Hiking is a great way to experience some of the most beautiful environments in the world, because almost everywhere is accessible by foot if you’re willing to walk. That said, walking is not nearly as exciting as paragliding, horseback riding or wingsuit flying. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take epic, engaging shots while out on a trek. This is how I do it while adventuring in places like Nepal.

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3-Way: The 3-Way is one of the most versatile accessories that you can get. Its arm can be easily positioned to hide itself from view when shooting selfies (which is great when adventuring alone.) The endcap can be unscrewed, flipped and reattached–turning it into a tripod, which is great for capturing your tiny self in those expansive landscapes. I carry the 3-Way everywhere.

Anytime I’m trying to capture a specific image during an activity–in this case, hiking–I rely on TimeLapse mode to get the shot. If my angles and body positioning are changing quickly, I’ll shoot one every 0.5 seconds; if the situation is a little more stable, I’ll switch it to one second. Having those high-capture frequencies increases the probability of getting the best shots, and allows for more experimentation in a shorter amount of time.

I always shoot with Protune on because it allows for much greater latitude when editing selects. Essentially, it flattens out the image so you can choose exactly how much contrast, saturation, and highlight/shadow detail to bring back in. Protune has some advanced options, too. I set my sharpness to low; if you're shooting in bright or dark conditions, lower or raise the exposure value (EV) accordingly.

For most occasions, I’ll shoot stills in the highest resolution possible with the ultra-wide field of view (FOV). This allows me to capture really expansive backgrounds while having a dominant subject (myself) in the foreground.

When telling a story, different compositions, perspectives, and angles will each have a different impact on the message conveyed. Here’s how to make the most out of them.

Even when our bodies are performing the most basic functions–like walking–there’s a lot of powerful movement going on. Use that to your advantage to capture really dynamic selfies.

Use the rule of thirds to frame the most interesting scenery in the background, and keep the sun to your back. This will ensure that shadows from the 3-Way aren’t falling on yourself, as well as provide for more sculpted, interesting lighting.

Landscapes look better with people in them. Having a human (or animal) subject creates a sense of scale - not to mention it’s more interesting to see a person engaging with the environment.

Use the 3-Way as a tripod to set up your shot. From there you can either fire off the self-timer, or use the GoPro App to control the camera. Experiment with various relationships between the size of the subject and the background to create entirely different feelings.

Immersive first-person photos transport the viewer to wherever you are; that’s a powerful thing. Use it to your advantage.

The key to getting great first-person shots is to have part of yourself visible in the image to provide context. Having additional subjects can provide even more perspective, giving the viewer a sense of what’s going on in the environment.

The most important thing you can do to get epic hiking shots is to get out and hike. It’s a big world out there, waiting to be explored.


About the Author: Chris Brinlee Jr. is an adventurer and storyteller who can’t stay put for more than a few weeks at a time. Follow his adventures on Instagram:@chrisbrinleejr.

 

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