Pre-WORLD TRIP Wednesday #8&9


I haven’t done a Wednesday post in two weeks and since that time I have gotten “another year older and deeper in debt”. I celebrated my birth, not exactly the gala that the birth of baby Jesus has become but I did have a good day and a nice steak. In addition to those activities I have also been hiking down the US Bank loan processors path to hell. It’s lined with redundant and senseless requests for documents that are never read. I think I would prefer wandering through the deserts of Israel in the cold of night in pursuit of yonder star than to continue this endless paper chase. But by occasionally stepping back into the world made up of irrational government policies and bankers that put covering their assets above critical thinking and customer service, I appreciate my “real world” that much more.

The variety of mts, colors and plants are amazing in SW Utah.

The variety of mts, colors and plants are amazing in SW Utah.

Now let’s talk about something that really matters, “Which camera did I decide to bring on my trip?” After hiking around Utah for the last two months with my Olympus e-420 DSLR I think it would be hard to trade it for a point and shoot. I have enjoyed the simplicity of using a point and shoot backpacking and on bike trips but having a viewfinder to properly compose a photograph in the glare of the sun can’t be beat. I have found that using a camera with a view finder improves the quality of my pictures markedly.



Over the last two days I have been conducting an experiment on the hiking trails around Saint George Utah.  I’ve noticed that I have become fairly lazy with my photographic techniques since transitioning to digital. Instead of focusing on quality I’ve chosen quantity. Instead of taking the time to compose the shot, look at the shadows, sun direction, depth of field, etc. I just take a lot of shots thinking, “Well, one of these will be decent enough and it’s not costing me anything”. But of course it is costing me. For one thing it’s probably costing me the opportunity to actually get a decent shot because I wasn’t making the effort to compose one. Often composition isn’t even possible when using a camera without a proper viewfinder because the sun on the LCD makes it impossible to see anything. As a result I take hundreds of photographs on even a day hike. Then I spend hours pruning the bad ones while asking myself, “What the heck was I thinking when I took that shot?”


So for two days I hiked trails with my DSLR and it’s proper viewfinder pretending it was my old Olympus OM1 film camera. My wife hiked with me using her Coolpix with an LCD and took about as many photos as I would have if I was using her camera. When we got back to our computers Sue had to sort through more than 300 photos, I had only 78. We both ended up with some decent photos. Sue spent a lot more time sorting through her photos and threw away 65%. I threw away about 10% of mine.

The other difference was that I took a little longer composing each shot but I also felt like I was actually creating something and not just pushing a button with a hope and prayer. It reminded me of an earlier time in my life when I was “into photography”. When I would try to “capture a moment” and I would develop my own negatives, B&W’s and slides. It was fun to shoot that way again, with purpose, foresight, and a critical eye.

Somedays it's hard to decide which is pretty in Utah, the sky or the land. (Or Sue)

Somedays it’s hard to decide which is prettier in Utah, the sky or the land. (Or Sue)

So the bottom line is if I like taking pictures that much I should take the camera I enjoy using the most. The one I can be the most creative with even if it’s a little larger and heavier. So I guess I’m going to bring the Olympus e-420. It’s old and cheap enough now that if it’s broken or stolen it won’t be the end of the world and it’s small enough that it’s easy to carry anywhere.

A pair of Mt. bikers heading off after a day of work.

A pair of Mt. bikers heading off after a day of work.

I hope you enjoyed the photos from my experiment. They were all taken with an Olympus e-420, a 25mm 4/3’s Zuiko pancake lens and a circular polarizing filter. (The 25 mm 4/3’s lens is equal to a 50 mm film lens.) Also thanks for taking the time to visit my blog.

Peace and happy travels.

Categories: Biking, Hiking, Travel

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. That’s so interesting to shoot digital as if you’re back in the film days being careful to make every shot count. I’ve got a really nice point and shoot Canon that is hell in bright weather but often still gets great shots even though I can’t see at all what I’m getting. Beautiful countryside. Hope my wife and I can visit that country some day soon, while we still have to show ID to get senior discounts.

  2. Your idea to use the camera with a viewfinder, and to carefully compose each shot, yielded some gorgeous photos!

  3. Nice work there my friend. I’m sure what ever camera you take the results will be amazing… not because of the camera, but because of operator. You know, it’s not about the camera. Point and shoot, iPhone, 5Dmk2… whatever! It’s all about your careful composition and consideration of the light. Have fun.

  4. fwiw, another option to consider: I use a Sony Nex-5N with a single 18-55 lens, don’t carry a flash.
    The advantages:
    1. small enough to get into my pocket when I am in bad places.
    2. great low light performance, good for inside places without a flash
    3. configurable buttons, so easy to adapt to oneself.
    Disad: No viewfinder, the LCD hard to use in bright light.
    Have seen the new nex-5 and it’s 16-50 lens makes it even smaller.

  5. Your skies are gorgeous. Do they really look that deep blue, or is the filter enhancing the colour?
    Definitely worth the extra weight of a ‘proper’ camera to get those great shots. 😀

    • The skies are beautiful here but they were darkened some in the photos thanks to a circular polarizing filter. Thanks for taking the time to check out the blog and photos.

      “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

  6. Good choice, especially the factor that if you get it stolen it won’t be the end of the world. Which means you should take your point and shoot as a backup.

    • Hi Mike,

      It’s funny that you should recommend taking thepoint&shootfor backup because I was kicking around that idea today with my wife. I like traveling light but taking the P&S along makes a lot of sense.Thanks for the recommendation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: