Adventure Photography ice climbing Ice Climbing Photography Photography tips

Theory vs the real world…

Jeff Mercier climbing Buddha Nature in Storm Creek, BC

Often watching a ‘How to video’ things appear to be easy. Typically, when I watch a ‘How to’ video, in the end, I don’t remember how to do whatever was being shown when I actually need to do it.

But, when I end up in a situation where I have to complete something first hand, I usually don’t forget how to do it again in the future.

Last fall while shooting a video of ice climbing, I ran into one problem after another.

I had bought a new Rode Mic to record audio for the shoot, and I didn’t know how to operate it.

It was cold and made operating the camera gear more challenging.

I had a fancy monopod with a video tripod head, but it was really windy, and I couldn’t hold the monopod still.

The wind was also affecting the audio that the mic was picking up.

I had to use the image stabilisation in my lens, but the stabilisation was working so hard you could hear it in the audio after.

It was one problem after another.

“Do you know how to work a Rode mic?” I asked Quentin

“Nope” was the answer and neither did Jeff.

I had watched a couple quick vids on Youtube on ‘how to shoot video with a Rode mic’, but it wasn’t quite the same as using it in the field.

I had watched the ‘How to’ video but hadn’t indeed retained anything.

Once we got home from shooting that day, I instantly started to figure out what had gone wrong in the field. The shoot was important to me, and I wanted to make sure that I got the video component right.

Armed with some experience from the field and the brainpower of Google, I figured out what the issues were and went about shooting another video that night in our house to make sure I had it sorted out before heading back out to shoot again.

So, did watching the ‘How to’ video on Youtube help me? Not really, certainly not as much as dealing with the problems on the climb and coming back to figure out how to fix them.

I always retain more by actually doing.

Working through something myself and gaining experience works way better for me than watching a video about making a video…

In the end, we went back the next day and re-shot a couple segments that I didn’t dial in the first time. Fortunately, Jeff was looking for a relatively easy rest-day activity the next day, and we were able to hike back up to the same location to shoot some more.

Creating these mini videos taught me a lot more about using my camera than a ‘how to’ video on YouTube ever could. The irony is not lost on me that we were actually creating ‘how to’ videos for ice climbing that were posted on YouTube…

Going out into the mountains and actually using my gear is way more beneficial to me than attempting to learn by watching someone else do something.

I’m going to be experimenting more with video in my own time going forward so that when someone asks in the future “Can you shoot video?”

I will confidently be able to say “Of course, no problem!”

Here’s the link to the ‘How to ice climb’ video on YouTube, I only have a very short segment in this one though. https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/video/How-to-ice-climb

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