Hiking up the Luskville Firetower Trail with your DSLR

Water play, originally uploaded by janicesaunders.com.

Ok, so I forgot to take a photo of the Luskville Firetower! But after a hot uphill climb of over 700 ft with a loaded backpack on, I was a little tired. Hey, it’s only a tower. This was not really a photo outing anyways, but a much needed training hike in anticipation of our big family hiking trip on the Juan de Fuca Trail on Vancouver Island this summer. The photos were just a distraction from my burning calves and thighs!
So, all seven of us hiked up to the tower with our packs on, our new hiking boots and three dehydrated meals to sample, in order to avoid any nasty culinary surprises in the wilderness this summer.
It was a hot buggy day but that didn’t deter all the other happy hikers, the smallest ones wisely cooling off by dipping their feet and playing in the waterfalls.
A number of problems around backpacking or just day hiking with a DSLR surfaced – weight, these guys plus an extra telephoto lens, maybe a tripod are heavy; protection for your gear from falls or weather; and ease of access to your gear. I had my camera gear in a Lowepro slingshot bag inside my pack. Every time I wanted to take shot I had to take off my pack, open it and then get out the camera bag and then take my shots. This was not only time consuming and slowed down the group but it also discouraged me from taking other shots because I just didn’t feel like taking everything apart once again. I need to work out a better system for carrying my gear that allows quicker access.
Weight? Well I guess this really depends on how much I am willing to carry. Food? Clothes? Camera?
Protection from the elements and damage? Definitely a camera bag of some sort and maybe some plastic bags as well.
The final consideration is time of day. By the time we got up to the top it was after noon and the sun was high in the sky, lots of heavy shadows. Earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon would have resulted in softer light.
I had fun playing around with these photos but better planning would have resulted in better images.

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