Making Your Photo Field Trip Fun!

by on January 14th, 2011
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A Photo field trip can be a learning opportunity that is fun and exciting or it can be an exhausting physical experience. Knowing your physical limitations and being aware of the landscape of your adventure will help you plan for a successful trip. Finding a balance between your personal comfort and having the right equipment are key to making your trip feel like play instead of work. A few precautions can make the difference!

Dress for the environment. This sounds so simple yet I will have a student show up for a long hike in flip flops! Always, always wear good sneakers or hiking boots with socks (even in the summer). For cooler climates, layered clothing is best. Long sleeves can keep you warm or from getting a sun burn. They are actually cooler in the summer. The body has a natural cooling system. Sleeves create an airspace and keep moisture from evaporating. A white or gray over shirt can also double as a tool for setting your white balance and exposure!

Carry a couple of large trash bags. They don’t weigh much and can be a quick rain coat. Use the bag to set your equipment on to keep everything clean and dust free. You can lay down or sit on the bag. This will allow you to get those low angled shots without getting dirt in your face or on your clothes.

Pack a small, very flexible, plastic sack (the kind you put veggies in at the grocery store). They weigh nothing an can come in handy for all sorts of things. When leaving a cold area, like an air conditioned environment, and moving out into a hot and humid environment, bag your camera. Suck all the air out! Condensation cannot form in a vacuum. Let the camera warm up to air temperature before removing the bag. This will keep fog and droplets from creating water marks on your lens and viewfinder. Any time your camera is hanging outside on your body, this small bag can offer extra protection from dirt or sand.

Insect repellant and sunscreen are a must for the outdoors. I remember when we would dust ourselves with sulfur powder in a sock during Girl Scout camp to keep the ticks away. Ticks can cause Lime disease so remember to do a body check after walking in the woods. You don’t want to bring the West Nile Virus home with you from a mosquito bite. When using sunscreen or repellant, be sure and wipe your hands with a wet nap after applying to avoid making your camera greasy or getting any in your eyes. Our fingers are often near our face when operating a camera.

It is important to have the right camera equipment with you to complete the assignment, but how much equipment can you carry without it becoming a burden? If you can’t carry your stuff, choose destinations that allow you to shoot next to the car or from the window. You don’t want to leave equipment behind, unattended in your car, where it can get overheated or stolen.

If you are going to walk a long way, travel light. You can carry a smaller tripod and weigh it down with rocks when you reach your destination. Try carrying a couple of empty, long socks. Tie the open ends together and fill them with the rocks.

A photo vest is a good way to distribute the weight of the equipment around your body. You can avoid hanging everything on one shoulder and paying for it the next day with a stiff neck. Light weight back packs are always a good solution. I like the kind you can swing around to the front and access your equipment without setting the bag down. I also like a camera bag with wheels when there are good walkways. Do consider others and keep your bag next to you at all times so that it doesn’t appear in every photograph.

Keep water with you or check to see there are provisions at your destination. Staying hydrated is important. Girls, keep tissue paper in the car or in your pocket……I need not elaborate!

Come away from your next field trip with wonderful Images and stories of a great adventure!


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