Photography in the Boundary Waters

If you’re like me then you rarely leave home without your camera. I take on an average 10,000 pictures a year.  Thank goodness I don’t have to pay for all of these to be developed to see them or I would be broke.  I remember when I returned from 4 months abroad in 1990 and I had 18 rolls of film to develop and I had to wait months before I could afford to do it.

You would think that with all of my experience I would be able to take better photographs.  I see beautiful scenery, experience all types of weather and have close encounters with wildlife but my pictures still aren’t spectacular.

I see photographs posted by some people that are fabulous. What sets their photos apart from mine?  Is it touch ups and photo editing they do prior to posting or is it the fact they have a $5000 camera with multiple lenses and tripods?  It could be a little bit of both.

For my sake let’s say it’s that they have better cameras so I can rationalize purchasing a new one for myself.  If I break it down into the cost per photo that I take then at least an expensive camera doesn’t sound so bad.

Here’s some tips from Backpacker Magazine on how to take good pictures…

Backpacker Photo School: Tips for Great Fall Photos

Before all the leaves drop, read these quick tips and take your camera out on the trail for one more shot at Autumn photos.

by: Genny Fullerton

1. Notice the Details
There are surprises to be found on a small scale. Focus your eyes, and then your camera, on the little details— not just the broad scenery– and look for up-close shots of perfect individual leaves that are half changed, like the one above. This leaf is sitting on a rock filled with texture creating a unique background. The photographer, photo intern Caley Kurchinski, noticed this particular leaf and background and was able to capture it well. Also, don’t forget to look up, as well as down, for these details. A leaf might be stuck in a spider web or dangling on an otherwise-empty tree branch.

2. Shoot Vertical
Not every “landscape” photo has to be shot in the landscape format. Turn the camera vertically every now and then, especially if there are some strong vertical elements to capture. The repetition of straight, tall tree trunks can be emphasized when the whole photo is vertical instead of horizontal. A trail in the photo can lead deeper into the image if it has more space.

3. Get Closer
A lot of photos could go from good to great if the photographer wasn’t so far from the subject. Zoom in, or simply take a few more steps than usual towards your subject. In the second photo above, Kurchinski  conveys the feeling of being in a tunnel of color. She was on the trail and didn’t include anything but the immediate surroundings in the image, composing it so as not to contain sky. If she had included the sky, it would have made the photo feel more pulled back; more of a generic mid-distance landscape. This method of composition works well on the trail. In other scenes, you may want to squat down so your foreground is close to the lens.

Some of Backpacker’s readers are already putting these tips into practice.
Click here for a slideshow of Reader Fall Photos.

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