Do you go out alone or with a buddy?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by katherinemichael, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Hi all. I was curious as to whether most nature photographers (at least the ones posting here) go out shooting alone or with a buddy. I
    typically go alone: a fact that seems to terrify my friends and family. I'm not talking about camping or hardcore backpacking, just going
    out to a state park or preserve early in the morning and hiking about. I have never even thought twice about going by myself, but I was
    wondering how other people handled it. Thanks!
  2. There are two things to think about, People, and Nature. By far I prefer to deal with nature than with bad people. So it depends on where you hike. A friend of mine broke his ankle while hiking 50 miles from trail head. He hiked back with the help of his partner ! Near where I go to school in the city there have been 2 rapes in the last month (both late at night).

    Risk management is first about knowing what kinds of risks there are near you.
  3. Nature can also bite hard. Even a simple personal mistake can be hard to over come alone. That said I do go out alone or with my dog but not real far. Chances are slim that a problem will occur but when it strikes it may get serious.
  4. i usually go out with my dog(s)..they dont care how long i want to sit and shoot something...or how long i want to be there or where i go they just like being with for being safe alone..they wont let anyone within 10 ft of me and since they weigh...80 and 129 lbs i feel pretty safe.... as far as natural dangers...i have trained the dogs to run ahead of me thus scaring or revealing any snakes in the path and i am very careful as to where i walk i find using a walking stick to very helpful have found several hidden snakes that way.....i also go camping by myself with a dog or 2 and never feel threatened...
  5. By myself. Even in slots in S Utah. Know your limitations, be prepared, don't walk around like a tourist, expect bad weather, and your off.

    My, my, my...what did we all do 20 years ago?
  6. I tend to work mostly alone, so that I can go where I want and spend however much time I want without having to be concerned about someone else - it allows me the freedom that I feel is required for really getting down to business. That said, I do photograph with others from time to time. A group of people in my area, an informal club if you will, head out once a month and who ever shows up shows up. We shoot around an area for a bit and then head off to grab some lunch - it's very informal. Other than that, as I said, I tend to work alone.

    - Randy
  7. Katherine

    I almost always go by myself, despite living in Alaska and wandering some fairly remote places. Misplaced sense of security? I think not but have 43 years of experience in our landscape and around our animals, I feel OK with it.

    Having seen a lot of photographers come and go at Denali, and in Alaska, I would say the vast majority go in tandem, probably for the company and the sharing of expenses. I do think that there is a sense security for some of them, who do not know the wilderness or wildlife. I would say people are better off in many outdoor circumstances with a partner, as people mentioned, acidents happen. One of the resons I don't like group photography is that everyone gets the same photo.

    I suspect there is another aspect to your question to consider, and that is gender. This summer I met a young woman, 21-22, who was traveling around Alaska by herself and camping in remote places, a very avid, determined photographer. I put her on to a great place to go for aurora viewing and photography. I asked her if she had had any bad experiences with our fine examples of Alaskan malehood. The answer "as many outdoors as in town." She allowed she had to abandon some plans when the bubbas showed up. (I admitted that that was a good idea because Alaska is not Eden and we have more than our share of heavy-duty crimes against people and property.) I told her that I, too, have given up and left some locations because of the same circumstance, but allowed the risk might be different and greater for her, a young, attractive, woman alone. I hated to make this about gender but I admired her greatly, her courage and determination, a girl from Massachusettes. Hell, some guys would not do what she had done and was doing.

    I guess, the short answer is, everything has risks, and you just need to assess what is acceptable to you and act accordingly. Myself? I am scared of big cities, and inner city people, give me a grizzly bear anytime, they are more predictable.

    Tom Walker
  8. I rarely shoot with anyone else for a variety of reasons. The pace, in every sense, is it hiking, shooting, lunchbreak, etc. I keep odd hours, often leaving the house at 2-4am, drive 90 minutes, hike 3-5 miles for sunrise shots...into very steep and rugged terrain and wouldn't want to be responsible for another's injuries. I'll have an afternoon snooze and shoot at sunset, making for a long 20+ hour day. Most aren't interested in that schedule. I go solo on both day-hikes and multi-day adventures. There aren't many people (but bears, rattlesnakes, etc.) to give me grief. I'm not a gal so your concerns may be different as it relates to bad hombres...I can empathize with your friends/family.

    A cell phone has limited reception. Sat phones are very expensive but will do nothing to avoid tumbles, bears and bad hombres. There are significant pros/cons associated with firearms. The most significant being they (often!) end up in the hands of the bad guy. Owning/carrying a sidearm is a MAJOR committment to: 1) proper instruction, 2) regular practice, 3) formulating a plan and 4) sticking to the plan in the heat of the moment. 'Tis a shame we are forced to ponder such thoughts but the reality is we live amongst naughty people.
  9. Well yesterday I went out to shoot Peacocks, I had my husband distract/feed them and I did the shooting. Sometimes it
    helps to have an extra hand around to help out with whatever you need.
  10. I may be different than the rest, I prefer to go with a photographer friend usually because of long drives here in Texas but I have gone alone many times.
  11. I go alone to areas that I am familiar with. I can shoot whatever and however I would like to. I can concentrate more. However, being rather "directionarlly challenged", I worry about going to unfamiliar terrains by myself.

  12. Hi Katherine,

    I don't shoot a lot of nature, but have been trying to document my little rural community (which means water towers, peanuts and corn). I'd prefer to shoot alone and do it most of the time, but find some areas (even in the country) intimidating and end up dragging my husband along. He's quite patient, but I still leave feeling rushed.

    One simply has to remember that any location can be used as an opportunity for a predator. Follow your gut. If you ever feel uncomfortable, get out. I like the suggestion of a dog too.

  13. SCL


    I usually go alone, as I have for many years. There's usually opportunity to meet other photographers in choice alone is sort of an oxymoron. I've never had problems in state or national parks. Private lands or long hikes (25-100 mi) passing thru private property, both in the USA and overseas, I've also done alone and with groups with no problems. I think if your family has concerns, or in the back of your mind you have reservations, why not try going with a friend a couple of times...both for safety and companionship. You might find that you enjoy it.
  14. i have yet to meet anyone who was interested in going where i go and doing what i do. i never let that stop me. i have fallen in the creek a couple of times, but never drowned my camera -- yet. it does put it in mind, however, that one can meet with misfortune out in the woods. the seriousness of the situation can vary from comical to deadly. my advice is not to get yourself in a situation you can't get yourself out of. that's probably more prudent advice than to live every day as though it's your last. certainly, you can find your comfort zone somewhere between safe and sorry..
  15. I usually go out alone. Sometimes because I like to, but mostly because I haven't really found anyone who was interested in getting up early and simply enjoying the day. Sometimes having a plan is good, but I hate being so structured that you can't take advantage of other opportunities or a have a bit of spontaneity once in a while. If I could find someone as interested in enjoying what nature provided on a given day and not so worried about if they had better equipment than the other guy, or lack the patience to take a few extra shots of an Egret that posing nicely because they already got one they liked, I may be more inclined to look for a buddy. I love nature and I love photography. I insist on being allowed to enjoy both when I am out, even if I don't make it to every possible location that day.
  16. Don't be afraid to go by yourself..As others have said be prepared..

    This includes being as physically fit as possible..Fitness is seldom mentioned in these forums..Virtually every
    accident or error in judgment that has occurred to me in the outdoors has been exacerbated by being less fit than
    I should have been..In many instances, the accident itself was the direct result of a lack of fitness..Many times
    a lack of fitness will lead directly to an error in judgment..

    That being said, I ALWAYS carry a basic survival kit with me REGARDLESS of the terrain being hiked, the time of
    year, the distance being hiked from immediate help, & whether or not I choose to hike alone or with others..

    My basic kit is as follows & is contained in the bottom compartment of a small day pack:

    1- polypropylene long-sleeved undershirt---
    1- polypropylene long john bottoms---
    1- polypropylene balaclava face mask---
    1- spare pair(s) of socks for the time of year & the boots that I'm wearing (multiple pairs if I'm layering socks)---
    1- pair of polypropylene gloves---
    1- pair of synthetic leather gloves that will comfortably fit over the polypropylene gloves---
    1- high-quality light-weight rain suit with billed hood, full-length zippered legs, & zippered underarm & back
    1- high-quality folding knife with a 3-4" locking blade that will reliably stay locked open & that is kept RAZOR
    1- small 1/4" x 4" x 2" diamond sharpening stone---
    1- self-coiling wire saw with rings on the ends for handles (diamond impregnated rules here, but is expensive)---
    1- waterproof match safe with a supply of waterproof matches---
    1- small waterproof container with a screw-top lid containing 20 or so cotton balls soaked in Vaseline---
    1- of those fire starters that will cause lots of sparks when struck with the back of the folding knife---
    1- jumbo-sized container of plain dental floss (for making small diameter cordage)---
    1- small container containing variously-shaped needles for sewing fabric & a small awl with an antler handle---
    1- bundle of parachute cord measuring 100-200 feet long (amount carried depends on how far from help I'm hiking)---
    1- small roll of duct tape (can be used for many things, including holding wounds together)---
    1- small high-quality personal water purifier with a fresh filter---
    1- small, but complete first aid kit, including needles & sutures along with liquid sutures---
    4-12 energy bars sealed in foil & plastic (I look for ones that cause the least amount of constipation)

    I generally carry at least 2 1-liter bottles filled with water when I hike along with any camera equipment & the
    food that I anticipate needing for the duration of that particular hike..

  17. Thanks to all for the replies. I have never been afraid to go anywhere alone. I have always gone out to shoot by myself,
    both because I prefer it and because I don't know anyone else who would even be interested in going where I go. I used
    to do lots of urban shooting. That always made me more nervous than hiking out in the woods. There is risk of course, people do get
    seriously hurt
    hiking and camping.

    My mom always said to
    me growing up that as a woman I always needed to watch my own back, no matter where I was. It's not that I have
    never thought about what could happen, I have. I just try to be as prepared as possible for any situation and like William
    said, not get myself into a situation that I can't handle. We definitely have natural hazards here in Florida and bad
    hombres too. For the first I just try to be informed and careful. I also now carry a little survival type kit. For the second,
    I have only had one strange run-in and a couple of instances where my gut said "no good" and I avoided the situation all
    together. Nothing ever came of it, but I suppose a self-defense class wouldn't hurt and might make my family feel
    better. I guess the concerns took on a different tone for me after I had my son. Kids change the way you view the
    world. That being said, if I let the idea of all the bad things that might happen and all the horrible stories that the news
    media shoves in our face get under my skin I'd never leave my house. What kind of life is that?

    I appreciate everyones input. I was just curious about what other people did. Nobody I know does what I do so they all think I'm insane.

  18. Bruce-

    I just saw your kit list. WOW! I do carry a kit now but I never thought of some of those things. I carry a compass, first-
    aid supplies, a poncho, one of those emergency blankets, matches sealed in a ziplock bag and a folding knife. Duct
    tape is a good idea. It's good for everything. I always have energy bars/granola bars and at least 2 liters of water,
    sometimes more in the summer. I carry two cell phones now too. (one personal, one work) They don't always get
    service out in the woods, but I have faked it before in one of the weird situations I mentioned in my recent post.

    Thanks for sharing the info!

  19. In foreign countries I almost always bring along a companion. Most recently, I would have been thrown in a Kenyan jail, if I hadn't had with me someone who knew the ropes.
  20. Florida is an enlightened state. Pick a companion sized 9, 10 or 45 and learn how to use it.
  21. I go alone, Buddies are too loud.
  22. I'm a loner. For the past year I've been doing a lot of photography at night using extensive flash, and few people seem interested in photography late at night. Especially in winter. :)

    Kent in SD
  23. Since I mostly shoot in familiar territory, I usually go alone. Even when I visited Florida and California I found some time for going alone. You just keep in mind all the common sense safety concerns that you have for general hiking, you just have the camera with you. Part of the reason for mostly alone is the same as most have stated on here, can't find someone with a similar interest who can tough it out for a few hours wandering the woods. One main reason for going alone is that I find more stuff, I'm not distracted by a fellow human, and one person tends to scare off less of the critters than two or more. Occasionally I do manage to get together with friends from the local camera club, it's nice to have the social outing to share photography. We start as a group, pick a spot, then always seem to wander off alone in a given area, then reconverge and move on. The advantage to that a couple of times has been when we've come across a group of deer in a park, we quietly circled and moved slowly using hand signals, ended up moving the deer towards each other so we all got good shots. More eyes in a group also pick out some things you might have missed. My preference is going alone, I can move when I want, and where I want. Although...there's times when it would be nice to have someone help me keep that darned canoe in place when I'm shooting!

  24. I usually go alone. When I hike with others, they tend to get chatty and most of the wildlife is long gone before I can even see it. Not to mention the fact that I can go at my own pace and pay as much or as little attention to the things I want to see.

  25. I always go solo, whether it's local or hiking. Besides the camera gear I carry the basic backpacking supplies (ten
    essentials minimum plus cellphone, really good raingear - it's the northwest and emergency overnight equipment on long
    day hikes) and leave notes with folks and at home where I'll be (trailhead and trail along with my van description and
    license). These days you have to use care and caution if it's a new place. Some people at trailheads and on trails aren't
    there to hike. If you want to carry a weapon, check the laws or carry and/or permits. Being safe is one thing, being illegal is
    another. Good luck.
  26. I mostly go alone. The majority of my shooting is in the North Georgia mountains. I'm usually day hiking, though occasionally I'll spend the night out. I used to hike fairly often with others, either my kids or friends. As my hiking hobby has evolved into a photography hobby, the fun of the companionship has changed to a frustration with the need to hurry along to avoid my companions' impatience with my shooting. Even before my photography passion, I was just as happy on my own as with someone. So, going alone is now my strong preference.

    For day hikes I'm usually wearing a day pack with water, photography gear, lunch and a basic emergency kit. For overnights, I carry camping gear and more food as well in a bigger pack.

    I've been hiking up there for many years and have never had a problem. Though an accident can occur at any time, most of the trails have enough traffic that someone would come along eventually in a real emergency. In theory, you can encounter crime, but that can happen anywhere. In all my hiking, I've run into a couple of weirdos, but no one dangerous or even terribly impolite.
  27. I usually go alone and on foot, or drive there with a friend but then we split up for the actual photo-hunting. Two people tend to make four times as much noise and see eight times less wildlife than one, or so it seems.

    Then again, the two local tours I've done that produced encounters with the largest number of species of critters were both with a friend and while biking, where I had my tripod strapped to the horizontal bar of my bike and took it off whenever something crawled/hopped/flew past.
  28. Hi Katherine.
    I'm also a woman, but I beagn going out alone.

    I used to take a someone, but I couldn't 100% focus on photography. I liked to try different angles at the same
    locations, or wanted wait for a while for sun's angle, etc... but I simply worried about if he is unhappily waiting for
    me. In fact, he was complaining about I was taking too long time for photo before breakfast.

    Now, I'm independent and feel free to go out shooting by myself. I camped at the public campground alone a few
    times during the summer. I was even planning 3 weeks camping in Alaska this past summer by myself.
    (Unfortunately, I had to cancell the plan for a personal reason)

    However, I was lost in the wilderness while I was hiking in the Sierra a few month ago. I had to spend over night
    without shelter and enough water. I was Ok to find a way back as soon as sun rose, but it was learning experience.
    If you go alone, (or with someone else) be preapred!
  29. Mostly I have to go with my wife and she is one of the biggest problem in my life while concerning art. If you are with a person like wife who is more concious in that whether you are caring and thinking only about herself or not, or busy with some other thing like photography or else, than the problem comes.
  30. I go alone, because the quiet opens my seeing. It's deeply meditative and better photos come from that solitary state.
    Once I was on a steep bank approaching a rock formation and suddenly was tumbling down uncontrollably. I landed on a
    path with my camera still hanging on my neck but hopelessly damaged. That was sobering. My wife has asked me to
    carry a cell phone "So we know where to find you when you break a leg or worse." But in some places there's no service.
    When I was younger elements of risk for good photos were all exciting. Now they're beginning to just seem stupid. I'll be
    sixty in two days.
  31. Mostly I go alone or with my wife. Honestly I try to go alone as my wife can sometimes get impatient (suprise suprise). For camping/backpacking I don't go alone. I would consider it, but only on trails that are frequently traveled (like the AT) only because I would worry that I would manage to do something stupid like break an ankle and then be stuck. I prefer solitude when shooting and it feels more appropriate with early morning and evening shooting.
  32. "Mostly I have to go with my wife and she is one of the biggest problem in my life while concerning art. If you are with a person like wife who is more concious in that whether you are caring and thinking only about herself or not, or busy with some other thing like photography or else, than the problem comes."

    LOL! I guess i'm lucky in that my wife fully supports my passion for photography. However, if I wasn't making money doing it, she probably wouldn't be quite as supportive :)
  33. I'm not married, but I agree with Pankaj; the photography slows down other people. I usually go alone; when I break out
    the camera, I'm usually thinking about the pictures. I find it helps, when you go with other people, to bring more than just
    one person along; that way, when you're introverted and focused on the pictures, the other people have someone to
    interact with more; I also find that it helps if you are confident enough with your surroundings, and have a flexible
    itinerary; work it so that the group doesn't feel "held up" because you stopped to make a picture. Having some
    waypoints or a slow pace through the woods helps.

    On trips where I have some other clear purpose; you have got to get from point A to point B for some clear and important
    reason, I will not break out the camera at all, and just focus on that instead.

    Some people worry about security and injury; okay, those are legitimate concerns; I think it would be easier to get into
    trouble in a high-crime urban area than the woods. Here in Tennessee, our park system actually has a very good sign-in
    sheet plan, with extra forms for overnight campers (one for the car dash, one for the hiker, one on file) that supports the
    same basic, common sense planning that any responsible adult should have in place anyway.

    Let's face it, the most common problem people have is getting along with other people. Many of our "nightmare" worries
    about what would happen to someone alone is that they would be victimized by someone else, somehow. I find that if
    you just proceed with a little bit of confidence, treat the locals with a little bit of respect; and, if people get defensive or
    excited because you're a stranger and they see you there, just be nice and tell them directly you're just going about your
    own business; 90% of the conflicts I've had in new places have been diffused on the scene, without incident this way.
    This plan has worked for me in wars, emergencies, all kinds of trips and travels. Most people are so used to getting
    either ignored or billed or penalized by others, that simple courtesies go a long way.

    If your friends are worried, they probably just care about you. Maybe you could bring them along sometime, and let them
    see how you handle yourself. You're probably doing alright. Proceed with confidence! J.
  34. I'll usually go by myself but if I'm going with my wife she'll take a novel with her and read while I'm spending my time shooting.She still values this time we spend together.Overall,she fully supports my photography and the time it takes to do it.
  35. This has been an interesting thread, esp. the last part about the wife! I too often do easy hikes with my wife, and always
    bring my camera, but rarely get great shots because we don't get up early enough, or stay out late. She does support my
    photography, esp. since I am trying to make some $ at it (but I still spend much more than I make - better keep the day job),
    but her patience has limits. When we car camp in our van at a national park etc. I often get up at dawn and take off on a
    morning hike for sunrise pictures, get back just as she is getting up, then go on an easy day hike with her.

    I've done a lot of back-country climbing and skiing (most without the wife), often solo, and agree with the others here that it
    isn't crazy if you go prepared (although I don't carry quite as much as Bruce, I do agree with him about fitness - both
    physical and mental). Climbing taught me to focus and take care of every step. My worst accidents in the mountains have
    all been on "easy" terrain where I let my guard down. When I solo hike or ski for photos, esp. far from others, I try to treat it
    like a solo rock climb, with the realization that a little slip could have big consequences so I'd better be sharp. Fitness plays
    into this because it is easy to loose this mental focus when you are tired. This also heightens my senses and helps me
    "see" things I might have missed while walking and talking with someone (f course it is quieter too).

    I haven't worried much about weird people out in the woods, but I'm a grizzled old man. I'm glad my wife doesn't go out
    alone like I do!
  36. Don't forget the 2nd amendment. Learn how to shoot and carry a small gun. I'm serious. Out in the wild, it's lawless sometimes, and the gun will be your only protection. Maybe I've watched too many Forensic Files shows.
  37. So far I haven't been in any places I'd concider really dangerous, but from my (little) experience in hiking in the alps both has advantages or disadvanteges.

    When you with others, they should be well aware of what you will do. I went hiking with some very good friends, they knew I am a photo nerd, but still they got quite annoyed when I stopped to take pictures and stayed back for a long time to get the right angle, the best view etc. Sometimes I just put the camera away, because it just wasn't possible to take pictures as we wanted to be at some certain place at night.

    However, we followed some paths you should do in a group, you needed sometimes help to pass a steep step or climb a path. If you carry around some 15kg of luggage, you are happy if somebody is there to give you a hand when climbing or to pass on the backpack at sites where you cannot have it on your back. If you have to do some path at night because you misjudged the time, you are happy if there is somebody with a second lamp, as your sometimes need both hands and your headlamp points somewhere not helpful.

    If you have the right person to go with you, then take her/him with you, it can only be of help. But finding that right person to accompany you on a photo-trip I believe is harder than finding the love of your life (at least in my experience)
  38. Always alone but I always make sure someone knows roughly where I will be and when I expect to be back.

    As for carrying a gun I think that is just one of the cultural/social differences between the US and almost everywhere else :) A D3 with an L-bracket makes quite a good weapon in most instances...
  39. I have to agree with Vic. My wife and I basicly shoot together in Prince William Sound, Alaska getting there with our own boat. We try to be try to be ready for anything from boat repair to having a surviel bag in our dingy. Like how would we get back to the boat if a bear took a liking to our inflatable dingy and tore it apart. The water is to cold to swim in so one would have to build a raff. Many times she goes off in one direction and I go another, we stay in touch with handheld radios, and carry shotguns because of the many bears that we see. We both have run into them many times and had no trouble but it is nice to know the guns are there. When we go on a shoot along the road system I always pack a 45 auto or my 44mag in summer. Living in the crystal meth capital of Alaska there are a lot of lowlifes that would love to put there hands on our valuble camera gear so the sidearm is part of my camera kit. So many jerks(especialy for women,sorry cant spell) and so few bullets. Ive only had one run in with a jerk and was glad to have my 45 as a back up. Don't like guns. Use bear spray or tasers or a monopod as a baton but that as with the guns takes training. Being sailors you must go over in your mind all that can go wong with the boat and have plans in place on what to do if such and such happens.
  40. I have to disagree with Vic and Dennis, and not just because I'm anti gun. Most bear advice I've seen says guns are meager defense against a charging grizzly, and most people won't have the skill to hold their fire until the right moment to actually stop the thing. Wounding it might be a nice parting shot before you get mauled though! Packing a pistol to stop lowlifes might work when they are unarmed and trying to intimidate you, but it would have to be on a holster loaded and ready at all times, and your quick-draw/shoot to kill skills better be up to par. Of course if the meth head has a gun you most likely won't ever see it because they'll just shoot you in the back from an ambush. Chances of bear/werido attacks in the lower 48 are so low they don't justify the weight, training, etc. of guns. Of course #$%^ happens, but you can't prepare for every contingency or your pack will weigh 100 lbs and you won't get very far.
  41. By the way, another obvious reason to hike with others is to add the human element which often spices up a picture.
  42. jtk


    I think the question is this: what's more important, making your images or maintaining your fear?

    As to handguns, if you carry you'd better practice and you'd better know they almost never work the way you see them on TV. Cops almost never hit what they aim at under pressure (plenty of statistics on that), but the old guys are pretty good with a nightstick (maybe you should carry a golf club).
  43. Howdy!

    Too many people focus on the possibility of violent crime, when it's usually simple accidents that result in the majority of mishaps. That's because the thought of being victimized is more terrifying than the thought of breaking your leg by stumbling over a prairie dog hole. But if you are short on water, and have no way to signal for help, the prairie dog is a far more treacherous foe than the criminal.

    There is one device that every outdoor person should carry: It's called the Spot Messenger, and it's available here:

    It's a satellite signaling device that sends your location to people who can help you at the touch of a button. It can also be programmed to send out a periodic "I'm OK" signal which gets forwarded to the Internet, so that people who tend to worry can know you are safe. An associate of mine flies with one all the time.

    For those going into bear country: First the bad news: Nothing short of a shotgun with slugs will stop a determined bear.

    Now the good news: If you are facing a determined bear, you most likely did something wrong. Always be aware of your surroundings, and never get too close to Big Wildlife. That's what long lenses are for.

    If you are hiking to a photo destination in bear country, and you really want to be safe, walk with some kind of noisemaker, like two small pans strapped together. You can always quiet down before you get to your destination. Bears are more afraid of you than you are of them, and if they know you are coming, they will leave.

    Regarding criminals: A small handgun can easily dispatch the most determined two-legged-varmit, but you have to know how to use it. Again, a better option is the shotgun. Those guys in The Godfather protecting Michael Corleone while he was walking through the Sicilian countryside weren't bird hunting.

    Shotguns tend to be heavy, so if weight is a concern, consider a lightweight defensive rifle, like the Kel-Tec SU-16C. These rifles are far more effective than handguns, because they are easier to aim. Also, the sight of a person walking through the woods with a rifle over their shoulder generally deters criminal behavior.

    But again, if you shoot a bear with your lightweight defensive rifle, you'll just piss him off.


  44. When I'm out doing my job - I'm an editorial photojournalist - I usually work alone. If I have a bunch of equipment to carry
    to a shoot, I take a helper.

    When I'm out shooting for pleasure, I usually go with a buddy. For safety, help and the enjoyment of working together to
    take great shots, discuss different ideas, and just relax.

    Oh, and we always take at least one of our other little buddies - they go by the name of Colt, Beretta, Smith & Wesson,
    Taurus, Ruger or Sig. Sometimes Remington, Marlin, and Winchester want to come along if we're in big predator country.
    It's never wrong to be safe and secure in our property and persons.

    Happy shooting - photos, etc.

  45. Different opportunities... different choice
    I stayed put for 5 hours for lighting shots, by the car, taking cover when monsoon brought rain, and that was ok
    because i had cellphone coverage and didn't feel very alone... now hiking for 5-8hours, I would probably wish for
    company (and i would have no phone coverage)
    When I go with someone, I feel limited even if it is a photographer with me, I don't want to make it all about
    the photos i want, and how long i want, yet i do... and the talking can be distractive to getting the variety and
    "exhausting the options" available with the subject...... and sometimes i adjust so much I get the weakest photos
    of the place, because i was too accomodating :) but at the time i thought it's ok, I can just come back there
    again - alone, and do what i want.
    <img src="">
    on a weeklong trip in Yellowstone, I wished for company, but not just any company... alone is safer for getting
    the shots you want (unless you are comfortable with the person) -- safer as in you won't miss photos due to...
    interest differences
    <img src="">
    But with an understanding company.... so happy together....
  46. Oh I forgot... sometimes your friend/partner can be the subject, there are those times.... of spontaneous ideas...
    <img src="">
  47. Katherine, Where do you live? I live in south florida and often go out shooting alone. I am was not affraid untill recently. I was out shooting in an area where there are aligators. Well, I am sure so can see where this is going, but a momma aligator came out of no where and was about 5 feet from me. I had stumbled upon her nest, and she was interested in what I was doing there. I backed away slowly, and happily I still have my limbs. But it made me realize that even in areas we are comfortable in, you never know. [​IMG]
  48. I find I work better alone. But it is nice to have someone along side. Also, if I want people in the images, that obviously answers that question.
  49. I tend to agree with those who advocate caution in carrying a handgun while in the woods..

    Although I don't currently own any large caliber handguns, at one time I did & was fairly proficient with them..

    The motor skills & hand-to-eye coordination needed to shoot a large caliber handgun accurately under range
    conditions with little or no stress FAR exceed those needed to accurately fire a rifle under the same exact
    conditions..The skills needed to shoot the rifle under range conditions usually, but not always, exceed those
    needed to accurately shoot a shotgun under the same conditions..When the stress of combat against another human
    is added to the equation, then all bets are off as to ANY accurately aimed hits reaching the target; unless the
    shooter is an exceptional shot, or has faced combat previously..The same holds true for facing down a dangerous
    wild animal that has the capacity to kill you..Fear mixed with adrenaline makes for a dangerous situation if a
    well-aimed shot is absolutely needed to save one's life..

    The old time shootist Elmer Keith, who shot hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition through large caliber
    revolvers, maintained in his later years that the majority of those who depended upon a handgun for their safety
    should shoot at least 50 rounds a day, at least 5 days a week to maintain a high proficiency with ANY handgun..He
    stressed that this should be done for however long they were anticipating the need to carry a handgun.. All elite
    forces shoot EVERY day that they can in order to train & hone their shooting skills to the highest possible
    levels..They also have the advantage of shooting houses & ranges that simulate the noise & stresses of combat
    conditions so that the training is as realistic as possible..

    A handgun that is capable of dropping a grizzly bear in it's tracks is going to require a tremendous amount of
    shooting in order to master the recoil; even for someone that is already an incredibly good shot with, say a Colt
    1911A1 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol..The bear guides that I spoke with in Alaska during the 2 years that I
    lived there told me that they carried rifles that were capable of breaking a bear's shoulder..They said that if a
    client shot poorly or panicked, their goal was to first break one or both shoulders so that the bear was
    incapable of attacking them, & then to worry about a killing shot...

    The only shot that I'm aware of that would allow a shooter with a large bore handgun to instantly kill a bear is
    a brain shot..Unfortunately, all bears & especially grizzly bears, have thick skulls that slope dramatically
    along the sides & fronts of their skulls..If the bullet strikes anyplace except through the nose, there is a very
    good chance that the bear will end up only being stunned & not killed..For an absolutely sure brain shot the
    shooter MUST place the shot through the bear's nose so that it will penetrate through the thinnest & weakest part
    of the skull in order to reach the brain..This IS NOT an easy thing to do..

    A Bowen Classic Arms custom Ruger Blackhawk 5-shot revolver with a Bisley grip chambered for the .45 Long Colt
    cartridge that was powerfully loaded with a heavy bullet would be the absolute minimum that I would want to carry
    in bear country..Other, more powerful cartridges are also available to choose from..The Remington .44 Magnum IS
    NOT one of the cartridges that I would choose as bear protection..I'd want to shoot every other day for AT LEAST
    6 months, if not longer, before I'd risk my life on my ability to kill a bear with such a handgun as described
    above..In my current physical condition I would need to lose weight, get into better physical shape, & seriously
    weight train in order for my wrists, arms, & back to be able to withstand the sustained recoil that such training
    would entail..Even if I was in great shape right now I would limit myself to low power rounds for at least the
    first several months just to acclimatize my body to shooting such a powerful handgun..From speaking to several
    people that have owned such handguns I understand that even the burliest men can't shoot more than 5-10 full
    power rounds per shooting session from a revolver chambered for cartridges at this level before sustaining
    long-term repetitive motion injuries as a result of the massive recoil that these weapons produce..

    There is MUCH more to carrying & using a handgun for protection from human & animal predators than first meets
    the eye..IMO, anyone that carries a handgun about for protection has an absolute duty to both themselves & to
    society at large to master shooting the weapon under range conditions..They should shoot every week to maintain
    that proficiency..If you don't want to do this, for whatever reasons, then I say put the handgun away & don't
    carry it about..


  50. I go often by myself, sometimes with other photographers, it all depends. If allowed, I have my dog (I am in Washington and there are a few places dogs are not allowed). I've started carrying bear spray just in case. My biggest concern is twisting my ankles. I would advise at a minimum carrying sports tape for wrapping up your ankles as it can save you a lot of pain if you are forced to hike out on a twisted ankle. Having something (like a hiking pole) for possibly splinting a knee/leg is also a good idea.

    Luckily, one of my photo companions is a doctor and I was with him when we did our hairiest pre-dawn hike in the North Cascades on the way to Grasshopper Pass.

    I'd advise taking an outdoor emergency care course. I had one plus refreshers when I was a volunteer ski patroller.
  51. You can be alone and yet be relative safe. As a simple and basic precaution take your mobile phone with you. If your mobile phone is out of range of your normal network, dial 112. This will connect you directly to emergency services if you are within the range of another network, even if the phone keypad is locked. Note that 112 cannot be dialled from the fixed network. When you are overseas you can also use 112 to be connected to local emergency services. Secondly you can take a UHF radio with you which will work within 50-100km of a repeater station. The emergency frequencies on UHF are monitored by various authorities, such as police, fire authorities, marine time services, rangers, emergency rescue etc. The most effective devise, which should be part of your camera kit if you go in the wild or not so wild is a PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons). PLB's are for personal use and are intended to indicate a person in distress who is away from normal emergency services. The basic purpose of distress radio beacons is to get people rescued within the so-called "golden day" (the first 24 hours following a traumatic event) when the majority of survivors can still be saved. Cospas-Sarsat (satellite) can locate a beacon with a precision of 100 meters, anywhere in the world, and send a serial number so the government authority which can look up phone numbers to notify next-of-kin in four minutes, with rescue commencing shortly afterward. These devises cost less than a moderate camera lens and will save your life. For all the ‘good oil’ go to
  52. I don't always go it alone but I have to admit, 90% of the time I wish I had. I already annoy my friends because I my camera is never far from my side and when I see an opportunity I try and seize it. This can be frustrating to others. I had a fiance once, she was great on the trail... never complained and had a passion for photography equal my own. Other than her, I've always preferred being alone.

    I sometimes carry a sidearm (Sig P226 with Hydroshocks) but more rarely now. The risks and inconvenience have begun to outweigh the possible benefits. I think I'd be more likely to connect with my 5D on the end of a tripod or even a rock than I would with the Sig. It tends to give you a false sense of security that compels you to do something even more stupid than you might have otherwise. For those who live in Grizzly country and are well trained, I completely understand the comfort a weapon brings.
  53. Wow! I am fascinated by the responses that have been posted here.

    I am not really anti-guns, but owning and potentially using a gun is a HUGE responsibility. I don't feel that it is right for
    my particular situation. At this time I am only doing day trips because of my baby and I am going to mostly well kept
    state parks and preserves. I personally feel very comfortable being alone in these locations. If I were to be trekking
    across the wilderness in Alaska or some other isolated place, I would absolutely learn how to use an appropriate firearm
    and carry one. I'm not as familiar with other states, but at the parks I have been to here in Florida, firearms are
    prohibited unless it is a specific hunting season and you have a permit. In addition, many of the trails I take at my
    favorite park are closed to dogs because of alligators. My cats would be angry if I brought one home anyway. I
    honestly get more worried about the wildlife than about bad people. I always try to be very careful about venomous
    snakes, spiders and alligators. Oh yeah, let's not forget my old enemy, poison ivy.

    I find that going out to shoot alone is almost a meditative experience for me. I really enjoy being in the woods away from
    other people and focusing in on all the colors, textures, smells and sounds that nature provides. Other people just don't
    understand why I hike out to these places in the heat and deal with the bugs just to take pictures. How could I possibly
    sit in the sand for forty minutes waiting for the "right" light or take fifty shots of one tree? I get really unnerved when I'm
    trying to concentrate on shooting and people are talking to me or tapping their foot. Not everyone understands and even
    if they do, they will still be very different in how they approach things.

  54. I came back by to see what was going on; I cannot recommend carrying a firearm.

    I have carried weapons for a living, and I really think it ought to be avoided by most people most of the time.

    Some of the posters above wrote about pepper spray, or grizzly bear repellent. I have been sprayed with OC (the active
    ingredient in these repellents). I can tell you that a trained person can continue to fight once they are sprayed with this
    stuff, but it does indeed hurt a great deal. It also causes disorientation, and a series biochemical responses that will provide the un-
    sprayed person an advantage in about 30 seconds. It is a potent weapon, and should not be toyed with. Also, someone
    mentioned a taser. I have been shocked with those, too, and I will tell you they cause a great deal of pain. Also, not a

    Really, I think that if you live in a reasonably civilized place, and have no need to believe that you are in direct danger,
    that you should not bother with carrying weapons.

    I still strongly recommend the "be nice" plan, and some basic check-ins with others to avoid the big "missing too long"
    catastrophe. Good luck. Proceed with confidence! J.
  55. I typically go by myself. It's hard to find someone willing to wait around while I take photos. I do however take some safety precautions to minimize risk.
    2. Flares (I carry 3, the boating type)
    3. Thermal blanket
    4. Mirror
    5. Celox-to stop bleeding
    6. Ace bandages/regular band aid bandages.
    7. Of course-cell phone
    8. 2 litre water
    9, Granola or energy bars.
    10. a little rope
    11. Lighter
    12. A combo crank flashlight radio
    I think the the pepper spray might be helpful if it's handy...I've encountered boars, feral bulls/cows but nothing else. I must admit I've sometimes thought of packing...Oh, another experienced hiker I know swears by carrying duct tape. I think it may be a worthwhile addition. It's a lot of additional weight but if I have to use any one of those items just once it will have been worth it. One other note....Always let someone know the general area to plan to hike. Always.
  56. It depends on where I go if I'm in a familiar area I go alone sometimes. But my husband goes with me a lot of the time even in an area I know. But I get lost easy I mean easy I get so busy looking at this or that, that I forget how I got there. I know my husband laughs at me to. He is great to have along any way, he helps pack my gear and he knows how to hunt so keeping quiet and following animals or getting close enough to them is not a problem. Sometimes he can get me closer than I could by myself. He also points out differant angles and things to photograph. He has the patience of a saint he never gets impatient or restless. And since he learned to stop listening to me and my directions years ago we rarely get lost. We make a good team he enjoys getting out and hiking or driving country roads even driving around cities looking for parks and interesting things, and I enjoy taking pictures of all we see. We have fun.
  57. I usually go alone, though sometimes a buddy goes along to help with gear or as a second set of eyes in locating wildlife. I shoot mostly along the Rio Grande in south Texas or in Big Bend National Park.I've often seen illegals crossing the river or making their way north but have never had a problem with them. Like the wildlife, I expect they have seen me first but they aren't interested in me. I sleep in some remote places and usually have a pistol or Mossberg pistol grip 12 guage with me. However, I suspect that if someone wanted to rob me, they would have the advantage. They would have the element of surprise. I really don't worry about it much.
  58. didn't have time to read every post...Anyways I go alone a lot.. where I shoot doesn't have big games like bears, wolves or moutain lions, but I carry equipment and that does post some risk of robbery so I carry pepper spray.
  59. OK, this post has temporarily turned me off nature photography if it means carrying weapons! LOL! It's likely that some of you would consider the wilds of New York City (my playground) worthy of weapons too. As lifelong urbanite, I'm more comfortable in the city, I guess.

    Anyway, regarding the original question, it depends on the situation. Some days I want company, other times I want to be alone. And, on top of that, it depends on the company too. If I go with others in my league who are willing to split up at times, cool. But, if it's a follow the leader situation, I'm not always in the mood for that. I kind of think it's like going shopping: Sometimes you need to do it alone, other times you want your best friend(s) there to help you out.

    On that note, I think I need to go take some pictures now. ;-}
  60. Dallas- I'm sorry, I just now saw your question. I live in North Central Florida. Plenty of alligators here as well. In fact, you stand a good chance of finding one anywhere there is a few feet of water. A while back my friend had two removed from under her car in one week. Stay away from the nests even if it doesn't look like anyone is home. Mama is always near by!

    I personally feel that the responsibility of carrying a firearm would increase my stress, not relieve it. However, it's different for every person and situation. I have to say that just last week I had one of the biggest scares of my life while out shooting alone. I was in the middle of the Cedar Key Scrub Preserve and I got smacked in the face by a fast flying bug the size of a Bic lighter. Never saw or heard it coming. It's a good thing I was alone because I made quite the spectacle of myself for all the wildlife to see. lol!

    Hopefully that is the worst scare I ever have while shooting alone in the woods. :)
  61. This is really interesting thread of discussion.

    Katherine, I'm mostly like you, go out on my own, and feel more secured in jungles than city.
    I'm from India, and for past 7 years in US for work. Here is my personal experience as far as going alone.
    I was a backpacker, trekker, hiker when I was in India. I was also member of wild life federation, and my favorite place in julgles. I absolutely had no fear to go anywhere in "my country". If you go and see the pictures of Leh-Ladakh in my gallery here, I went alone to that high altitude place. Very very risky, after I saw 2 people died in front of my eyes due to high altitude sickness. So the Peru trek I did with group (none of them were photographer as such)...totally unkown, and it was fun, and paradize for me to take pictures of Machu-Pichu. Also it is law at Peru that high altitude treks not to be done alone.

    Here in US, I got few bad experiences when I tried to go alone, even in local zoo place. That gave me feeling of insecurity going alone in other countries for taking photos. On top of that 3 times I'd experience people calling cops, even though I was on public property taking photos. So, looking at these incidents, I prefer not to go alone except my country "India".

    Someone said here going in group makes every body has same photos. At the same time, I believe that one can add their personal touch and style to every photograph to look different. Right :)
  62. Katherine,

    You can obtain a permit which allows you to carry concealed weapons nearly anywhere in the State of Florida, pursuant to Chapter 709 of the Florida Statutes. You can obtain an application from any sheriff's office, police station or the Department of Agriculture. This law has been in effect for 10 years and has caused a significant reduction in violent crime in that state. There have been more felony convictions amongst law officers than among CCW holders.
  63. Boy is this an interesting post! My short answer, go alone if you have to, but let someone know where you are going and when you are to return. Never deviate from the plan w/o telling someone first. If you can take a photo friend with you but do your photo stuff separately.

    My wife and I take trips together for hiking, travel and and photography. I try and do the photo stuff in the early morning hours and late afternoon hours. During the day we do things together. She always knows where I am going and when I will be back. Same goes for her too.

    I have done wildlife photo contests in Texas by myself where I am on a ranch in the middle of nowhere by myself for 3-4 days at a time w/o seeing anyone on the ranch. And this goes on for four months. The last time I did this my cell phone worked and I checked in with my wife twice a day. (She was four hours away.) Since I was completly by myself, I had to be very careful and did not take any chances. I have done these contests before with a partner, which is a safer way to do it. During the day we each did our own thing. We got together for meals and in the evening or when we neded each others help for a particular shoot. The rest of the time we were on our own. I am not sure I would do such a contest if I could not reach someone by cell phone. Too many things do happen where you need to reach someone by phone.

    I never heard of a Personal Locator Beacon before. Thanks for that tip. It makes great sense . More info on it here:

    One last point. Make sure you insure all of your photo equipment separately from your homeowners insurance. I have been concerned about low life types eye balling me too much at state parks and wondering if they are going to try and steal all of my equipment that I am carrying or might have in my vehicle. Yes, they do watch what vehicle you go to when you leave the trail or enter the trail. As for guns, it all depends on where you are going, etc.

    One comment is definitely worth repeating. You must be in or get yourself in decent physical condition. Accidents happen to those who are not!

    Joe Smith
  64. Katherine,

    Great timing of this post as I would like to share something for all.

    I live in the opposite side of the country from you, in the beautiful state of Washington. Yesterday, I went on a hike up to Marmot Pass at the eastern edge of the Olympic Mountains. I got a late start, so I was the last one out, with the exception of some hunters who were camping near the pass.

    Starting at about sunset, I enjoyed the windy drive back down to civilization (but never exceeding the speedlimit ;) - I would never do that in my WRX which is designed just for that!). It became fairly dark fairly quick. Surprisingly enough, I eventually came upon some headlights, so I slowed down, but then a third light hit me. "What's this?" I couldn't quite figure out whether there had been an accident, so I slow down to a crawl, realizing that the third light was a spotlight shining on me.

    I crept forward to find out that it was law enforcement. They were looking for somebody, and I don't think it was over unpaid parking tickets as they were all carrying assault rifles. Whoever they were looking for, I'm guessing that person was armed and would do anything to anyone in order to avoid capture by the authorities.

    This brings me to the question, what would I do if I came across a broken down car or just someone by themselves waving for help. I would stop of course, because chances are, it was someone just needing help. Maybe they were pushing their luck and ran out of gas, maybe a rock punctured a hole in their radiator or oil pan. The possibilities of mechanical breakdown are endless. I would want to help such a person as if my car broke down, I would hope to get some help. Of course, the fact that I have a fluffy white dog I would hope would be an indicator that I am no threat to anyone.

    And if it turned out to be someone with a gun who wanted my car, I'd just give them my keys and walk the rest of the way (but not before taking my dog with me).

    I do not own a gun, nor do I plan on doing owning one (though I do respect the rights of others to own them). My dog is useless to anything larger than a squirrel. My bear spray is useless for this scenario. I am more than happy to give up a material object like my car to someone dangerous like this. My car, my camera gear, my wallet are all expendible. My life and my dog are not.

    Now the scenario I am painting (I only paint with words, never with a brush!), is the most extreme one, but it brings up a question that hopefully none of us ever have to answer. What do we do when staring down the wrong end of a gun?

    Despite all this, I feel very safe on the trails, as I tend to do day trips where often people go for the same reason as me. I would guess that fugitives would want to avoid people, unless they want to switch cars (as I was driving back to take the ferry across the Puget Sound, one of the signs that normally informs drivers with ferry wait times was instead asking drivers to call 911 if they say a 70's red/gray van with windows all around). People I meet on the trail are usually quite friendly or they just go on by (many want to say hello to my dog). But then again, I'm a 37 year old man, about 180 lbs, 5'11", not the type some creep would be interested in giving a hard time.

    Now to more realistic scenarios, I agree with Joe's statement regarding physical condition. It makes a huge difference. However, one should not take additional risks when alone. I skipped climbing to the top of Buckhorn Mt as I was by myself. I was in shape to do it, but it is a bit of a scramble, and one wrong move and I'm in serious trouble.

    I am going to inquire with regards to the personal locator beacon. Sounds like a great idea. $500 is steep, but money I'm willing to part with for that extra bit of insurance.
  65. I'll typically hike to our destination with friends. However, my friends know I will go off on tangents and be out setting up for pics at o dark thirty and in the few hours proceeding sunset. Though with friends, I am by myself a lot.

    My fanny pack contains iodine pills for water, 2l platypus water bag, 2 bottle waters on either side, coolaide packets to neutralize the iodine after its done its thing, 2 pocket/skinning knives and a leatherman, floss toothpaste toothbrush, poncho, 2 silk pantyhose (light, insulative, and wring out dry if you get them wet) wool socks (wearing them), moleskin, mylar survival blanket, spot (gps/rescue transponder since no cell phone service in 99% of areas I hike), first aid kit, magnesium block with flint stone for fires, "chain saw", mini shovel (3 dollars at walmart), sierra cup and straw, carpenters pencil and a fer notecards (to leave message at ranger station if changed plans), 1000# test line (100ft) 30ft monofillament line, hooks so I can fish if I need food) ziplock bags, map, compass (gps can loose batery power) mini mag light (2). Mirror, to signal for help, whistle. Coffee (3 days worth), creamer/sweetener (known as a frlask of Jack Daniels in my family), beef jerkey, hard candy, oatmeal packets, toilet paper, small roll of duck tape (1/4" left on the roll so I can flatten it), bandana, hat, mosquito net for my head, deet, lip balm, and sunscreen, and 3 punch cigars...hell, if you are gonna be stranded for a few days you don't have to suffer. The biggest thing is letting everyone know your plans, where you are going and when you are expected back. If you do get in trouble, STAY PUT. There is nothing more frustrating than looking for someone, only to have searched an erea, only to have the person you are looking for end up in an area that you already searched. You will be much easier to find if you stay where you are.

    I don't wear cotton clothing as it will not wick away moisture, but it will wick away heat (cotton kills).

    Most of my hiking has been here in commiefornia, so no grizzlies to worry about. My sidearm has always been a .357 mag stoked with a 158gr swc with enough alliant 2400 to hit 1400fps (and one round of snakeshot) This round will do its part against a black bear if you do your part. The one trip to Wy. I brought the 45-70 guide gun, as any "hand cannon" that I can handle will be anemic against a brown bear. In 30 years of hiking, fishing, hunting and photography I've only had one adverse encounter (other than rattlesnakes) and that was with a mountain lion while I was fishing.

    In general, go with a buddy.
  66. I recently went out on a day hiking trip myself. Sure it was in the Blue Mountains (Australia) and is very popular, but I wanted a long day hike and out into the valley where there weren't going to be many people.

    Originally I was going to be with someone, but that someone canceled so I ended up going alone. Which I loved!

    It was great to go alone, and be one with nature so to speak.

    On saying that, I nearly slipped and fell down "stairs" quite a few times, which scared the living hell out of me and made me think that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to be doing it.

    Fitness plays a big part I would say, in fact nearly 3 days after that one hike, my legs are still not in right shape. I pushed myself way too far, headaches, dizzyness, legs cramping, nose bleeding, and on the verge of being delirious.

    Since this was a day hike, I made sure to pack alot of stuff. Even things that I don't intend on using, for example a mag lite PLUS a wind up LED flashlight just in case I ran out of batteries. I also packed strong painkillers, just in case something happened and I got into pain and still needed to get back to civilization. Also packed warm clothes just in case the weather turned and got cold. A spare charged battery for my cell phone was also something else I packed. Not to mention alot of food, like canned tuna, protein bars, snickers, bananas and nearly 4 litres of water.

    I also let a few people know what trail I was taking, and if I'm not in contact by a certain time then they should start to worry. I also made sure that if I don't make it out to my destination by a certain time (4pm) then I would go back, just so I don't have to do it in complete darkness.

    Needless to say, even though during my hike there were alot of times where I said to myself "Yatty, this is a very bad idea" It was one of the best trips I've done, and I would happily do it by myself again. As most people said, I would certainly feel a bit rushed if I was with someone and I would also have to talk to them, and listen to them instead of just being alone and can just think about what I need to think about or just be able to clear all my thoughts and just focus on photography and my beautiful surroundings.

    Damn I didn't mean to write so much...
  67. Kosta Koeman said, "...I would guess that fugitives would want to avoid people, unless they want to switch cars (as I was driving back to take the ferry across the Puget Sound, one of the signs that normally informs drivers with ferry wait times was instead asking drivers to call 911 if they say a 70's red/gray van with windows all around)"

    I worked in the hospital of one of our state prisons. I can assure you that most fugitives would just assume kill you as to look at you. Another reason to carry, If you wonder into a pot grove, being armed improves your chances of wondering out.

    Wherever I hike, you have no 911 so 357 is the fastest option.
  68. Quite a response to this topic though I didn't as yet tonight bother to read through most of the responses. The
    general subject does come up on enthusiast boards about all manner of outdoor activities. For instance on one
    board I frequent, one often sees the question as to whether people ought to hike out into the backcountry alone or
    not. Personally I am and have been more often alone than not though also enjoy working with others. The question
    breaks down into the two areas of safety and photographic advantage.

    As I enjoy working with other people, I have been lucky enough to have found another landscape photographer
    over 20 years ago, that I mesh well with. And thus we have often worked together in the field and plan extended
    trips together. For instance we have spent several weeks together on long road trips to distant Western areas and
    backpacked together many times. Landscapes, especially those in more remote areas can be rather complex.
    Two intelligent, experienced minds working together as a team potentially is better than the individual as is also the
    case in many difficult activities of people. It is true photographers can visually get in each other's way at times,
    though that rarely results in one person getting a shot that the other doesn't. In our case we don't target animals or
    fleeting subjects but rather landscapes that cannot run away. Thus sometimes we take our turns tripoding in the
    obvious prime spot. Sometimes when one of us discovers a tripod spot with a great frame, we will let each other
    take a look at what we framed before moving on. And sometimes the other person may decide to set up the same
    shot or very similar shot accordingly. Thus as long time friends we don't have an issue benefiting from a level of

    Group photography outings can in fact be socially fun, though beyond two people, the tendency to get in other's way
    increases quickly. There is also an issue of being able to agree with where one will work in the field. Rambling
    across a landscape, it is easy for one person to linger in one spot while the other is moving ahead. One person may
    want to take a shot of something the other isn't interested in or feels isn't worth the effort. The more people involved,
    the more likely the area that can be worked will become constrained. Obviously two people working in the field
    together to be successful require both a similar strategy, interest in subject types, and style as well as a way to
    effectively communicate.

    The other issue of safety is greatly dependent on location and circumstance. Hiking with expensive gear just outside
    a large urban area where those of a criminal mind are more likely to frequent, is of course far more dangerous from
    evildoers than if one is out at a lonely remote locale in the West. On the other hand a remote place in the West
    may be dangerous due to natural terrain and or animals. In the urban case, another person along goes a long ways
    just as in the remote situation but for entirely different reasons. There are many well experienced intelligent
    landscape photographers that become quite comfortable working their familiar natural regions solo and do so. On
    the other hand the less experienced outdoor person would be wise to team up with others.

    The position of young attractive women solo out in the field may be particularly dangerous near urban natural areas
    because those regions do have numbers of evil people that have little regard for those they victimize for their vile
    selfish deeds. However when those same women venture to more distant scenic areas, one will often see many out
    solo on trails and that is especially true in the backpacking community. It is true women more often team up with
    other women, males, or a dog, but reality is such regions usually are rarely visited by evildoers who are by nature
    lazy. That is reflected in the way backpackers regularly leave their gear at campsites while they are off on long day
    hikes without having to worry about other hikers going through their gear much less stealing something. In any case
    there are limits there, so I never leave my expensive camera gear unattended at a campsite others might pass by
    and am more wary the closer to trailheads.

  69. My girlfriend and photo partner ( have traveled many places together because of another business we own. She went Namibia with her sister, but otherwise we travel and shoot together. But here's the nice thing: We go to the same places but end up with quite different photos! We both have Leica M6 bodies (not us, the cameras!) and share three lens and filters and shoot only black and white. While we have a show coming up in just over a week (with three others), if successful we are contemplating a two person show in the spring, possibly called "Two Views" with pairs of our pictures together from places such as Paris, Normandy, Provence, Gran Canaria, Barcelona, Crete, Athens, Moscow, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk - you may want to google map these last two!
  70. Hi Katherine,

    I quickly read this thread tonight for the first time, and feel compelled to offer my experiences and thoughts. Personally, I do my
    nature photography alone, and couldn't quite imagine doing it with others for many of the reasons mentioned already. My only
    worries concerning animals are the aggressive breeds of dogs that have proliferated in the last decade, and in a couple of rare
    incidents, White-tailed bucks acting a little aggressive in rutting season. In the areas I frequent, I'm usually not that far from roads
    and houses, and in the isolated areas, I try to be alert. Here in the Northeast, my concerns center much, much more on
    possible risks posed by humans, than by critters. As a man, and in the areas I contemplate visiting, I don't worry too much, but I
    try to be alert and avoid anything suspicious. And, I realize that I could well be naive in feeling secure..

    Very sadly, though, when I try to assess the risks posed to a woman, I am more fearful for your safety. Over thirty years ago, my
    family lived on a small rural property outside of a small town, and we were also quite close to a 4,000 acre park. One day two
    very upset women came to our door asking for help, as one had been sexually assaulted in the park. We helped them and
    called the police. I don't think we were ever told of the specifics or the outcome, but it's something I never forgot. Also, a woman
    doctor who was a treasure to the community for her entire life, was similarly assaulted while in a rural area outside of town, and I
    don't think the assailant was ever caught. This, in a "picturesque", "safe" area, twenty-five miles from the nearest large city.

    I don't know what to tell you except to take precautions.. a dog might be a great idea, pepper spray, etc. I always have my cell
    phone in one side pocket of my Domke F-2 bag, along with a small air horn, that one of the good people here recommended
    after I had a couple of encounters with an aggressive buck. (I know some are probably laughing at this last statement, but they
    can be aggressive, and there have been isolated incidents all around the country, even people killed. Google it.)

    On the other hand, I have a nice photography book by the late Nadine Blacklock (tragically, she and her dog were killed in a
    vehicle collision). It's called '15 Years In A Photographer's Life', and in it, along with beautiful images of mostly the upper mid-
    west, she documents her travels year by year. (I think you may really like it, and it's possible to read the reviews on Amazon.) She very often
    travelled and camped alone during this time,
    except for her large
    dog. So, hopefully, I worry too much.
  71. I think when you go out with others,and not alone, they won't let you shot from anything you love. or go every where you want! unless he is the same as you and love nature and photograghy as much as you do!
  72. I cant do it. I have tried to go with others and it has never worked. I like to take my time and see everything, with others I feel rushed. Also, I do not know anyone, other than Austin Stevens and Jeff Corwin, that would enjoy wading in mosquito infested swamps.

    Katherine, I believe you are safe in State Parks. However, things are much differant for women and I would go with at least a dog. If not, either a firearm or some pepper spray. Rangers normally keep an eye on things at state parks.
  73. Another option for those who go out alone in remote areas; get your amateur radio license. It is much easier now since there is no code requirements. Amateur radio has, in many cases, saved many lives when cell phones were out of randge of the cell towers. No, you do not need to lug around big radio, you can buy a handheld radio that is so small, it that will fit in a shirt pocket. Just remember to carry an extra fully charged battery with you.

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