The Wild Landscape
The river, far below, looked like a thin silver ribbon as it wound in bends out of sight to the west. At nearly midnight the shadow of the mountains was finally encroaching on the wet tundra of the valley floor. But from my perch high above, the sun would remain for another hour at least.
When I raised my camera to compose an image of some strange monolithic rocks, it occurred to me that I was quite possibly the first person to ever photograph those stones. When I clicked the shutter the mechanical sound and glow of the digital screen seemed incongruous in the arctic silence.
Wild places offer rare opportunities for photographers willing to explore. There are chances to make unique images, not just new perspectives or interpretations of already well-photographed landscapes. The challenges, however, are as unique and abundant as the opportunities. Access, weather, equipment, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to open yourself mentally to the moment, are challenges dif ficult to overcome.
Types of Trips
Backpacking offers unrivaled freedom for exploration. A peak you want to climb? A ridge, canyon or distant lake you want to explore? Simply turn your boots and go. Distances covered and areas explored are only limited by physical capabilities. Photography however can be impeded by the limited amount of equipment that can be carried. Every lens, body and accessory packed must be carried on your back, mile after long mile. When I load my pack, my kit is pared down to the minimum: a wide to mid-range zoom (in my case a Canon 24-105L), a single body, an ultralight tripod, a polarizing filter and a handful of batteries and memory cards.