Ask Steve why he never takes a camera hiking and he’ll mention the boxes & boxes of slides from backpacking trips of days gone by that he never looks at anymore.

Then there’s Dan, who could equip a polar expedition on what he’s shelled out for high-end camera bodies, lenses, tripods & such.

I’m in the middle — I don’t want to carry the weight, spend the money or endure the aggravation of a bigger, better camera. My digital point-and-shoot brings home OK pictures most weekends; the quality depends mostly on the scenery.

A few conclusions based on a few years of hiking, taking pictures and posting them online:

  • Image stabilization technology is the best thing to happen to cameras since the flashbulb. If you’re looking for a light point-and-shoot for hiking & backpacking, pay extra to get it (I’m thinking it’ll be pretty much standard on all digital cameras in a couple years.)
  • Cameras that use double-A batteries are far more flexible — you can buy a recharger and a bunch of cheap rechargeable batteries and always have some power ready. GPS units often also use double-A batteries, so you get multiple uses.
  • Pictures you plan to air publicly should be cropped for best effect.
  • If you’re planning to post a bunch of pictures, leave out redundant images, even if they’re from different locales.
  • Master all your current camera’s functions before you buy another one with even more functions.
  • Backlighting is evil. You can get some cool silhouette effects, but otherwise, make sure the sun’s over your shoulder.

Well, these are the first that spring to mind … feel free to add suggestions.