• Erin E. George

A Tale Of Travel Photography FOMO

One of the worries I always have when I am about to do any hiking, whether it be overnight backpacking or even a short hike is how the heck am I going to carry my photography gear, because in my mind…it’ll be the death of me if I don’t document the incredible moments I experience on a decent camera that I can control, not a little iPhone that doesn't do images justice.

Look I’m sorry! I can’t help it…

You know those chain gum wrappers and binders with notes stuck on it you have from high school that you keep forever and ever and ever…

Well me…it is a bag of photographs or now, unfortunately “files” of photographs, but that’s a story for later.

I can’t think of much else I have, I literally have no problem purging almost everything except for..my images. When something is in your blood it runs rampant and bleeds everywhere and there’s nothing you can do about it but embrace it.

Ok back to the hiking bit…

Last year, six of us crazy people decided to try out a 70 mile overnight back packing trip from the Sequoia National Park in California, to summit to the top of Mt. Whitney and shoot out the east side ending in Lone Pine, Cali.

I literally left clothes out of my pack to fit my Canon 6D and my 24-105mm lens…let me tell you..it is a HEAVY combo of camera body and glass. It was a severe mental struggle to only bring one lens and leave the rest behind…the FOMO WAS REAL!

I included the tiniest tripod known to man since I knew I wanted to do some astrophotography in zero light pollution land, a cleaning cloth to get off any dust on my lens and a whole lot of prayers that I was going to be satisfied with what I brought being stuck out on a mountain.

But something odd happened…I rarely took out my camera at all.

The most joyous time I had with it was when I watched a squirrel work storing nuts for an hour and the one star photo I did actually complete..but honestly it was all about the squirrel.

I don’t know if it was the altitude at over 11,000 feet that got to my head, the fact that my 35 pound pack was a sonnavabitch to take off and dig around in...

But you know what? I was okay with it.

For 8 days, the most random of random occurrences happened…bells sounded for three hours in the night that came from no where, my friend April surprised me by slugging me in my left buttcheek to try and help get rid of my sciatica (thanks April! HA.) and a creature that sounded like a Tyrannosaurus Rex sniffed around our tent while I lay there paralyzed clutching a teal glow-in-the dark knife.

Really? Was I going to give him a light show with that thing?! Lawd.

So, what was the lesson here? I learned my camera and my job as a photographer in the real world does not define me or my experiences and surely there is no need to panic on exactly what type of gear to bring, ever. Even your little phone really is enough.

Sure, I love to make people smile with my photography and see the joy that comes from an end product but isn’t that what life is all about…connection?

Challenging ourselves out there together with nothing but whatever we could fit on our back, was a reminder that I can live in the moment and be happy just experiencing my surroundings and moments like

calling my stepson Julian with my husband from the top of Mount Whitney, hearing his voice and seeing how happy it made his dad Nicholas…was really just enough.

Don’t ever get me wrong, I love having those images I can keep forever...but also, don't forget the things you create and do that makes you happy...and remember to enjoy the moment with the people that you love because you can’t fit that into a bag or store that forever as a file. <3

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