With photography comes great adventure, if you want it. At the very least, photography gives you the perfect excuse to get out of the house and explore. For those interested in outdoor and hiking photography but are a little unsure what to do, here’s a little guide to get you started.
I’ve always enjoyed hiking. As a child growing up in the North of England, I was part of my school’s walking club. For all that’s wrong with its climate, England has a stunning landscape. The breathtaking views of the Lake District and the cozy hills of the Yorkshire Dales are worthy destinations for any outdoor and hiking photography trip. I digress; I’m not here to sell a vacation package to you.
Funnily enough, life and circumstance took me on a different path when I first picked up a camera. Although I love hiking and photography, hiking photography never became my thing; street photography did. However, while the streets have been a different place over the past couple of years, I found myself bringing two of my passions together. I’ve had some incredible experiences and some, well, nightmares too. Below are some tips and tools to ensure I get the most out of my hiking photography trip.
Pack Multiple Lenses For Hiking Photography
Hiking trips lead to stunning landscapes. Traditionally, photographers shoot landscape photography with a wide-angle lens. However, it’s not the only type of lens one should use. I enjoy taking a telephoto lens for tighter shots of mountains and a mid-range prime for more intimate landscape photographs. You can still travel light if you use the right lenses and not have to worry about missing certain shots because you left them at home.
To Go Solo or in Groups for Hiking Photography?
The age-old question; is best to get lost in the wilderness alone or with a group of other photographers. Personally, I like to go alone because I enjoy the adventure more. However, if you’re not confident going alone (and I understand why), go in a group to ensure everyone is safe and on the correct route.
I also like to go alone because it’s a form of meditation. Hiking, walking and making photos without distraction. I’m not totally reckless, however. Before any hiking photography trip, I share my live location with a friend or family member, so they know exactly where I am. I also have fall detection activated on my Apple Watch SE in case an accident happens. So while it’s fun to go alone, it’s also wise to use today’s technology to your advantage, helping you remain as safe as possible.
Shoot on Sunny or Cloudy Days?
The short answer is both. However, I raise the question because most photographers think it’s only worth doing hiking photography on clear, sunny days. It’s isn’t. A cloudy day can offer beautiful, balanced lighting conditions, while a bit of rain can add more character to your photographs. Remember to take the right lenses with you if you decide to shoot in the rain. You’ll need a weather-sealed body and lens, and don’t risk using anything else.
I use some apps to help me when I go hiking. The first is maps.me. Unlike Google Maps and Apple Maps, maps.me has plenty of “viewing points” integrated into the app. I also find it much easier to use when I need to download maps to use offline–something I advise everyone to do if they’re going out of a cell coverage zone.
Another app I like is All Trails. It’s essentially a huge directory of the best hiking trails around the world. Simply enter the city or town you’re in, and it will show you the best spots to go hiking. There’s a strong community vibe, too, with many people leaving reviews and safety tips on each of the trails.
The final app I use is My Altitude. It does exactly what it says on the tin; it tells you your current altitude. It’s a useful guide to help you to pace yourself and be aware of your breathing. If you’re in a city of high altitudes, I’d advise waiting a few days to a week to acclimatize before you go do some hiking photography.
Hiking and making photos is extremely rewarding. Before anything else, safety must be your number one priority. After that, being able to enjoy the process of getting lost in nature and disconnecting will serve you well. Having the opportunity to document and make photographic memories that last forever is the cherry on the cake.
Where do you like to shoot hiking photography? What safety tips can you share? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.