082: CLICK 2.0: The Photography Technique Episode

Show Notes: Episode 082

Today on the First 40 Miles, CLICK 2.0, The Photography Technique Episode. If you’ve ever wondered how to capture starlight or soften a bubbling brook, we’ll have some beginner outdoor photography tips that will help you crack the code. Then on the SUMMIT Gear Review, if a full sized tripod and some tent poles got married, we have a pretty good idea of what their kids would look like. On the Backpack Hack of the Week, Josh geeks out and shares an open source software plug in that will turn you into the next Ansel Adams. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little philosophy.


  • Why do we take pictures?
  • What are we trying to capture?
  • What do you look for?
  • My eyes, my filter
  • Physically and metaphorically
  • Part of the collective narrative

Top 5 Photography Technique Questions/Tips

What’s a beginner’s mistake I can avoid?

  • Getting too much into the photo
  • “What’s really important is to simplify. The work of most photographers would be improved immensely if they could do one thing: get rid of the extraneous. If you strive for simplicity, you are more likely to reach the viewer. ” -William Albert Allard
  • Getting too close to the buffalo
  • Trouble with flash

How do you get water to look soft?

  • Use manual shutter speed
  • 1/2 second exposure
  • Use tripod

How do you get stars at night?

  • Use manual shutter speed
  • 30 second exposure time
  • Use tripod
  • Wide aperture

Where does the magic happen? The camera or the computer? Can I compensate for poor photography skills (or a smartphone camera) by using photo editing software?

  • There are some things you can and some you can’t
  • Recompose photo by cropping
  • Can’t fix blurry (stability is important)

How do I get my pictures to look like what I saw? Why don’t my pictures look like Ansel Adams?

  • Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter. —Ansel Adams
  • Prime conditions (not harsh lighting, diffused lighting)
  • What are your favorite photog conditions (lighting, mood, scene)
  • Developing film (dodge and burn) tone mapping (sensor)
  • Blue water, detail, (Everything in focus, but sometimes you don’t want everything in focus) (One thing focus with everything else blurred or not in focus) (Aperature) (Cameras can’t accurately render a scene like our eyes can) dynamic range

SUMMIT Gear Review: ZipShot Mini Tripod


  • Strong aluminum legs—which are similar to tent poles (shock cord inside)
  • Grippy feet for stability
  • Durable plastic wingnut for attaching camera
  • Shock cords keep tripod together


  • Not adjustable height
  • Wing nut-type tightener at the top
  • Camera can be tilted front to back 180 degrees, but side to side maybe only about 15 degrees
  • Ultra light, easy to carry and sets up faster than any other tripod we’ve ever used (really, just shake and it’s assembled)
  • Just release the two red shock cords and the legs of the ZipShot® Mini spring open in seconds. Attach your camera and you’re ready to shoot!


  • Weighs 9 ounces
  • 9 inches long when collapsed
  • 2 inches in diameter when collapsed
  • Stands 28″ (71cm)


  • Keep it clean…it has the same technology as tent poles


  • $ 49.95


  • Great for cameras that weigh 2.5 lbs or less
  • Very stable
  • Easy and quick to put up
  • Excellent backpacking tripod

Backpack Hack of the Week™: GIMP Plug in for tone mapping

Trail Wisdom

“A photograph shouldn’t be just a picture, it should be a philosophy.”
-Amit Kalantri