The Hike is as Important as the Photo

There, I said it.

This is the perfect example of persistence. An all-day solo backpacking trip around the lake and woods ends with the sunset spectacle seen here. I could’ve packed up and left midday but I felt the need to wait it out. I’m glad I listened to that gut feeling.

Nature photography and hiking go hand in hand. I first started hiking mainly on my own as a way to reflect on life and to enjoy all the senses that a natural space can bring. At this time, the physical action of getting outside to places I love was the goal.

Soon after I started bringing a camera along on my bike rides and walks. The camera and any photos were a recording of memories. The experience was what I was after, capturing it on digital pixels was the byproduct. As long as I could get outdoors as often as possible, I was happy and content.

The photo is a means to an end; the end result. But an amazing image needs a compelling story to back it up. Without it, the entire cohesive piece of work feels hollow. A two-dimensional picture paired with a two-dimensional story is a failed experiment.

When starting out, I narrowed my photographic interests down to nature because there is a timeless quality to nature. Look throughout historical texts and old paintings, nature has always been omnipresent in life. While fashion trends in advertising photography come and go every year, nature is constant. A good nature photograph never loses its’ appeal.

Minimalist Sunset Landscape

Every now and again I lose my way in the vast sea of voices echoing the same photos and stories around the internet and beyond. It can be all too easy to fall into the trap of believing that your work is too similar to others. Be inspired, but seek out your lane to drive in. Humans love authenticity. Own up to it.

The photo is a great visual reaction to the hike, but the adventure is the reason I move.

Hiking all day for miles and really seeing how the light will interplay with the landscape harnesses my creative ability more than a photo would.

A majority of my trips in the field result in nothing too interesting happening. I can recall many days where I’d be out 8 to 10 hours at a time and turn up with 50 .raw files total, and about half of those are bracketed so about less than 20 different and unique images. Then, how many of those are worthy of a space on the website? Maybe two or three if I am lucky.

The hunt and search for that perfect image comes at the expense of work, and hard work at that. Likewise, there will be times of luck and being in the right place, right time. Overall I never got anywhere sitting on my butt at home. Expand your worldview, travel and see what is really out there.

The story comes to matter just as much as the photo. Remember, the byproduct. All parts are what make it whole. So, maybe in a way..

The journey is more important than the end.

Another example of revisiting the same spot several times in a day to understand how the light affects the camera. By the day’s end, I was gifted with this gradient lighting.

Thoughts or opinions? Let’s get a discussion going.

Thank you for reading.

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