As you dive deeply into the craft of photography and accumulate thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment, you start to over analyse your needs when you go out shooting. Often times you might end up packing your entire lens collection when you really only end up using one or two; you may pack a tripod even though you’re not sure if you’ll need it for any long exposures. This typically leads up with you carrying loads of equipment strapped to your back weighing you down when you really could have just gone with the bare essentials.
This Memorial Day, I went on a hike with my girlfriend up in the Sandia Mountains of Albuquerque, New Mexico and I decided to only take my D600 with the 28mm 1.8g lens attached along with a strap and a 32 gig card with me. What I wanted to accomplish with this was to work with what I was given on the trail and not get caught up in what lens I should have on the camera. It also made things much easier traveling light, considering how treacherous the terrain would turn the further up the trail we got.
Now it should be known that I’m not a landscape guy when it comes to photography. I often times prefer working with people as subjects, whether that be a model or a pedestrian that I happen to get a candid of, so I don’t always know what to look for in a nature situation. I knew I wanted to capture intricate details, so I knew I wasn’t going to be working with shallow depths of field. I kept my aperture set at f8 and change my shutter speed and ISO accordingly for what the situation was. It was a bright sunny day and around noon so I was able to keep my ISO below 400 and my shutter never dropped bellow 1/125 of second.
The biggest difference I noticed between shooting portraits and shooting nature is that background had become the foreground and how I composed images had changed from finding what angles work to to finding how all the elements in the frame worked together.
Overall it was an enjoyable experience only working with the basic materials of a body, lens and a memory card and the results were pleasing enough, even though I don’t have much experience in landscape photography. I encourage anyone that the next time you go on a leisurely shoot to leave the big bag of equipment at home and just go with a body and lens and see what you can do with just that, and not to worry so much about being prepared for every situation.