Since we started the Australian Hiker blog in late 2016 I have looked at ways of reducing the weight I carry to ensure that my ageing body, complete with crushed disc in my lower back as well as assorted other injuries, are able to keep on going long into the future. I hike for a number of reasons and one of those is photography so one of the hardest decisions I made in this journey towards ultralight hiking was in moving away from my beloved Nikon DSLR camera which if I took all three lenses, weighed in at just on 2.5 kg. If I’m honest, the weight was just one aspect of this choice as I also found that every time I decided to take my camera out of its case from the top of the pack, animals were often long gone by the time I had my camera ready to go. So instead I opted for my Sony RX100 compact camera that comfortably fit into my pocket and can be deployed in a matter of seconds. I am aware that there are brackets that can mount cameras to the front of packs but I have never been a fan of these.
Every so oftenI hand my compact camera to Gill and take my DSLR on a hike with only my 105 mm macro lens. Strangely enough I wasn’t actually after macro photos but rather I was trying to photograph snakes close up and this lens would allow me to get good shots from a safe distance. Unfortunately while this lens lacks a degree of versatility and while its wonderful for taking close up shots from just a few centimetresnto a few metres away, its not a great lens for taking wider shots like landscapes. So three weeks in and not a sign of a snake anywhere and here I was stuck with a camera set up that forced me to take only closeup images.
But I had forgotten how much I loved using this camera and lens combination and it forces me to pay attention to the little things in the landscape rather than just the big stuff. Things such as the texture of bark, insects, wildflowers and tree sap. I had become so focused on taking certain types of images for our trail reviews that I had forgotten to take the time to look really closely and its amazing what you can find at the macro scale.
So while you may only have a basic camera or even your phone, I challenge everyone to do a hike with the intent of taking closeup up images and see how much more of the environment you notice.
Moth on a blade of grass
Eucalyptus (Corymbia) bark
Insects and flower all in one shot
Tree sap, no filter applied