Hi everyone! I am a novice hobbyist and I really enjoy photographing wildlife, as you can see on Flickr; most of everything I shoot is wildlife or nature. I don't have much camera gear yet (see my signature), and so far, I have not ventured more than 15 miles from my house alone for photography. However, I am becoming more brave as I venture alone close to home and I am planning two separate visits to two different nature trails within 45 miles from my home. The two trails I am planning to visit are known for their wildlife opportunities including gators, bison, wild horses, eagles, various birds, raccoon, black bear, snakes, and white-tailed deer. When I go out shooting, I carry/dress light: dressed in jeans, sneakers, dark colored shirt, my camera in hand with neck strap worn, my zoom lens on the camera, cell phone silenced in one front pants pocket; car keys in the other front pants pocket; lens cap in back pants pocket. I don't normally wear or carry a back pack or camera bag, because I normally don't have a need for one. I always let my husband know when I've reached a trail, where I am, etc so that in the event something happens, he can hopefully get to me or find me. We also have iPhones, so he can search for my phone and see where I am to make sure I'm ok. I don't have hiking boots (yet) nor do I carry any protective gear (walking stick, pepper spray, etc). Since mosquitoes are active all year here in Florida, I normally will spray myself with a coating of insect repellent before leaving the car. The furthest I have ventured out on a trail away from my car is about a mile and a half. The two trails I'm planning to venture soon are each about 2 miles round trip.
For those of you more experienced at trekking nature trails alone (especially the women here), do you normally carry protective gear or other necessities? I am just wondering if I should be "more protected" or "more ready" for unknown dangers? I do plan to get a good pair of hiking boots as soon as I can for better protective foot gear while walking natural terrain. And yes, a better lens is also in budget for after the first of the year!
Thanks in advance for reading and commenting.