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Backpacker Magazine – June 2008

Field School: Essential Tips

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures.

by: Evelyn Spence, Jason Stevenson, Kris Wagner

Photograph/Record | Make a Movie | Essential Tips | High Tech Gear

1. Mark your route
Drop a waypoint where you leave the trail and at any critical navigational points along the way.

2. Team up
When routefinding gets tricky, consult your map, compass, and GPS.

3. Keep shooting
The best storylines occur off the beaten path. Capture bushwhacks, steep climbs, and cursing partners with your cameras.

In Camp
1. Juice up

Lash solar panels (we like Brunton's SolarRolls, $220) to the sunny side of your tent to power up batteries.

2. Watch the weather
Your GPS's altimeter doubles as a barometer. Rising pressure decreases altitude (good weather); falling pressure increases it (storm ahead).

3. Save the tracklog
Back up the day's track to your GPS unit's onboard memory.

1. Anticipate shots

Run ahead so you can get footage of people walking toward you.

2. Improve reception
Keep your GPS in a cell phone pocket on your pack's shoulder strap.

3. Photograph key waypoints
If the clocks on your camera and GPS match, it makes geotagging –and recalling trip details–a snap.

4. Shoot your friends
Nature pics are great, but use people to add scale and context.

1. Mark the summit

You tagged it. Don't forget to waypoint it.

2. Shoot the sky
If it's bluebird, include at least two-thirds mountains, one-third air. Neat clouds? Do the opposite.

3. Get unscripted audio
Film your buddies when they're elated, spent, even scared.

4. Cut wind noise
Get footage of the bluster, then stick a Band-Aid on your mic to reduce static during interviews.

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