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Photographers: are you more of a hiker or an artist?

Serious question: I shoot on my iphone when hiking but I see you out there with professional cameras. I consider myself more of a hiker who also likes to take artistic photos. I capture artistic shots as I happen across them. Some of you are hiking with professional cameras and it makes me wonder: are you doing the same thing or do you pre-hike the trail and create a shot list? Do you enjoy the outdoors or are you more there for the art?

I am thinking of upgrading my camera, but I want to stay a hiker first and artist second.

13 Replies

On trail it's my iPhone and gimbal. My full-sized gear is reserved for studio use or when I specifically go out shooting.

I keep the two separate.

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I can't break my addiction to an image rich world.

I have broken my addiction to the expensive glass though. I only use my phone even though I have a compact digital camera as well. I can't even curate all the images I have already.

I am a hiker first. I photo document. Long ago I thought it was good if I could get one or two art-like pictures out of a roll of 36 when I was trying to do art-like pictures.

It's fun to use all the training, but I am less attached to the outcome of my efforts.

Depends on the section.  Some are obviously more photogenic than others.  I carry an older HP 618, which was a good digital back in the day. It's old enough I won't cry (well, not much) if I manage to destroy it, but it has the resolution and an adequate enough lens to make some great shots if I do my job with it.  I take the views and subjects as they come;  if something takes more time that I'd planned, then I just walk a little later or try to make it up the next day.  I'd say the answer to your question is "yes".  😉  I make sure I have a good time out there, and relish the opportunities for indulging my art.  Even without my camera(s), I rarely make long day, forced high mileage hikes.   Except for those last days after too much time trying to get that shot just right.

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I gotta say that I'm a hiker with great aspirations to be artistic.  I don't even own a nice SLR digital camera...yet.  I take photos with my Samsung Galaxy smart phone simply to capture the beauty of the nature around me, and to memorialize my hikes and trips.  I share the pics with friends and family so that they might live vicariously through my adventures.  I've frequently received comments that the photos I've taken are magazine-worthy.  I don't know that that's anything more than well-intentioned compliments, which I do appreciate, but at least it indicates I have a good eye.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
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For me it really depends but mostly I'm there to hike and I take my iPhone with me and grab pictures with that.  However, there are occasions where I may want to hike for a specific shot and I bring my mirrorless camera and a tripod to get those long exposure waterfall shots or a milky way shot over a lake.  

I'm definately a hiker first.  I guess the thing you have to ask yourself is "Am I getting the pictures I want from the device I take".  Phone picture quality has come along way and my phone provides me the quality pics I want.  Also, I see some taking monolithic cameras that must way 5 LBS They stop alot to get pics so I think they fall into the artist group...Cant image the gear I could replace that with in my luxury list 🙂 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
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Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but even on multi-day backpacking trips I carry my full frame DSLR and tripod, particularly to me able to capture nighttime skies and good low-light images that just aren't possible on a phone.

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Get outdoors, stay safe, and happy trails!
Todd the Hiker

Hey all, I just complied three tripod options for hiking with phones. I use the first one. Thoughts? https://speakphranquely.wordpress.com/2021/05/09/how-to-take-selfies-while-hiking/

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It took me to a alternate site....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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