Always enjoy a good hike. It's exciting to discover something new around the bend or over the next crest but walking is essential to discovering them at my own pace. I used to have a nifty little point-and-shoot camera for just such occasions (and every other occasion as well) that fit neatly in to my jeans or cargo trousers until I was "spotted" by my better half for my "photographic talents". Naturally, I enjoyed and entertained the thought that I'm awesome and people could be blinded by the sheer awesomeness of my photography.
Emboldened by empty self-confidence (isn't ignorance bliss? :)) I went shopping for my first gear imagining all the fantastical images that were soon going to be at my finger tips. Now if this is where you are expecting a confession of gut-wrenching, fist-clenching, teeth-gnashing disappointment at the first images, you are right. But what weighed me down even more was the sheer bulk and well..the weight of the equipment that I'd now have to lug around to realise my "potential". Obviously I went through a trial-and-error period, since money grows on trees, before settling down on the current equipment.
After having gone through a phase of hiking wishing "I didn't have to carry around this lump of a thing", the lump now accompanies me on every hike. I have made my peace with it and also found a way that works for me. On one such hike through the alpine region, I arrived at a popular photographic location around sunset as per plan. I made myself comfortable and settled down for the view but couldn't help feel "inadequate" in comparison to the other photographers who had brought along a lot more equipment. Polarisers, GND filters, tripods, fancy levelling devices and other things that my limited knowledge couldn't identify. One of them had, for the lack of a better way to say it, a "big-ass" lens which I think was one of those f/2.8 zooms with an 82mm filter thread. It was a beast and once all the filters had been setup, it was a monster.
You might have heard many stories of the moron behind the camera but have you heard the folksy tale of the one in front of it? There he was like a big blob in the frame this evening. Even a 10-stop ND-filter couldn't erase him from the picture because he just sat there unwaveringly. Why couldn't he move even a little bit?! He's ruining the perfect picture! If you guessed that this moron was I, you'd be right. Now depending on which side of the fence you have been on, you could either find this funny or find yourself fuming. But in fairness I was simply enjoying the view and having arrived there first, I informed the photographer, as he took up a perch behind me and setup his equipment, that I intended to stay put. He had nodded in understanding. In retrospect it appears that the photographer didn't understand a word of German. How was I to know that he wouldn't know? We were in German-speaking territory. Maybe his default setting was to nod in agreement to everything he didn't understand.
He could have of course taken the radical approach to, and I'm just putting it out there, move a metre to either side and re-compose his image. Noooooo! That would spoil it all. It had to be from that spot. I could hear he was unhappy with me the whole time as he couldn't stop mumbling and bickering to his girlfriend but still I stayed where I was. All he had to do was walk down to me and say please...nicely. So after about 10 minutes of this entertainment, he walked down to me, smiled in a very fake way, made some small-talk, said some nice words about my composition which he didn't really mean after which he proceeded to violate the holiest of decrees in photography...plagiarise my composition right in front of me. But he was out of my hair soon after I moved from my spot long enough to humour a single shot of his preferred composition. I was eager to get back to the view and put him where he belonged...behind me.
The eventful evening was sandwiched between the two images below that were shot 56 minutes apart. Yes, I was simply sitting in the same spot the entire time and watching the play of light and shadows. I had with me my trusty X-T1 with a standard-zoom. That's it. No other equipment. I have consciously been careful and not heavy-handed with the editing since with such striking landscapes it's quite easy to go overboard. Personally I like both images. The vote was split also within my family. It would be interesting to know if any of you have a preference one way or another :)