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Life is richer when I have a lens to peer through. I have a decent, old school, DSLR camera and a lens that I love. However, the dang thing is bulky and weighs a ton. In addition to encumbering me, the camera draws attention to me when I would much prefer to surreptitiously fade into the background.

I know good images don’t require fancy equipment; they require patience, a good eye, creative problem solving, and a steady hand. I’ve seen fabulous examples of iPhonography. But my own iPhone results have been disappointing.

Backpacking stimulated serious soul searching. Sans Nikon, my pack weighed 28 pounds. With Nikon, the pack weighed 32.5 pounds. If you’ve never packed your house into to the back country, that may not seem like a big difference, but trust me, those pounds feel like the weight of the world after hitchhiking on your back for a few hours. So, out came the camera and in went my phone along with a solar charger that weighed a few ounces.

I spent the first two-thirds of the trip completely baffled by the weird exposures the iPhone chose. On the way back to the car, I finally had a break through. I’m determined to master this little piece of modern miracle.

The Big Jack's Creek Drainage served as our trail.

That scab on the hill in the distance would soon swallow us.The Big Jack’s Creek area of southern Idaho was designated as Wilderness in 2009. Many old jeep, ATV, and game trails crisscross the sagebrush, but there are no official hiking paths.

The dry Big Jack's River bed served as our ankle eating path.

Instead the dry river bed served as an ankle eating path.

The canyon walls hugged us graciously.

The canyon walls hugged us warmly, while I puzzled over my phone.

IMG_3519The size of the canyon walls makes this 6'4' hiker look like a midget.

The canyon walls makes this 6’4′ hiker look like a midget.


Rain drumming my tent during the night made me appreciate having lugged my house on my back.

IMG_3497 IMG_3491More views of this trip to come in a future post.