Next week I’m setting off on my first ever backpacking trip. In addition to the excitement of being the only damsel amongst five men, I’m looking forward to the many photographic opportunities this trek through my beloved Sierra will provide. As an avid photographer, of course I want to be sure to maximize every one of those opportunities. Because of that, my biggest concern, other than sub-freezing temps at night, is ensuring that my camera maintains its power over the course of this 6-day adventure.
I had an experience a couple of years ago that I don’t care to repeat. I guess you could call it a “rookie” mistake. I had just bought my Sony Alpha NEX C-3 and had set out to climb Mt. Whitney. This would have been my second summit of the mountain had I chosen to go all the way. I made it to Trail Camp, which is about the halfway point to the summit, and took out my shiny new camera in anticipation of capturing the breathtaking sunrise.
I flipped the switch to turn the camera on, but nothing happened. For a split second, I thought it was broken, but it didn’t take long for me to realize the camera worked perfectly. The reason it didn’t turn on was because there was no battery in it. I left it charging in the hotel room in Lone Pine. I was so bummed about it that I didn’t summit Mt. Whitney that day. My experience was completely ruined.
Ever since that day, I have made sure that my camera has had the battery in it before I walk out the door. I also now have a spare battery, which has come in handy on a couple of occasions. For my backpacking trip, I am contemplating whether or not it will be necessary to buy a third battery.
I’ve decided that the best way to stretch out the use of my equipment is to use my Sony as the primary camera for photos and video, and my iPhone as a backup. And yes, the footage gathered on this adventure will be included in an episode of “Tales of the Trails.”
A few months ago, I purchased a Sony charger set from Costco. The package contains a Li-ion Polymer Battery and also a 2800mAh pocket charger. The Polymer battery can charge two devices at a time as it has two USB ports, and it provides up to 4 full charges of a smartphone. The pocket one provides one full smartphone charge and weighs almost nothing, so it’s perfect for backpacking. The other one is a little heavier, but I don’t foresee a problem in packing that one along as well.
I’ve noticed that my iPhone takes just as good video as my camera, so it would be very efficient to use as a backup. I’m sure that once I start putting it all together in post-production, you won’t be able to tell the difference between what was shot with the phone or the camera. We’ll just have to see. Creativity is an adventure in itself.
I’m looking forward to what sort of tales await on this new trail! 🙂