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To snap pics, or not to snap pics...
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Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Re: Re: To snap pics, or not to snap pics... on 03/23/2012 09:14:30 MDT Print View

David - good idea on holding the camera by your side.

Notice in your photo...the two people with cameras. One is looking through the view finder, the other is looking down and walking. Then look at the guy on the right hand side of the picture who is looking up and seems to be more observing. This is a decent representation of what I we are talking about.


Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Do both on 03/26/2012 15:28:37 MDT Print View

I am definately aware of the juxtapostion of experiencing a moment or a landscape bs capturing the moment on a camera. I try to do both. But I have to do it conciously. When i first get to a viewpoint or somewhere extraoridinary I take in the sight. Then I get my camera out and take a few pictures and think about how best to tell the story in a picture or just snap away. Then I put the camera away and experience the area again.

It is done as a series of acts because I am not sure that you can experience a place and take a photograph at the same time. You need to make time for both. So on trips where you see lots of wildlife I do rush to get the camera out and take some pictures but sometimes I will just look and remember.

I think the key is to know that you are making a choice and ensure you make time for both.

stephen jennings
(obi96) - F

Locale: Deep in the Green Mountains
When to take a picture on 04/01/2012 22:43:29 MDT Print View

"Too in the moment to take a picture" wow, I must be doing it wrong or something. I've carried a Canon powershot SD 1000 for years from Afghanistan to the JMT and pull it out whenever I'm "In the moment." It has never prevented me from having the "OMG I can't believe I'm here seeing this" euphoric feeling. In fact, I usually put it out because I'm having a OMG/euphoric feeling.
Everyone is different as these posts attest. but we only get one shot at this life and I like to share the moments that mean a lot to me with those I wish could be standing next to me, but can't . Pictures go a long way to making that possible.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: When to take a picture on 04/01/2012 23:39:09 MDT Print View

I have a nice-ish DSLR that I am slowly learning to use. Some trips I take it, some the point & shoot, and some nothing at all. Yesterday was a perfect example of nothing at all. I spent the day snowshoeing and watching the avalanches go up high. I didn't need a camera to enjoy it.

Usually, I pick one purpose for a trip. If it's photography, then I let that dominate the hike. If no camera or just the point & shoot (which just serves to capture the more memorable moments/landscapes) I try to be present and only bring out the camera if necessary.

Really for me it's a matter of focus. I want to be a better photographer but also a better hiker. The two collide, but I try not to collapse them into one another.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: To snap pics, or not to snap pics... on 04/04/2012 08:47:50 MDT Print View

I keep my P-S camera in a case hanging on my chest strap so that it is right there. no fumbling for it. it is 3 seconds away. see something.. take a pic.. then enjoy the moment or whatever.

I try to be selective.. there are only so many pics of tiny waterfalls, flowers, whatever that look cool out there but get boring quick when there are a dozen of them.

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
Re: To snap pics, or not to snap pics... on 04/04/2012 09:18:46 MDT Print View

I went through phases as photography became more digital. When jpegs were young I'd spend hours organizing an archive and backing up to CDs. At some point I noticed I wasn't an early adopter anymore, I was just part of a flood. Photos became very much less precious from say 1994 (Apple Quicktake) to 2001 (Nikon 995).

There are lots of interesting tidbits in this article, including "Every 2 minutes today we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800s."

I totally agree that good photography is art, but I think I'm like a lot of people in that I try to cast a few good images into twitter or instagram ... archiving just a few to remind me what I was doing and when.

(I'm in a meetup hiking club that must itself take more pictures than humanity in the 1800's!)

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: To snap pics, or not to snap pics... on 04/04/2012 12:02:46 MDT Print View

I started enjoying my trips much more and taking better pictures when I stopped trying to take great pictures and instead started taking snapshots that tell the story.

I'm not a photographer, I'm not ever going to take national geographic quality photos. But I like to tell a good story and days, weeks, years later, it's the stories that make me happy. The pictures are there to illustrate the story. In fact, I've started taking particularly illustrative pictures, such as pictures of emptying out my pack to show my gear, pictures of my tent set up, pictures specifically of something I want to write about later.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: To snap pics, or not to snap pics... on 04/04/2012 12:24:52 MDT Print View

"such as pictures of emptying out my pack to show my gear"

It can be fun to document this with a stop-action sequence of photos all shot off a tripod. Then you edit it to make it into a jumpy video strip that lasts 15 seconds. Show that to a group of beginner backpackers.


(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Snap!!! on 04/04/2012 13:23:15 MDT Print View

Take as many pictures as you can. I averaged 700 pictures per 10 day trip the two times I went to Alaska. I spent about 4 hours deleting the bad ones/organizing, and choosing the ones to frame for my home, the work is worth it.

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Re: To snap pics, or not to snap pics... on 04/30/2012 10:20:51 MDT Print View

I had the same thoughts last year. I was doing the John Muir Trail and decided on pictures being not all they cracked up to be, and instead choosing it live in the moment. I was fine with it for most of the hike. But man, when I camped at Evolution Lake and saw the sunset, and then the sunrise lighting up the peaks through the reflection of the lake... I busted out the wholly inadequate iPod nano to try to take some video. Some things you WANT to share with others. I now reflect on other peoples JMT pictures and think back, but I don't have mine.

I've just purchased a nice camera (Canon s100) for my upcoming trips. I'd like to think I've learned a few things. a) take less pictures. Take the time to come up with a good shot, composition and all, that you'll want to have, blow up, frame, show people, and look at. Taking fewer pictures on purpose means I don't just snap 20 an hour and keep walking. It means I take two an hour and think about the shots. If I can't see a smaller square of my field of vision that would reflect what I'm seeing with my eyes, I spend maybe some extra time looking instead.

Some things like movement, you being in them, friends, and certain critters, just don't show up in other people's pictures.

My new big thing, taking less pictures than I used to.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: To snap pics, or not to snap pics... on 04/30/2012 11:02:19 MDT Print View

From my trip this week... have a blinking battery warning :) Then you will take pics of just the stuff you really want. i ended up doing 3 days 40mi and only taking 20 pictures

Richard Sheward
(Shewie) - F
I take too many !!! on 04/30/2012 11:26:57 MDT Print View

I take too many, it's a fact

Probably distracting and annoying to my trail mates every time I stop, but I do enjoy sharing them and looking back at old trips.

My brain is useless at storing images, I must have a bad sector in there, pictures albeit snaps, are the only way I get to relive my adventures.

Remembering just a few basics like general composition, direction of light and the rule of thirds can give you some great memories for when your legs don't carry you like they used to.

Daine Scott
(daine.scott) - F
Re: To snap pics, or not to snap pics... on 05/02/2012 06:20:16 MDT Print View

I’m not in favor of clicking out each and every moment, it just adds to piling up of snaps and after a span of time one hardly gets time to see it all over again.

Chris Scala
(Scalawag) - F
Photos on 05/24/2012 09:47:08 MDT Print View

I'm a photographer, so I'm always struggling with the balance of serenity vs. the "calling" to capture what I see.

In photography, less tends to be more. The problem with digital photography is that photos "cost nothing", so people just blast their shutter all over everything "just in case". The mindfulness of appreciating the scene is lost with this kind of thing, and there is often ZERO planning with regard to the photo itself.

Think back to the days of film... you'd WAIT for a shot. You'd think of 30~ things you wanted to capture, and went for them. Try doing that with digital. Pretend you CAN'T take 3,000 shots.

Chances are, you will end up with far less, but they will be far better. And when you show your friends you won't be like, "This was a log, this was a stone I sat on, this was the view from the lake, this is the lake again, this is the lake from the other side, this is the log from the lake..."

Because honestly, no one cares. If you're struck with beauty about a particular scene, find a way to capture it in one or two images at most. If you can't, it probably will not translate well to a photo.


Beyond that, I just think part of the skill of being a photographer is knowing what will work and what won't, and not expending the effort for what won't. Some things are better as memories. Certain lighting will just crush an otherwise beautiful scene, just due to the nature of how a camera works.

There's also the frame of reference... meaning, when I take a shot, I'm always keeping in mind an artist it may "feel" like, or whether something similar has already been done in a better way.

For example, if I want to take a portrait of a woman on a mountain gazing awe-struck into the distance, my experience with photography tells me to TAKE OFF THE GO-LITE VISOR, or the neon green headband, or other silly "gear" items that just takes away from the photo. This kind of instinct comes only with experience and awareness, but it's something that separates run-of-the-mill family photos, from the National Geographic stuff people drool over.

Edited by Scalawag on 05/24/2012 09:48:53 MDT.