18 Comments

  1. Jim Webb
    Jim Webb April 9, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Ray,
    When in August are you planning you JMT hike and why then?

  2. James Hendon
    James Hendon April 9, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Obviously the solution is to NOT try to do great photography while thru-hiking the Muir. If you want, for example, great shots of Kings Canyon, then backpack in from the nearest trail head with the right equipment, make a photo camp and shoot Kings Canyon giving it your full attention and energy. Morning, mid day, evening shadows, night shots, moonlight on water, etc. etc. See the great morning shot one day, go back and get it the next. Wide angle, telephoto scenics, etc. You won’t have time or energy to properly prospect and work really great images if you are in a hurry to break camp and put in a full day on the trail to keep your schedule on the Muir. I believe my friend Mike solved the Muir hiker’s photo dilemma with the Canon G1X.

  3. Ned Tibbits
    Ned Tibbits April 9, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Bravo! Bravo!

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Ray!

    However, with our point of view, it is never a “doomed” thing to carry what I believe to be the right tools, no matter their weight because I may never be there again to get those pictures!

  4. Richard Russell
    Richard Russell June 25, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Excellent series of articles Ray. I can’t quite get my head round carrying a full-frame DSLR and a kit of lenses though. I am thinking of bringing a Fuji X100S though. It is fairly heavy, but not DSLR-heavy. What I like about it is that if you just use the optical viewfinder you can take about 3,000 shots on one battery (yes, I really tried that). You can compose the shot, set the aperture and set the shutter speed, all without even turning the camera on. The fixed lens gives a nice wide view. I think it would be a good reliable camera to bring, in that I could count on it to last the trip without having to worry about batteries. Maybe one spare just in case. Batteries weigh 1.5oz and the camera is 15.5oz.
    Do you think a fixed lens is too much of a compromise?

  5. David Winter
    David Winter July 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    For those committed to a DSLR for the trail, check out the “keyhole” available from Backcountry Solutions. Its a plate with a keyhole shaped hole which connects to your backpack shoulder straps using 4 small buckles. I have been using the keyhole for several hikes over the last year and it works a treat and keeps the weight off of your neck. I will using it on the JMT in a couple of weeks. Here is the description below, the website is http://www.backcountrysolutions.com :

    The KEYHOLE® is a hands-free restraining and protection device for neck strap-suspended camera equipment used in the field, by securing the camera to your body by means of a harness and pointing the lens down rather than outward. The KEYHOLE® provides the following features:
    Accessibility – quickly and easily converts from “hands-free” position to “ready to shoot” position. No complicated hardware.
    Protection – securely and safely fastens the camera to your body/harness when not in use.
    Comfort – lightweight, versatile, adjustable, and reduces the camera weight off your neck.
    Simplicity – easily attaches to any backpack or chest harness that is equipped with typical 1” wide webbing on the shoulder straps. Quick disconnect buckles allow for easy backpack on/off.

    Plus! The KEYHOLE® can be used with most length lenses, eliminates the need for a sternum strap, and comes with a lens cap keeper as part of the hands-free system.

    The KEYHOLE® can also be used with camcorders and compact cameras.

    Never leave your camera behind to hike, bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe or enjoy the outdoors! Never miss another photo while digging your camera from your bag.

  6. David Galsworthy
    David Galsworthy August 15, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Dear Ray

    Thanks for your articles on cameras for the trail. I have a slightly different slant on this issue. I will be starting the JMT on the 26th August 2013 with my brother and a couple of friends. I still love film and in particular landscape photography using Fuji Velvia film so I will be taking my film camera with me. It is a medium format Fuji 645zi camera along with about 30 rolls of 120 film. My brother will be taking a Fuji x100 for digital photos. OK this will add about 5lbs to my load but will bring me so much joy it is worth it. I love using this camera with it’s fantastic Hasselblad quality lens and ease of use. The transparencies I get back from the developers are just stunning and I cannot describe the thrill of getting the transparencies back and then putting them out on my lightbox and looking at them for the first time. It is just magical.

    I will be putting my the pictures I take on my website (http://bigwalksclub.co.uk/) as well as my photoalbum site (http://davidgalsworthy.jalbum.net/) for all to enjoy.

    Give film a go again – it is still fantastic !!!!

    Regards

    David

  7. Esther Park
    Esther Park January 14, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Hi Ray!

    Thanks for the great tips. I’m slowly reading through your entire blog for preparation for my hike this year.

    Would you mind giving a post trip report about how this camera set up worked for you on your actual JMT hike? How did it perform for you, was the battery life sufficient and did everything work more or less as you expected? I always feel like hiking with a DSLR is so fragile, that I’m going to fall on it or turn and bash it into a wall or something, and keeping it in the case always feels so cumbersome when I want to take a picture.

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