Scouting Techniques for National Parks

Lesson 9/13 - Foot Wear


Scouting Techniques for National Parks


Lesson Info

Foot Wear

To some, this might sound like a trivial topic, but I promise you that footwear is an important consideration. There's even been a few times in the past few years that people have come up to me at a conference and said, "I read your book, and thank you for writing "the part about the footwear, "because it made a huge difference for me." Being out in a place like this, anywhere in the wilderness, you don't wanna be wearing flip-flops. You don't wanna be wearing sandals. You don't wanna be wearing sneakers. Even sneakers aren't gonna provide the kind of traction and stability that will really help from a safety perspective. You wanna get a good pair of trail shoes. Invest in this. Get something that's designed for walking out here. You get a nice, wide sole. A nice, wide base on the shoe makes it difficult to roll your ankle if you were to step on a root or just take a bad step somewhere. Waterproof is a consideration. I personally own two pairs of shoes, two pairs of trail shoes, one th...

at's waterproof and one that's not. Why? Well, the one that doesn't have the waterproofing, they're a little airier, so they can be a little more comfortable in warm weather. But the waterproof shoes are critical for working in a spot like this. One step into the ocean here or one step into a stream and it kind of, you know, it can ruin your whole day when your feet get wet. Another thing is traction. Good trail shoes will have a nice, aggressive tread. So when you're walking around, you wanna be comfortable that you're not gonna slip, especially if you've got 30 pounds of cameras on your back, you know, that might have cost you $14,000. You don't wanna fall. You don't wanna fall and hurt an ankle. You don't wanna fall and break your arm. You don't wanna fall and break a lens. So pay attention to the shoes. Another thing to think about is the socks. You know, wearing cotton socks probably isn't the best idea, just sport socks. Now, the common wisdom is to wear Merino wool socks, which are very comfortable. They're not scratchy like, you know, the wool that we think of from 20 years ago. If they get wet, they'll dry quickly. In a damp environment, they tend to stay dry longer. So again, it's just keeping you comfortable. Let's hope it never happens, but if you found yourself in a survival situation where you were stuck out in the woods, wet feet would be one of your biggest enemies, because it's gonna bring your body temperature down. So just like we wanna keep our cameras stable on a tripod, we wanna keep ourselves stable, too. Support is important, so think about the shoes you're wearing and invest in something that's really gonna make this a safe and pleasant experience.

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.