Effort sometimes required to gain access to the grand view. Why photographers who shoot landscapes and street photos should make physical fitness part of the picture taking practice.


this is a stairway in Iceland. It leads up and up and up to a wonderful vantage point
from which a proficient landscape photographer could take a very interesting photograph. 
The general location is already at an altitude a good bit higher than sea level. And there is 
no lift, elevator, escalator, tram or private car access to the shooting platform at the top.
You have to hike up the stairs. And when you get to the top you'll need to have your 
pulse rate recover quickly to it's baseline in order to handhold your camera 
as effectively as you can. With minimal shake. Rather use a tripod? You'll have to carry that up
the stairs as well. 

How do you practice this at home? Walk a lot. Carry a backpack filled with weighty gear and go up and down hills to prepare yourself for journeys and adventures. Always take the stairs when it's an option.
The fewer pounds over your ideal body weight that you have to carry around makes the climb easier.
Whether your body is 40 pounds overweight or you've shoved 40 pounds of gear in a 
back path both scenarios make your climb that much harder. 

Here in the USA we make age an easy excuse for not being in shape.
"Oh....I'm 65 years old. Falling apart. If there's no bus to the top I can't
make it."  But our counterparts in other countries, from my observation, 
don't use the same tired excuses. They expect to move; and in doing 
so get more out of every trip. It's something to think about.

So much dissatisfaction with getting older could be short circuited by 
making moving and exercising as routine as eating, showering and 
sleeping. We'd collectively feel so much better.  But it's always a choice.

My biggest complaint about people over 50?
Most of them are too easy on themselves. Too pampered. A little daily 
discipline would make so many lives so much better....


Anonymous said...

Thanks for staying the course. It's dispiriting to see blogs which used to be mostly about photography become clearing houses for the gripes and self-pity of aging. When did photography become so geriatric? As you say, it is a choice.


Anonymous said...

Kirk, congratulations, I think you've discovered something important which is not taught in schools: By rejecting the typical Monday-to-Friday 8 AM - 5 PM routine, you've freed up a lot of daylight hours for your wanderings. And you've located yourself in an area where there's a reason to go wandering on foot in the first place.

Jeff in Colorado

Chuck Albertson said...

The Times had a piece in yesterday's paper about a Nepali woman who's been to the summit of Everest a record ten times. She trains for her climbs by re-stacking the produce bins at a Whole Foods store in suburban Connecticut. (I'm not making this up.)


MikeR said...

Your trip didn't go this far, but further North and West there's a really otherworldly area of volcanic activity. Near the volcanic lake of Myvatn is a cinder cone volcano, Hverfjall. It's not super high, at roughly 1,300 feet, but there are no steps. There is a marked trail starting from the parking area. In 2016, just about 7 months after a total knee replacement, I hiked up that trail. I can credit good physical therapy rehab after the TKR for that, as just 8 months prior I wouldn't have made it.
As you said, for landscape photography, you've got to be fit.

Dogman said...

Just an observation you might think about in the future.

You fail to take into consideration that a lot of us old farts have developed medical conditions over our pampered lives that prevent some of the activities you encourage. Can't speak for others but, at age 75, I've put a lot of miles on my body and most of those miles have congregated to my spine from my neck to my ass. Degenerative arthritis is not pleasant. Nor is a herniated disc that is not operable due to the loss of structure in the surrounding discs. Include the cherry on the cake--spinal stenosis. My sorry old pampered ass is lucky if I can walk to the corner and back without collapsing and reaching for the Tramadol.

I used to walk for exercise as well as walking for pleasure and photography. I miss getting out and shooting but I still hobble around in the neighborhood with my cameras. And I shoot from the car a lot. I am not able to climb stairs, ladders or mountains. Not complaining, just saying. All of us old fart photographers aren't lucky enough to be in great shape anymore. It's a fact of life for more than you know.

Kirk, Photographer/Writer said...


Anonymous said...

The best decision I've made is to never have a desk job. Fitness has never been a problem.

JimR 'Longviewer' said...

In 1974 my folks pooped out on a steep trail in the other Glacier NP (Canada's) while I continued up. When I came down they were chugging uphill again after an older European couple passed them during their rest break. I was proud of their bonus efforts. They only recently left us, dad at 95 and mom just short of 99. No complaints re. my genetics, now to get busy on maintenance!