10 Must Have Photos To Capture On Your Next Wilderness Trip

Under the canoe carrying it solo on a portage

If you find yourself heading out into the wilderness on a road trip and have any intention of documenting it, you probably brought along a camera. Over the years, I have gotten back and said to myself, shoot, I can’t believe we didn’t get a picture of that. Well, with an attempt at saving you that feeling, here’s a list of shots you will want to have on your camera once you have returned from your journey. 

The storm approached before heading out.
Setting up before heading out with a storm approaching.

 #1 The Trailhead Shot

The group of you, or solo, get a shot next to the trailhead, the water’s edge, or the van if the situation calls for it. Your viewers will appreciate all the clean, smiling faces. This shot will set the stage for the days ahead and gives a reference point for your story.

Trailhead shot
A caffeine stoked selfie before hitting the Superior Hiking Trail

#2 The Camp Set Up Shots

It is always good to have a shot of camp. It makes it easier to explain what it looked like. Action shots of people setting up tents, carrying canoes, and hoisting the bear bag are all good stuff. I’ve been known to do short video tours.  

Camping
Camping on Lake Superior

#3 The Kitchen Set Up

Everyone has an opinion about how to set up the camp kitchen. Showcase your style. Close-ups of your techniques or methods give a visual story.

Trail Kitchen Fish Fry
Trail Kitchen Fish Fry

#4 Show Off Your Food!

Whether you are looking for bragging rights or trying not to hurl. Take a snapshot of the food, it’s worth the story later for better or worse. 

Pizza cooking over the fire in the BWCA
Pizza cooking over the fire in the BWCA

#5 Take a Peek Inside the Tent

Is it organized or a mess? Is it crammed with stuff or minimalist? It’ll be fun to look back at what you had going on. I’ve looked back at mine and thought, holy crud I wasn’t even using a sleeping pad!

Insite the tent during a thunderstorm
Insite the tent during a thunderstorm

#6 On The Trail

You have to have a few shots on the go! Canoeing or hiking! Or heck if you’re in the car!? This is where the journey is. Candid or staged, make it happen.  

Under the canoe carrying it solo on a portage
Under the canoe carrying it solo on a portage

#7 The moment when…

There seems to always be “that one time” when it happens, take a photo to commemorate it. I love looking through pictures and having that oh yea that happened! moment.

stuck in the mud
Stuck in the mud

#8 The Map

I can’t count how many times when someone is looking at pictures and asks, “where was that?” and I have no idea. I started adding this to a stock of daily photos so I can dial in where they are.

Marking the map on the trail with stones
Marking the map on the trail with stones

#9 Landscape and Vistas

This one’s no brainer, sunrise or sunset, If you have a view take a second to pull out the camera. 

Landscape Shot
Sunset on the lake

#10 The End Trailhead Shot

At the end of everything get a shot next to your gear all scuzzy and whatnot. Have everyone stand 6 feet from so-n-so because they smell so bad. 

End of the trip photo
End of the trip photo

ProTip – Whatever you are taking a picture of, it’s great to have people in it. When you get that picture of dinner, have it of someone taking a big bite. That landscape picture is better with a couple of friends in it. You will remember the time with the people just as much as with the land, if not more. Hopefully, you found this helpful. Happy Trails! 

Conclusion

Taking the time to briefly stage and take these key pictures on your next wilderness adventure will help tell the story to your other friends and family that didn’t get to go. Post one of your favorite trail shots in the comments section below.

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