Feel free to comment on this threat with any suggestions or observations.

Sooo many photos and sooo many hard choices of what to keep and delete.

-Tony

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: Re: Re: What Miguel said: "Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad" on 01/06/2010 22:16:42 MST Print View

Tony,

First of all I greatly enjoyed the start of your Trip Report. I don't have the patience that you do.

It really depends on what you are trying to express. If it for you, forget what anyone else thinks and just make it so when you look back in 5 years you enjoy it.

I don't have any friends that really backpack (I need to work on that), so I enjoyed getting to go on a virtual trip with you all.

I liked some of the gear tricks and tips, hiking philosophy and technique, as well as the stories that were able to have us get to know those on the trip a little better.

Again I appreciate the time you are putting into your trip reports.

Thanks

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: What Miguel said: "Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad" on 01/06/2010 22:23:52 MST Print View

Miguel,

Just refreshed this thread and read the additional information that you added in.

I am definitely not offended, quite the opposite.

I see your points and agree....scary thing is that I already went back on the 1st and 2nd day and removed shots...there was more than what you see now!

Question regarding this part:

"it might come across stronger if each image stands out as an instance, while at the same time reflecting onto the next image, enhancing it."

Can you elaborate more on this or give an example of how you might arrange or show some shots? (Does not have to actual ones, but examples of what sort of images you would string together to convey your idea here).

I do feel like I have a ton of shots showing people hiking....it was my intent to show/convey moment to the next location or landscape shot.

I definitely think that after I finish this beast, that I will go back and edit, cull shots.

-Tony

Ruan Kendall
(Ruan) - MLife

Locale: UK
Re: Re: What Miguel said: "Need Advice, Trip Report Gone Mad" on 01/30/2010 08:56:22 MST Print View

Just read through your trip report beginning to end... quite the epic ;-) An interesting read, especially as there isn't much like it in my end of the world (UK).

Editting wise, I'm pretty brutal with my own work. My thoughts might be summarised like this:
- Readers not familiar with the people involved are more likely to be interested in the places you went and the things you did than the people involved. But I guess quite a few of your shots were "people doing stuff" rather than just "people posing for photos"... its the latter that should be cut back, I guess.
- Your report of progress during the day tended to have a lot of repetetive photographs... just the nature of the landscape, I guess. I'd say that in any group of 3 sequential photographs, if any two are more or less the same thing from a slightly different viewpoint, one of em has to go.
- Landscape photography is tricky... its certainly my weakest skill as a photographer, so I guess I can't offer any useful advice on this. But if it isn't a photograph of something striking but is instead a quick snapshot that more or less says 'we were here", maybe it should go, too. I try to make all of my stuff look very different, but usually fail though.

But what do I know? I've never tried to put to gether a report like this, so cheers for sharing yor trip with the rest of us!