Check out some existing shots from the area on the internet or on social media, this can give you an idea of where you want to spend longer on the trail looking for shots, or certain angles you think might work well. It may also give you a list of places you don’t want to shoot if you are looking for more original pictures. Avoiding the obvious shots could yield something much more satisfying. Map out your route with stop-offs where you think you might capture some magic.
Dependent on the location you are going to have to take some things into consideration. What gear do you need to take with you? Do you need waterproofing etc? The last thing you want is to damage your new camera because you didn’t check the weather, or because you didn’t properly waterproof your bag and its contents. On a similar note, you don’t want to get to your photo shot spot and realise your camera is out battery, or that you don’t have a battery pack to charge it. A tripod could also be really useful here.
Aim to hike with good light. Sunrise and sunset are going to provide absolutely stunning landscape shots. You can always use supplemental lighting and reflectors, though factor this into your kit itinerary before you head off.
Take some time to stop and observe your surroundings and views. By examining the area, you might find something that otherwise would have gone unnoticed, which can lead to a unique and special photograph. Look for landscape lines to help you guide the image such as diagonal lines such as mountain ranges against the sky or cliffs against the sea.
By standing on rocks, getting down low or even lying on the ground, you can capture new perspectives that others perhaps didn’t consider. Changing the angle of the shot can bring a whole new light and aesthetic that will change the way people appreciate the shot. Experimenting with perspectives can really make an noticeable impact when taking shots of people foregrounded against Mother Nature’s beauty.
Foregrounding objects and animals is also another way to improve your shots. Look for interesting rock formations, grassy knolls or foraging wildlife and cast it against the far mountain range or rolling clouds. Bringing a central focus into the shot can transform background elements into even more striking displays.
Put a bit of life into your photos by snapping as you hike, you might catch an unplanned moment of beauty between family and friends, or if you are lucky, some of the local wildlife. Just keep quiet, the slightest noise could see a deer or rabbit bolt off in a flash.
Stop and capture everything that catches your eye. You aren’t going to be able to replicate any given moment at a later time, so seize the opportunities as they arise. The last thing you want to do is think to yourself, ‘oh I can come back to this later’, and then on returning realise the lighting has changed and the moment and its atmosphere is gone.
Adding photography into your hike will bring fun along the route and some memoirs to mull over for years to come. Use this guide to bring out your inner Chris Buckard and maybe one day you could be someone who’s talked about for their photography finesse.