For the past few years just about every trip I've taken has had an agenda attached to it. Shoot this product, film this adventure, craft this story. I'm not complaining, I'm just stating facts. Truth is, Darren & I started Traverse because we love being outdoors, we love shooting, and we love outdoor gear. Given all this, it seems odd to me looking back that I don't get out that much any more just to get out. Recently, I took a trip with a few buddies, and didn't have any work responsibilities and no real agendas other than to climb some mountains and sit by a campfire. Here's what I took away
1. There's So Much Downtime Outdoors to Embrace.
I neglect this a lot. Usually most people's downtime at camp becomes my time to clean lenses, rearrange bags, check storyboards, dump footage/images, or charge cameras + batteries. Don't forget to plan downtime even if you're working. It's awesome and one of the best things about camping.
2. Unplanned Shots are Awesome
I get caught up a lot in the goal of a shoot or a trip and a lot of times that means I shut down after a, summit a climb, or along stretch of hiking. But so much of the story of trips happens around campfires, and in tents when people are just being themselves. I miss a lot of that (see #1). Take some time to shoot goofy things, who knows maybe you'll get a shot of your friend in a mountain creek on a floaty, beer in hand.
3. Break the Mold
Work sometimes means sticking with a formula that works. I shot a lot of things this weekend that I normally wouldn't have. Free time means time to experiment or try out techniques in a fail-safe space. I remembered a lot of the thing that makes shooting fun for me is figuring new things out.
4. Pack Lighter!
I brought two cameras and one extra lens this weekend. Typically on a big trip I'll have three times that much. And, you know what? I didn't miss all the extra gear. Next time I'm out I have a feeling I'll be carrying a lighter pack and not regretting it.
5. Embrace Car Camping
"Work" trips usually mean getting to remote spots to shoot without anyone else around. You backpack a lot and you carry a lot of gear. This trip made me realize that even though car camping isn't remote, it's great sometimes. You get to bring things like a cooler and have cold beer. Bonus.
6. Eat With Your Friends
A meal around a campfire is one of simplest pleasures someone can enjoy, in my opinion. But, when you're working it usually means shoving in calories any time you have a second, and going back to #1, you just normally don't take a break. Take some time next time you're out to put down the camera during dinner and enjoy the conversation, and (hopefully) fire-kissed meats.
7. Do Something ridiculous
You're not working (and even if you are) so who cares. We scored some 7 dollar kids tubes and floated in a creek near camp. Was it silly? Yes. Was it the most fun I had on the whole trip? YES. We also took the time to invent a new camp game we've titled Davy Crockett Ball, and yeah, it's as fun as it sounds.
8. Share a Summit
Most of the time you're there to capture the ascent, or the climb, or the descent. Whatever it may be, you're called to be there first and be in position and to document. The next time you're out NOT working, remember: you don't have to get there first. Hang in with your trail buddies and summit together. Its a great thing to share.