Shake Down Trip

I will be heading out this weekend with one of my upcoming expedition partners to get our ducks lined up (as my dad would say) and put any new gear through the ringer. This will be the first multi-day journey for my new camera gear, the gear I will be using for the next four years:

I believe in simplicity and keep my gear to a minimum, here is a list of what is going:

1. Nikon D800E. I have had this camera for a few months and it is by far the best digital camera I have ever owned, period. It has way too many buttons and menus, like most digital cameras, but its image quality is superb. I will be writing a full review of the camera after the trip.

2. Nikon 24-70 f2.8. The D800E needs the best glass possible and the 24-70 fits the bill. I rarely take more than one lens on any trip and this is usually the one. I will also be reviewing this lens and it’s performance with the D800E.

3. My 12-year-old Gitzo mountaineer tripod. I can’t even remember which one it is. It has a Linhof head on it.

4. Cable remote, 2 batteries, polarizer filter and a 10 stop ND filter. The filters are both B+W brand.

5. Two media cards,one 32gb Cf and 32gb Sd, installed in the camera. That’s more memory than I will ever need. I am pretty conservative when it comes to image making. Those two cards give me about 800 RAW images. That is enough to last weeks for me. On one trip to the Himalayas I took less than 200 photographs (4×5) in two months.

Lots of posts coming up so stay in touch!

Photographing in Extreme Cold Weather

I have written on this topic numerous times throughout the years. This time I am sharing a post on the subject from my good friend Florian Schulz. He is a great guy and fantastic photographer, if you ever get a chance to see one of his presentations, don’t hesitate.

Importance of Physical Fitness in Wilderness Photography

Staying in great shape helps your photography and improves your adventures.

Biking through an ice cave, Knik Glacier, Alaska. Staying in great shape helps your photography and improves your adventures.

This is another one of those topics that the outdoor photography community seems to ignore. But when it comes to true wilderness photography, being in top physical condition is essential.

I like to ski, run, bike and lift weights but I am not an elite athlete, not even close. I am not fast, super strong or talented in any sport. However,  I have found that the better condition I am in, the more successful images I create when on expeditions. What? Yes, that is right, the better condition, the more successful images.

Below is a brief list of reasons why being in great shape helps your wilderness photography:

1. Less fatigue. Carrying heavy packs through rugged, off trail terrain can be really demanding work. But rarely are the great images taken during the hiking hours. Late in the evening, early in the morning, that’s when the magic happens. But if your too wasted after hiking 8-10 hours, setting up your tent and cooking dinner, then you’re missing the reasons you brought your high-end camera gear. After establishing camp I often spend another couple of hours scouting locations for evening shots and morning shots. It’s common for me to hike another couple of miles after setting up camp.

2. less injuries. It’s really easy to get hurt when carrying a heavy pack over uneven ground. Knees, ankles and your back are easy targets if they are weak and inflexible. Nobody I know likes the gym, but a basic¬†weight lifting session, two or three times a week, can really help prevent injury and make you stronger in the mountains. You don’t need to become a yogi master, but some flexibility is also important.

3. Quality of the adventure. Suffering can be the name of the game when exploring remote areas. But how great of shape you are in directly determines the fun factor and the impression of the adventure. If you’re tired and hurt during the trip, you won’t have much fun and you won’t take many inspiring images.

4. long and happen life. I want to keep exploring and photographing wilderness for as long as possible. Beside having a long and prosperous career, being in great condition helps me enjoy life now. Whether its hiking with my son, biking with my friends or skiing with my wife, a high quality of life is what we all strive for.

Be warned though. The better shape you’re in, the less tolerance you will have for sitting in front of a computer, writing blogs and editing photographs! I am going skiing!