Staying Sharp

Bet you thought this post was going to be about camera focusing, huh?

Nope!  This time I’m tackling the issue of staying mentally and physically sharp.  Namely, doing so by staying properly fed and hydrated while on an expedition.  I find that nothing ruins my ability to get great material faster than if I’m hungry or thirsty.  I can’t focus well mentally, I’m physically tired, and I get (I’m told) more than a little cranky.

Being aware of that fact, I always make sure to take enough food and drink with me when on a shoot away from home (or know where to get it on site).  This can be as simple as a few bottles of water and a quick snack for a brief shoot.

Simple Snack
Simple Snack

Or a fat sandwich, energy drink, and a protein bar for a day-long shoot (plus some instant coffee!).

Or in the extreme, major supplies for long-distance backpacking.

complex

And yes, this takes planning.  Napoleon was entirely on point in saying that an army (er, a photographer, anyhow) marches on their belly.  Plan ahead, taking into account how long you’ll be out, the type of environment, and the level of physical activity involved.  For example, if shooting in Death Valley, extra water is a must.  Or if shooting in the Oregon Dunes at the coast, extra food will be needed as moving up and down sand dunes is unholy-hard work, especially if lugging 40 lbs of gear.  Or if you’re hiking part of the Pacific Crest trail, you’ll need to think about lightweight calorically dense but still tasty food, plus a way to cook it.

If and when you can make all of this work, it’ll be a great boon to you.  It’ll remove what I feel is one of the biggest roadblocks to photographic success: a sharp, clear mind, and able body.

Happy shooting!

See more of my work at http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf  and http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan

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