Camera hiker

Becoming one with technology on the trails

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt,

Most of the time these days, when people out on the trails say: “wow, that is beautiful” it mean, I need to take a picture of that… and upload it.  A new type of hiker don’t even need to reach out for their camera… they have it mounted on their head, chest or backpack… and the camera is programmed to take from one to hundreds of new photos every minute…  of the trail, views, impressions or whatever come up along the trail


When these hikers come home they have a complete documentation of the hike, if it is a day hike or a few months long distance hike doesn’t matter. Trails like the Appalachian trail has been documented this way many times. So many that nobody is counting anymore, as more as more and more people are hiking with constantly picture taking cameras on their heads everywhere.

Afterward the whole experience can be re-tracked virtually, and all the special moments, views and places can be uploaded to the web and social media sites, so the hiking experience can be seen from anywhere on the globe either as stills or as a movie of connected images.

Google backpack camera 

Google are into the game as well, with special cameras where Google maps – street-view has become trail view.

Hiker with a robot on the back instead of a backpack
virtual hike research hiker

Hiking trails in places like Grand Canyon has already been 360 degrees documented with Google hired hikers, each carrying advanced equipment on their backs, with mounted cameras (15 of them)  pointing in all directions.  Check it out here Google street view trekker 

Hiking as a camera

What might this mean for the hiking experience?  And can a snapshot every few seconds capture the feel of the hike? Or will it merely distract the hiker from connecting to anything different than the social media reality most has left behind when they started out on the hike?

When wearing a camera you will most likely be interested in getting great images of the hike and focused on what you will be able to see on the screens back home, as the result for your efforts. Breaks will need to be taken somewhere, not only spectacular, but also with the right angle to the sunlight, not to blind the lens, batteries have to be checked regularly and all the equipment have to be warn so not to get in the way of the filming in windy conditions…  And more…

Hiking as a camera, with others

Whoever are with you will be likely to find themselves on the web in all kinds of situations, and whoever you meet or who cross the trail ahead of you. Not everybody fancy being recognized on the web, because they happen to meet a hiker with a head mounted camera.  And I can think of more hikers than not, who would hate to be hiking along a hiker constantly filming them on the trail.

Shutting off digital reality while hiking

At the other end of the spectra hikers a shutting off all their phones, tablets etc. when hiking, just to get a break, to enjoy silence, nature, the wind and feeling the sun. It is like hiking is heading in both directions at the moment… 360 full panorama digital documentation, becoming one with technology… or a break from exactly that.

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