Scouting Techniques for National Parks

Lesson 10/13 - Food & Water


Scouting Techniques for National Parks


Lesson Info

Food & Water

(rushing water) Let's talk about food and water. You know, we're human beings. We need our sustenance. But, my priority when I'm on a park shoot, is the photography. If I'm here for a client or if I'm here for a personal projects, or if I'm here just for fun, photography is my priority. I'm here to shoot. I'm not here to go spend money, and spend time in the nice restaurants that are in the towns up the coast. So, I'm bringing food and I'm bring water with me. When I'm on a park trip, the first day, I generally stop at a grocery store. I pick up supplies. I'm looking for things that are easy to carry, but are gonna provide some nutrients. Beef jerky is great for protein. Trail mix is so easy to carry. You can get some dried fruit, or even grab an apple, something so easy to have in your bag. Just having this stuff available, so that when you're hungry you can eat. Because what I don't want to do is, I don't want to be in a beautiful place like this, in gorgeous light, and have to aba...

ndon it just because I got hungry. Even if you're going out for what you think is just a short amount of time, you might think "Oh, I'm only going to go shoot for two hours." It's still important to have some food with you. One, something might happen. What if you did slip and hurt yourself? You'd end up being out longer. You'd end up being stranded for a day or two. Maybe you think you're gonna be out for two hours, but you're having such a great time, you're doing some great work, and it's beautiful and you're out for four or six hours instead. This has happened to me. I remember being at a park in Florida, it was at a wildlife refuge. And I was going out for a quarter mile hike. Just out and back and instead I ended up doing a six mile loop. I was very happy to have some water with me, and some food with me for that. And of course, water's another important consideration. When you're out in the wilderness, it's probably the most important thing. It's even more important than having food. You can survive a long time without food if you were to get stuck in a situation. But water, you're gonna need. You can only survive a couple days without that. When I was a Boy Scout, what we used to do was have the canteens. But that was 30 years ago. That's kind of old school. I don't want something hanging around my neck, hanging off my shoulder with water leaking and stuff. What I like to use is a Camelbak reservoir. There's other brands that make a similar product. But it's essentially just a rubber pouch that holds the water and you can slip it into a fanny pack or into your backpack. I put mine right into the laptop slat of my Manfrotto backpack. And from there a hose comes out with a valve on it. And it's very easy, just anytime you want to have a drink of water, you just grab it and drink it, and drop it and forget about it. Nothing's in the way, nothing's getting wet, and you can stay hydrated for a long time. So pick up some supplies at the beginning of your trip. When you go out into the field, take more than you need. We're gonna be safe, we're gonna be healthy, and we're gonna do some great work.

Class Description

National Parks offer vast landscapes, dynamic vistas and views that are worthy of hanging on gallery walls. Capturing those scenic areas in a photo that represents what you experience in person takes planning and preparation. Knowing what opportunities you have in each park at what time of year is a great start to capturing incredible images. In this class you’ll learn:

  • National Park rules and regulations- when to get a permit and how to obtain one
  • Scouting tips for night shooting, how to scout and prep your shoot before sunset
  • Safety tips for yourself and your gear when shooting in remote locations at night
Chris Nicholson’s passion for the National Parks and photography led him to write the book Photographing National Parks. His experience in all 59 US National Parks will help any beginner or professional photographer optimize their experience and photographs in either marshlands or desert landscapes. 



This class was a tremendous help. It is definitely a "tool kit" class and not a "how to" class. With that said, it is worth every penny just for the amazing scouting tips, safety tips, and national park app suggestion. I downloaded one of the recommended apps from this class for a trip I'm taking next month and was thrilled with the information. There are definitely a lot of great tools discussed in this class.

Gaily Cowart

This class was incredible because I wouldn't have gottent this info anywhere else. It's basically a lesson in common and not-so-common sense while shooting at night. No, you're not going to get a whole lot of techniques for working your camera, but you will get strategies for making sure you're actually able to shoot once you're ready. With night photography, there are many unknows that can ruin your chances of getting good shots. Without this class, I never would have thought about how to make the most of daylight hours to plan and prepare a night shoot. And, I wouldn't have known much about how to be as safe and prepared while shooting in the wilderness. I found this course to be very interesting and helpful in the grand scheme of understanding how to get the best from your efforts while shooting at night-time in a park, or secluded area.