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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Nature & Landscapes Talk 
Thread started 05 Mar 2018 (Monday) 12:48
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How do you handle being outdoors on your own?

 
EricTober
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Mar 05, 2018 12:48 |  #1

As landscape photographers we are often outdoors in remote places to get the best photos. I personally cannot get my wife to tag along and do not have any other friends that enjoy the outdoors as much as myself, thus I dine myself alone on nearly every occasion. I do what I can to protect myself in terms of being aware of the location and my surroundings, but you never know who or what is out there. How do all of you who shoot landscapes (or urban for that matter) work to protect yourself?


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Mar 05, 2018 13:45 |  #2

EricTober wrote in post #18578222 (external link)
As landscape photographers we are often outdoors in remote places to get the best photos. I personally cannot get my wife to tag along and do not have any other friends that enjoy the outdoors as much as myself, thus I dine myself alone on nearly every occasion. I do what I can to protect myself in terms of being aware of the location and my surroundings, but you never know who or what is out there. How do all of you who shoot landscapes (or urban for that matter) work to protect yourself?

Make a timeline of expected travel times and locations; communicate that out to 2 or more different folks ahead of time
Check weather and pack appropriate gear/supplies for expected conditions as well as a few emergency supplies
- Since they've come on the market in fairly strong shape, I've started packing a solar charger and battery pack for refueling my devices such as GPS and cell phone in order to keep them in functional shape should things go south while I'm out and about.

Be aware of any potentially dangerous, indiginous lifeforms and their habits/habitats in order to not run afoul of those while treking through the woods/hills. Mostly this will be your standard, resident apex predators but you really just want to be sure not to startle them for the most part. Also, remember that large herbivores can be as/more dangerous as the toothy fellows and give them plenty of room to avoid or move around your activities.

Urban areas, keep your head on a swivel and be extremely consious of the area(s) you are shooting in. Sometimes/places it is really best to just wait until you can recruit a partner to go with you.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 05, 2018 14:29 |  #3

This is an interesting topic.

I find myself outdoors alone on a regular basis ...... probably about three times a week, on average. . And many times I am very far away from civilization - like way up in the mountains or far off-road and off-trail looking for things to shoot.

The greatest danger to me is getting distracted and driving off the road and having a wreck, and then being stranded so far from help - and well out of cell phone range - so that there is no way to let anybody know that I am hurt or stranded. . There are days when I drive on the dirt roads up in the National Forest and don't see another car or human all day long, and that sometimes causes me to wonder if anybody would ever come along if I got into real trouble and needed help.

I guess that if, while hiking, I sprained an ankle or broke a leg, I would be in pretty much the same predicament - being stranded way out in the middle of nowhere and not having any way to let others know.

I mitigate the danger somewhat by having a car that is always crammed full of extra gear; snacks, lots and lots of drinking water, flashlights, sharp knives, a saw, and lots and lots of warm clothes and extra footwear. . I also keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide with me so that if I gash myself and get stagnant water into the wound I will be able to prevent infection. . There's also a roll or three of duct tape floating around somewhere so if I get a huge laceration I will be able to tape myself back together to stop the loss of blood.

I also tend to be very careful when it comes to traversing rockslides, creeks, soft-bottomed wetlands, and blowdowns. I don't have good coordination or balance, so I have to slow down and be etra careful when facing these obstacles, in order to keep myself from falling and breaking something.

I don't worry about people hurting me. . Years ago I got carjacked in West Virginia by a group of 5 twentysomething males. . It wasn't really a problem - I just did what they said to do and within an hour I was free to go an on my way. . They didn't steal anything . . . . they would have if I'd had cigarettes or pot or alcohol, but I didn't. . They never thought to demand money (they weren't very bright).

All they made me do was to give them a ride to a remote abandoned residence that they wanted to squat on for a while. . I had a pickup truck, so their 'leader' sat in the cab next to me and the other 4 hopped in the bed. . I lost an hour of fishing time, and about a gallon's worth of gasoline, but that's all. . I did learn about a demographic that I hand't had much experience with previous to that - degenerate hillbilly youths. . The knowledge and experience I gained through that event is useful because now I know more about a people group that I knew before. . The leader guy who rode in the cab with me, he said something I'll never forget; ."alcoholism is real popular in West Virginia".

I am actually quite vulnerable to people who would mean to do me harm, but it doesn't really concern me because I don't live my life in fear of the bad things that may happen. . Nor do I waste much time trying to minimize the odds of something horrible happening. . Besides, I have met thousands of people while out and about over the last 30 years of my life, and none have ever intended to hurt me. . Even those car jacking guys, they didn't want to hurt me, they just wanted cigarettes, weed, alcohol, and a ride.

I think that the kind of people who put protective filters on their lenses and worry over what padded bags to keep their cameras in and carry bear spray with them are the same ones who worry over the possibilities of getting robbed or murdered or raped while in the middle of nowhere. . I will never be that type of person.


.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Snydremark
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Mar 05, 2018 15:24 |  #4

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18578300 (external link)
...

I find myself outdoors alone on a regular basis ...... probably about three times a week, on average. . And many times I am very far away from civilization - like way up in the mountains or far off-road and off-trail looking for things to shoot.

The greatest danger to me is getting distracted and driving off the road and having a wreck, and then being stranded so far from help - and well out of cell phone range - so that there is no way to let anybody know that I am hurt or stranded. . There are days when I drive on the dirt roads up in the National Forest and don't see another car or human all day long, and that sometimes causes me to wonder if anybody would ever come along if I got into real trouble and needed help.

I guess that if, while hiking, I sprained an ankle or broke a leg, I would be in pretty much the same predicament - being stranded way out in the middle of nowhere and not having any way to let others know.

...

This is precisely why I message other people before heading out and make sure they have a reasonable timeline for expecting me to return; and then notify them when I *do* get back. We have some pretty remote areas that we've gone to that may only get regular visitors once a week or less, making sure someone knows what to use as a jumping off point if I don't check back in a reasonable time. Also, including a light source that can be used as a signal and a loud, emergency whistle for signaling without yelling in the pack is a must if I'm out that far (alone or with company).


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
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Mar 08, 2018 10:22 |  #5

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18578300 (external link)
I think that the kind of people who put protective filters on their lenses and worry over what padded bags to keep their cameras in and carry bear spray with them are the same ones who worry over the possibilities of getting robbed or murdered or raped while in the middle of nowhere. . I will never be that type of person.
.


Funny this reminds me of someone I came across on a trail in WA last summer. He had bear spray, go pro on their shoulder, large hunting knife, gps, delorme inreach on the other shoulder etc etc. He had clearly wandered into REI, asked to be prepared for anything and then some, and handed over his credit card.

Anyway, I prefer to be alone when out taking pictures. It's not a social thing for me. I carry all the essentials including a 1000 lumens headlamp, bright jacket, extra batteries, more parka than I expect to need and the delorme inreach satellite beacon. I have all my gear tucked away and don't wear bright colors, not out of fear of robbers but because I don't want people seeing where I am, why I might be there or where I am going. I seem to invariably attract noob photographers who want to see where "he's going with that camera" and I try to be as discrete as possible. This has worked for me in areas ranging from remote parts of Brazil and Colombia and back streets of rural India to the Everest Base Camp trek


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 08, 2018 10:37 |  #6

SeattleSpeedster wrote in post #18580354 (external link)
Anyway, I prefer to be alone when out taking pictures. It's not a social thing for me. I have all my gear tucked away and don't wear bright colors, not out of fear of robbers but because I don't want people seeing where I am, why I might be there or where I am going. I seem to invariably attract noob photographers who want to see where "he's going with that camera" and I try to be as discrete as possible.

I'm with you on this issue.

In crowded places like Yellowstone, I hike into the brush as quickly as possible, because I don't want passing motorists to see me and get curious about what I'm going to photograph. . Once I'm into the brush and out of sight of the road, I relax and take my time. . I often wear camouflage because, like you, I don't want others to see me and hike over to my location to "see what I'm shooting". . It sucks when that happens because I just want it to be me and the animal, with nobody else anywhere around.

I'm not as secretive when I am shooting landscapes, but I still don't like strangers around me when I'm out in nature, and would prefer that they find their own thing to go shoot, somewhere far away from me.

That being said, wildlife and nature photography is often a social thing for me, as I often go on photo trips with friends or arrange to shoot with online friends and meet them for the first time. . It's just the strangers that I have a problem with - those who approach me uninvited while I am trying to photograph an animal.


.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Mar 08, 2018 14:05 |  #7

Priority 1 for me is always comfort. Have the right backpack (I loved my Clik Elite Contrejour, and like my F-stop Tilopa a lot) for both photo and regular gear. Carry layers of clothing if necessary, always a medical kit, spare food, whistle, bear spray, rain gear, flashlight, matches, water, insect repellent. Depending on how far backcountry this list could be expanded. If you're not comfortable, if you aren't prepared, you're at risk for potentially bad decisions and accidents.

Protect yourself with preparation and have no doubts.

As for personal safety, protection from others or wildlife I have no advice but common sense. I'm the last one to recommend carrying a firearm.




  
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Mar 09, 2018 11:25 |  #8

Oh yeah - and spare socks. Always spare socks. 8-)




  
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Mar 09, 2018 12:54 |  #9

Remote areas aren't where I go, but here are two more points: Know what poison oak looks like, and keep your tetanus shot current.


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Mar 09, 2018 13:25 |  #10

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18578300 (external link)
This is an interesting topic.

I find myself outdoors alone on a regular basis ...... probably about three times a week, on average. . And many times I am very far away from civilization - like way up in the mountains or far off-road and off-trail looking for things to shoot.

I don't worry about people hurting me. . Years ago I got carjacked in West Virginia by a group of 5 twentysomething males. . It wasn't really a problem - I just did what they said to do and within an hour I was free to go an on my way. . They didn't steal anything . . . . they would have if I'd had cigarettes or pot or alcohol, but I didn't. . They never thought to demand money (they weren't very bright).

All they made me do was to give them a ride to a remote abandoned residence that they wanted to squat on for a while. . I had a pickup truck, so their 'leader' sat in the cab next to me and the other 4 hopped in the bed. . I lost an hour of fishing time, and about a gallon's worth of gasoline, but that's all. . I did learn about a demographic that I hand't had much experience with previous to that - degenerate hillbilly youths. . The knowledge and experience I gained through that event is useful because now I know more about a people group that I knew before. . The leader guy who rode in the cab with me, he said something I'll never forget; ."alcoholism is real popular in West Virginia".

I am actually quite vulnerable to people who would mean to do me harm, but it doesn't really concern me because I don't live my life in fear of the bad things that may happen. . Nor do I waste much time trying to minimize the odds of something horrible happening. . Besides, I have met thousands of people while out and about over the last 30 years of my life, and none have ever intended to hurt me. . Even those car jacking guys, they didn't want to hurt me, they just wanted cigarettes, weed, alcohol, and a ride.

.

That's a scary experience, Tom. Did the law ever get these guys?


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Mar 09, 2018 22:24 |  #11

EricTober wrote in post #18578222 (external link)
As landscape photographers we are often outdoors in remote places to get the best photos. I personally cannot get my wife to tag along and do not have any other friends that enjoy the outdoors as much as myself, thus I dine myself alone on nearly every occasion. I do what I can to protect myself in terms of being aware of the location and my surroundings, but you never know who or what is out there. How do all of you who shoot landscapes (or urban for that matter) work to protect yourself?

(Emphasis added.)

Urban here.

I go to NYC on occasion. There's nothing like New York City. It's the best of the best, and the worst of the worst. I grew up in a little town and knew woods, swamps, et al. Today I live in the Virginia suburbs of DC. I'll still take the Manhattan canyons any day.

I love being by myself in the city. There are lots of places in the city that are pretty safe. It's a beautiful place. I've done a fashion shoot in midtown Manhattan. People in the city are good. Dining is an adventure, and generally very positive. I have no problem dining solo.

All that said, I'm by myself. I let my wife know something of my intentions. She can "snoop" on me via our iPhones, though we don't typically snoop. I keep one eye open for enjoying the beauty of the city and one eye open for trouble. When something seems wrong, the camera may go into the bag, and I may even exit the location. I have a sense of where I can safely go and when I can go there. I know places that are never safe. I keep an eye open for danger. I'm not perfect.

I've got to live. I'm here to take photos that celebrate life. Everything's a risk. I could get cut down in NYC in an instant. Ha! I visit my neighbor, DC, a place with good and bad neighborhoods too. Funnier still, I could get crushed in a commuter accident on the way to or from work. I have to take pictures. I've seen some interesting things. I've photographed some interesting things, too.

Know the risks and accept that to get interesting photos you must be willing to take risks that come with a real price.

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Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 10, 2018 03:38 |  #12

Perfectly Frank wrote in post #18581255 (external link)
That's a scary experience, Tom. Did the law ever get these guys?

.
I don't know. . I certainly didn't report the incident or anything. . I was there to fish, and this was before the days of cellphones. . I wasn't about to lose fishing time by driving into town to find the police. . And I've a feeling that the police there wouldn't've taken this very seriously. . Very rural, ingrown police forces really do see things differently than mainstream society sees them, and tend to protect their own, especially when accusations come from "outlanders".


.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Apr 24, 2018 05:58 |  #13

EricTober wrote in post #18578222 (external link)
As landscape photographers we are often outdoors in remote places to get the best photos. I personally cannot get my wife to tag along and do not have any other friends that enjoy the outdoors as much as myself, thus I dine myself alone on nearly every occasion. I do what I can to protect myself in terms of being aware of the location and my surroundings, but you never know who or what is out there. How do all of you who shoot landscapes (or urban for that matter) work to protect yourself?

I am in a similar situation to yourself. I love insect photography and often visit Colombia with my wife (she is Colombian). I often look for insects at night and it is terrifying,
it is so easy to get lost. I once had a bat fly very close to me, which in the dark countryside is not fun.
I don't know anyone who wants to come with me, so try to make sure that I am staying somewhere safe and easy to look for insects.
The only good thing is that I hope in a few years my son will be able to come with me as two people together is so much better.




  
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Jun 19, 2018 18:53 |  #14

With rare exception when I head out to create images I do it alone. If someone else were to come along they would be a distraction as I talk with them and not pay attention to what is happening. Even if my wife were to wait in the vehicle or at the campground I would not be able to relax and concentrate on my work as I think in the back of my head of her being bored or maybe someone seeing her alone and thinking....

So I pack up and head out by myself. Trips and images are planned. I take the food, water and camping gear needed, plus a rucksack in case I have to hike out (almost had that happen when deep in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but I had a good spare tire, fortunately).

Whenever I step out from the vehicle, for even a minute, the first thing I do is don my "rig". A belt with everything I need on it to survive for 3+ days in case I happen to get turned around a bit. Of course, since my wife stays home, she knows where I am going, about when I'll be back, and I stay in touch with her daily or as I am able, making her aware of the loss of signal as I move away from towns. If I were not married I would be staying in touch like this with one of my kids. The point is: Let someone know what your plans are so if a search & rescue team does have to head out looking for you they have more to go on than just a shoulder shrug.

In town, or out, I always have a means of self-defense. Mostly to protect me from the 2-legged animals.

Much is about being prepared, being aware of your environment, and maintaining discipline.


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Jun 20, 2018 10:35 |  #15

This is a great topic. I do 5% of the nature photography I'd like to do mainly because I have no one to go out with. Part of my security is the buddy system. If I forced myself to venture solo, I'd carry a firearm - specifically for the two-legged threats. I can't see any other means of self defense to be effective when loaded up with gear. So instead of trying to know and deal with each states firearm policy, I just wait until I can find a travel partner. It's a shame to have the means, but not have any like minded friends.

@Naturalist: I looked at your portfolio, and I see you have the Tregurtha. I snapped the Tregurtha a few years back in Port Huron. I like yours much better than mine.




  
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