It is such an obvious statement that it almost redundant to say it, but if you want to photograph landscapes, wilderness, mountain sunsets and so on, then you are going to have to pack your gear and walk for hours or days, just to get into location — i.e., composition, exposure settings and camera gear are your second most important task!
The reason I mention this obvious sounding statement is to emphasise that wilderness and landscape pictures do not take themselves. Obviously some beautiful landscapes have become extremely well serviced tourist attractions, and some magnificent scenery can be appreciated in relative comfort, not far from a car park (Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake for example), or with only a minor walk to a lookout (Russell Falls or Wineglass Bay for example). The real reward will come though the minute you make the decision to fill up a backpack, strap on your tripod (yes, it’s an extra 2+ kilograms, but you cannot shoot at night without it!), and carry in your gear to somewhere even just a little further than most people go.
A great option is in fact simply doing walks that are described as day walks, as overnight walks. I have found fantastic rewards from Tasmanian walking tracks such as Cape Raoul and Mt Rufus, which are easily done as return day walks if you have a small pack with nothing but your lunch and a sun hat, but infinitely more rewarding if done as an overnight walk.
Obviously an overnight stay in the mountains requires a lot more planning than a short stroll or day walk. Your own personal fitness and determination levels will also be tested. If you have the luxury of being very flexible about the dates you are going to walk, then regular visits to weather websites are essential. In this case you can choose your dates to suit weather conditions. Obviously when camping in elevated or exposed locations, a calm night in terms of wind and relatively high minimum temperatures will make your stay more comfortable, but cold weather if the forecast is fine will have its own rewards if the terrain freezes overnight. Read the rest of this entry »