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Reflecting on Hikers and Photographers

Reflecting on the hikers I encountered during my trip to the Appalachian Trail, I couldn’t help but notice their unique personalities. I classified them into four categories: the Want-To-Be, the Slack Packer, the Day Hiker, and the Doer. Interestingly, I noticed that photographers share similar traits. It got me thinking that maybe we all have distinct characteristics that define us. This realization prompted me to compare my observations of hikers’ and photographers’ personalities. You can do the same and see how it resonates with your personality or someone you know.


The Want-To-Be hiker starts on the trail filled with excitement. After a few days, the Want-To-Be discovers it’s not easy. The pack is super heavy, the trail goes straight up, rocks and tree roots are everywhere, and the rain and cold are too much for them. The initial enthusiasm dies, and they toss their hiking shoes into the tree and quit.

The Want-To-Be photographer takes photos with their smartphone or camera. Perhaps some friends will encourage them to sign up for an introductory photography course. After one or two classes, they find out it’s not easy and quit.

There is nothing wrong with being a Want-To-Be something. I know I have tried to do something and found out that it is not for me. It’s okay to move on to find the right trail for yourself.


The slack packer finds a way to accomplish the journey by finding easier ways. It allows them to be able to say they’ve done it. The slack packer hires a service to drop him off on the trail and then pick him up at the end of the day. A slack packer carries a light pack with provisions needed for the day’s hike. The gear he does not need he sends ahead significantly lightning his or her load.

The photographer equivalent is always trying the latest gadget or searching for a quick fix rather than putting in the effort to learn and understand the craft.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to find a simpler way to get things done, it can be a positive thing. However, the real question is about your moral principles. If it improves your abilities or expertise, then it’s worth pursuing. Have you truly put in the effort and achieved something worthy of pride?


As a day hiker myself, I love experiencing the trail. While many dream of completing a thru-hike, not everyone can commit the necessary time, fitness, or resources. Although it’s like creating a highlight reel, the experience and depth are not fully captured. Day hikers appreciate the trail but are unable to commit to the entire journey.

The photographer hobbyist is like this. It is a part-time gig. They learn some skills and are good at them. They enjoy their craft and perhaps if time and resources were available would do more with it.


The doer walks the talk. They wholeheartedly pursue their goals and overcome obstacles along the way. They hike the entire 2200-mile trail with dedication and enthusiasm. Even after completing the trail, they continue to return and explore the parts they missed or find new trails to hike. Their passion for hiking is infectious, and they want to share their experience with others. They offer encouragement and guidance to help navigate any obstacles they encounter on the trail.

The pro photographer is someone who takes action. They put in hard work every day and are always seeking to improve their skills. They actively collaborate with others and assist them in enhancing their photography abilities. Often, they specialize in a specific type of photography and are highly committed to it. They continuously refine their techniques and seek ways to capture more impactful and compelling photographs. Photography becomes an integral part of who they are.

You may identify with various personalities, but the important thing is to discover the one that motivates you to take action. Choose something that resonates with you and commit yourself to it wholeheartedly.

Until the next click,