The other day, I chanced upon a Facebook post by the National Park Service about being prepared and knowing your limits during a trip to a national park. I thought I’d incorporate what I read in that NPS post into this final photo column of 2021, since it was such a great post and gave me pause for reflection regarding how much I plan for a photo trip and what my own limits are when I go out by myself. As I’ve aged, my attitude (and my joints), have imposed limits to where and how I hike with my cameras that I would not have given second thought to when I was younger.
So, to quote that NPS post: “You’ve decided to take a trip to a national park either alone, with your friends, or maybe you somehow ended up as group leader. Do you know what information you should research and what skills you should practice before you head out? Today’s topic: Know Your Limits! Things to keep in mind.” Note: depending upon whether you are alone, with friends, or are a group leader, there will be more planning and preparedness because it’s not just about you but also those for whom you may be (or feel) responsible.
Time of year: the NPS asks “during what season will you be doing your activity? Oh, you’re headed to bear country? That salmon scented body wash was a bold choice.”
You’ll see and photograph so many different things with each season – often the very same spot will yield different photo ops, depending upon the time of year. Regarding those seasonal changes, when you travel to a park unit, are you prepared weatherwise? What kind of rain/snow gear are you packing for yourself and your camera? Have you researched the park(s) to which you are traveling? Spur of the moment trips may be adventurous, but they can also be slightly risky if you don’t have it all together. A little research never hurts, and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect, as well as how to prepare for the unexpected.
What are you planning to do with your camera on a national park trip? Focus on wildlife, landscapes, or a little bit of both? What you plan on doing will determine your lens choice if you use an SLR camera. Point-and-shoot and smartphones come already equipped with telephoto and wide-angle settings.
And yeah, best not to wear any cologne, aftershave, scented deodorant, perfume or other fragrance when out in the parks. Seriously, not only will you not be able to smell the sweet scents of nature (pine, sage, cedar, fresh air, rain), but neither will the person with you or …….