Trending February 2024 # How To Find Out The Equivalent Registry Values For Group Policy Settings # Suggested March 2024 # Top 2 Popular

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Most of the time, whenever you make a change to a group policy object, Windows actually creates and/or modifies registry values. If you ever want to find out what registry settings are being changed in the background when you modify a policy object, you can do so pretty easily. Let’s learn how.

Note: for this article it’s assumed you already know what Windows Registry is and its different components like keys, values, value types, value data, etc.

1. Use Group Policy Search Website

Microsoft has a dedicated website to search and find information about group policy objects. This website not only gives a variety of details about each and every available group policy object but also shows what registry changes are made when you modify a policy object.

1. First, head over to the group policy search website, and use the search bar to find the policy you want to modify.

2. For instance, I want to modify the biometric usage policy. I searched and selected that policy. As soon as you select the policy, you will see a bunch of information about that particular object on the right panel.

3. Under the Details section, you will see the registry key that is being modified right next to the “Registry Key” heading. The registry value name is specified right next to the “Value” heading. For the value data, you will find it at the bottom of the “Explanation” section.

4. When you put all three together, you get a full picture of what registry keys and values are being modified. In my case a dword or qword value called “Enabled” is created under the “HKLMSOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftBiometrics” key, and its value is set to “1” if the policy object is enabled and “0” if the policy object is disabled.

It’s as simple as that.

2. Use Process Monitor to Find Registry Changes

Sometimes you won’t find the registry details or the target policy object in the group policy search website. In those cases you can use the SysInternals Process Monitor to get the job done. This tiny software will monitor and show the changes made to the registry.

2. By default, the process monitor will show all processes. Since we only need to monitor group policy, we need to filter out everything else. To do that, select the “Filter” option from the “Filter” menu.

7. Don’t make any changes to the policy yet. If you look at the Process Monitor, you will see that it has already tracked a huge list of events related to the Group Policy. Since we are only interested in the registry change made by a policy modification, this is nothing but noise. Clear the list by going to “Edit” and then selecting the “Clear Display” option.

10. You will be instantly taken to the modified registry value within the Windows Registry.

It is that simple to see which registry settings or values are changed when you modify a group policy object.

Vamsi Krishna

Vamsi is a tech and WordPress geek who enjoys writing how-to guides and messing with his computer and software in general. When not writing for MTE, he writes for he shares tips, tricks, and lifehacks on his own blog Stugon.

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Free Registry Defragmenter To Defrag Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is a database, located in the system32 folder, that stores all system configurations and settings.  Over a period of time, you do end up installing and uninstalling several software on your computer. many times, you tweak or change system settings, and change them back – all this can result in broken registry keys, orphaned keys, and invalid entries in the Registry. Moreover, when you remove such invalid registry entries using a Registry Cleaner, empty spaces are left behind in the Registry and its hives.

Free Registry Defragmenter

Registry Defragmenters help in removing such bloated registry hive & empty spaces and compacting the registry. We have already seen whether Registry defragmentation is useful or not. If you do decide to use a Registry Defragmenter to defrag Windows Registry, here are a few free ones that you may want to check out.

1] Auslogics Registry Defrag

The registry is very much like hard disk drives. Whenever you start working on your computer, programs access the registry very often. Due to the addition and deletion of entries, the registry may develop invalid entries and get bloated and fragmented over time. To an extent,  a fragmented registry could reduce computer performance. Auslogics Registry Defrag can defragment and compact the Windows registry in less than a minute. The program will scan the registry, remove slack spaces and also reduce the size of the registry. The program also offers to delete your junk files. It appears to be the only freeware that offers a nice UI and shows you the fragmentation of the registry. It also automatically creates a system restore point first before starting the operation, which is a good thing in my opinion.

I have used this registry defragmentation freeware, on occasion and found it to be pretty safe.

While installing this freeware, do remember to uncheck the options to make Ask your default search provider and chúng tôi your home page.

2] Free Registry Defrag

Free Registry Defrag will help in compacting and optimizing your registry by removing gaps and wasted space, in order to improve the system performance. I have used this registry defragger too on occasions and found it to be safe.

3] Registrar Registry Manager Lite

Registrar Registry Manager Lite is a free tool for system administrators and power users who need to work with the Windows Registry frequently. This tool offers a complete and safe solution for working with and maintaining the registry on your own desktop as well as remote computers on your network. It also includes a registry defragger, along with many other tools to manage the registry.

4] Registry Compressor

Like other programs, Registry Compressor too does not remove or add anything to the registry. This program rebuilds the registry to new files, as a result of which all extra space is gone and the registry is smaller.

5] WinUtilities Registry Defrag

WinUtilities Registry Defrag will check how fragmented your registry is. Before the analysis starts, you will be informed to close all other applications.  You should do so because any changes made to the registry after Registry Defrag has been run are lost after the reboot. It is available on CNET.

6] Eusing Free Registry Defrag

Eusing Free Registry Defrag can defragment and compact the Windows Registry.. It will scan through the registry to remove any slack space, reducing the registry size and ultimately the amount of RAM the registry takes up, Eusing Free Registry Defrag is a free registry defragmentation software that optimizes registry by removing gaps, fragments and wasted space in Windows registry files.

7] NTREGOPT

NTREGOPT is a registry optimization software which was popular during the Windows XP days. It will only work correctly if you turn off User Account Control and run it with proper administrative privileges.

8] PageDefrag

PageDefrag has not been updated since 2006 and therefore may not work on newer versions of Windows.

Apart from the above-mentioned registry defragmenters, many software like Registry Recycler Portable – as also some free Windows Optimizers include a Registry Defragmentation software as a part of their suite.

Do let us know if you use Registry Defragmenters or would like to recommend any particular one.

How To Configure The Best Hdr Settings On Windows Pc For Gaming?

HDR, or high dynamic range, enhances the visual quality of images and videos by expanding the range of colors, brightness levels, and contrast.

Also, HDR technology improves gaming experiences by enhancing visibility and providing a competitive edge.

HDR and gaming go hand in hand by providing gamers with more immersive, realistic, and visually stunning experiences.

Whether you are a seasoned gamer or have just stepped into the world of gaming, then you need to go through this article to ensure optimal HDR performance on your Windows PC.

Here, we will reveal the tips, tricks, and secrets behind configuring the best HDR settings for your Windows PC.

We have shown a VIDEO walk through at the end of the post for easy solution. 

By meeting these display requirements, you can enjoy HDR videos in Windows 11 by immersing yourself in stunning visuals.

Here are the key display requirements for HDR video playback in Windows 11:

The HDR-capable display device, like an HDR-enabled monitor or an HDR TV, is essential and should be connected to your Windows 11 PC.

The monitor should at least offer 400 or 600 nits but the more, the better.

The display should support HDR10 or Dolby Vision Standards, commonly used for HDR formats.

If having an HDR-capable display is not enough for HDR gaming, then your GPU should be capable of producing HDR images.

A GPU capable of HDR means an Nvidia GTX 950 or AMD’s Radeon R9 380.

These are the bare minimum requirements and higher-end cards that can handle better output settings.

Your Windows 11 should use an HDMI 2.0a or higher cable or a Display Port 1.4 or higher.

Also, a DisplayPort of 1.4 or higher is required to support the bandwidth to transmit HDR content.

Note: Remember to enable HDR in your display settings and ensure that your display, cables, graphics drivers, and HDR content are compatible to achieve the best HDR video experience.

If you can’t configure the HDR settings on your Windows PC, then a few steps can resolve the issue.

If your system meets all the hardware and software requirements, but you still encounter difficulties, then you need to seek help or further assistance from the manufacturers.

So, if you are running into trouble, then here are a few things worth trying:

Try Another HDMI Cable

Update Your TV’s Firmware

Try Plugging Into Another Port

Update Your Drivers

Check Your TV’s Settings

Compared to a standard dynamic range SDR display, you can connect an HDR10-capable monitor or TV to a Windows computer with HDR and WCG (Wide Color Gamut) support.

This will allow you to enjoy a brighter, more detailed, and more vivid picture.

But users can face some common issues with the HDR feature on their Windows 11 devices.

Here is a list of some common issues:

Colors appear oversaturated when you turn on the night light.

Colors don’t appear correctly on the built-in HDR-capable display of a laptop

The display isn’t showing HDR

The Use HDR toggle button is greyed out.

To configure the best HDR settings for gaming on your Windows PC, follow the steps mentioned below.

By following these steps and fine-tuning your HDR settings, you can unlock the full potential of HDR gaming on your Windows PC. You will immerse yourself in a visually stunning and captivating gaming experience.

Also, enabling the HDR (high dynamic range) on your Windows PC is known to significantly improve your gaming experience as it brings life to your games with richer colors and improved contrast which ultimately elevates the overall gaming experience.

This is how it can be done in Windows 11:

Now select the two options:

“Allow HDR games, videos, and apps on battery.”

“Allow streaming HDR video on battery.”

Display Calibration is important in configuring the best HDR settings for gaming on a Windows PC.

It optimizes the HDR experience on your Windows PC for gaming and ultimately enhances the overall visual of the HDR content you enjoy on your Windows PC.

Follow these steps to calibrate the display for HDR content on your Windows PC:

Then, select your HDR-capable display, followed by HDR.

Move the slider to your left or right to calibrate your display.

Exit the full-screen mode after doing this.

Now, Windows will apply changes to your display automatically.

Even though changing the Power settings isn’t a direct way to configure the HDR settings, it can significantly improve the gaming experience.

It ensures that your device can handle the HDR content more efficiently.

Optimizing the Power settings can help maximize the battery life and performance, leaving the users to enjoy HDR gaming for longer periods even when they are away from a power source.

This is what you need to do:

Open Settings from the Start menu.

From the left pane, select System, and from the right select Display.

Select the display from the “Select a display to view or change its settings” section.

Under the “Battery options” section, select “Optimize for image quality.”

 Finally, play or restart the video.

You can activate the HDR mode on your gaming device by enabling the HDR toggle button.

Enable the HDR toggle button will allow your device to display the content in High Dynamic Range, enhancing the visual quality of supported games.

Here is how you can enable the HDR toggle button on your device:

Then, select the “Battery options” and select these two options:

    “Allow HDR games, videos, and apps on battery.”

    “Allow streaming HDR video on battery.”

If the night light is enabled at full, it will alter the color accuracy of the HDR content.

Decreasing the strength of the Night Light will ensure that the HDR colors are displayed more accurately.

But the impact of the night light feature on HDR gaming will vary depending on the specific implementation and settings of your device.

This is how the strength of the night light can be decreased:

What Is Recommended Brightness Setting For HDR Gaming On Windows?

The ideal brightness setting varies depending on personal preference and the capabilities of your display.

Can I Adjust HDR Color Settings On Windows?

Basic HDR color settings, like color space selection, are usually managed by Windows automatically.

It is best to adjust the color settings within the game or application settings for finer adjustments.

Should I Enable HDR In Windows If My Display Is Not HDR Capable?

It is generally not recommended to enable HDR in Windows if your display is not HDR capable.

Can I Use HDR On Multiple Monitors In A Multi-Display Setup On Windows?

Yes, Windows supports HDR on multiple monitors in a multi-display setup.

Let us know if the above methods helped you configure the best HDR settings for gaming on Windows.

For any further queries, ask us in the reply section.

How To Find Out Which Apps Have Access To Your Location In Android

While installing apps, it is common to encounter apps that seek permission to access your location. Often you give permission without really thinking it through because you need some app installed on your Android. For certain apps, like Google Maps, it is perfectly fine for them to have location permissions. However, there are many apps that have totally no reason to have knowledge of your location, such as a caculator app.

In this article we will show you how you can find out which apps in your Android phone have location access permission and how you can disable their location permission.

How to check apps with location permission

Note that these steps work perfectly on Android versions 6.0 to 8.0.0. They will also be similar on other versions of Android.

To check the apps with location permission, follow these few steps:

1. Go to Settings on your Android phone.

In front of each app will be a switch that is either on or off. For apps with access to your location, the switch will be on (blue) and off (grey) for apps without access to your location.

5. Scroll down the list and either turn on or off access to your location.

Using Apps

While this feels like a fairly straightforward process, there are a few third-party apps that could help with controlling location permission on your android devices. One of these apps is App Ops. You must note that this app will require you to root your device first. If you do not have a rooted device, then your best bet will be to go through your Android settings as explained above.

Wrap-up

There are a lot of permissions that apps may require during installation. The permissions you grant will depend on you and usually should be governed by how much you can trust the app. As a rule, you may want to take time to study which permissions the app is requesting during installation rather than confirming without being 100% sure of what you are agreeing to.

For apps with location permission and any kind of permission request, make sure you can reasonably connect the permission it is seeking to a feature it performs. That way you will be sure you are granting access for only the features that are essential to the apps’ optimal performance.

Afam Onyimadu

Afam is a writer with a passion for technology amongst many other fields. Aside from putting pen to paper, he is a passionate soccer lover, a dog breeder and enjoys playing the guitar and piano.

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The Best Camera Settings For Hiking Photography

The Best Camera Settings For Hiking

The Best Camera Settings For Hiking Photography Are:

Mode: Manual Mode (M)

Shutter Speed: 1/80 – 1/200

Aperture: F/8 – F/11

ISO: 100-400

Focus: Auto (AF)

Focus Type: Continuous/Servo

White Balance: AWB

Drive Mode: Single Shot

With these base settings, you have a good starting ground to capture a balanced exposure. However, even the most perfect camera settings won’t guarantee a perfect photo. There’s a lot more that goes into capturing great hiking photos, and I’m going to share exactly how to do that in this post.

How To Pick The Best Camera Settings While Hiking

Yes, there is a lot more that goes into a great hiking photo than camera settings, but; they are still important. After all, without the right settings, your photo might look too bright, too dark, out of focus, or whatever else. Let’s discuss what you need to think about when choosing your camera settings to start things off.

Choosing Your Exposure Settings

At the most basic level, you can’t capture a good hiking photo if you’re camera settings are all messed up. To help you better understand the value of the three pillars of exposure (shutter speed, aperture, and ISO), let’s talk about the reasoning behind the above setting recommendations.

– Shutter Speed

The shutter not only controls how much light can land on your sensor, but it’s also in charge of how movement is captured. Since hiking is all about movement and getting to cool places, you must be using the right shutter speed. If you don’t, you run the risk of getting unwanted motion blur that could ruin your photo!

If you want to photograph your friend walking down the trail, you’ll want to opt for a faster shutter speed. That way, every part of their body will be tack sharp. Something like a shutter speed of 1/200 is more than enough to capture the movement of walking or running on the trails.

On the other hand, you may want to get that epic hero shot on the edge of the peak you just conquered. Since your subject will be standing still, you can get away with a slower shutter speed like 1/80 and still get a sharp photo.

Remembering why you use certain shutter speeds will help you to better assess which one best suits your situation. To put it simply, if there’s going to be movement, increase the shutter speed. If you’re shooting someone standing still, then you can afford a slower shutter speed.

You can learn more about shutter speed and how it affects your photos in this post.

– Aperture

Aperture is in charge of limiting how much light can enter through your lens while also controlling the depth of field. In non-photography terms, that means it controls how much can be in focus at once.

The aperture is a donut-shaped hole inside your lens that opens and closes depending on the F-stop/aperture setting. With a smaller aperture, there is less light that can enter your camera, but more of your scene will be in focus. The opposite is true with a wide aperture that’s most commonly used in portrait photography to blur backgrounds.

With hiking photography, you not only want to draw focus to your subject but also where they are. You don’t want so much blur that it makes the background indistinguishable. You want to choose a smaller aperture to maintain a larger depth of field. Something between the ranges of F/8 and F/11 is perfect for this.

By giving yourself a bit of wiggle room with your aperture settings, you’ll have an easier time to adjust to changing lighting conditions. Rather than always using one aperture for every hiking photo, you can open or close it to help out your exposure. At the end of the day, you won’t notice a huge difference between F/8 and F/11 unless you’re on a telephoto lens.

You can learn about the importance of aperture in photography with this guide.

– ISO

Finally comes ISO. This camera setting controls how sensitive your sensor is to incoming light—the more sensitive the sensor, the brighter your photo. The downside, however, is that with a higher ISO, there’s more grain in your photo. As a general rule of thumb, you want to strive to keep the grain (also known as noise) to a minimum.

Noticeable grain in a photo taken with a high ISO

To ensure your hiking photos don’t look too grainy, try to keep your ISO as low as possible. In brighter conditions, opt for ISO100, which will have the least amount of noise possible. If you’re in the forest or the sun isn’t shining, you can bump up to a higher setting, such as ISO400, to help brighten your exposure.

Picking The Right Camera Mode

Now, if you’re new to photography, learning how to choose camera settings can be difficult. Once you do learn, having manual control offers endless benefits and creative control. However, there are other camera modes that will get the job done while hiking. Take shutter priority mode, for example.

– Shutter Priority (Tv or S)

Shutter priority (Tv or S) is a camera mode that gives you manual control of the shutter speed while the camera automatically chooses your other settings. Since hiking photography is all about capturing movement, controlling the shutter speed is a must. Otherwise, you run the risk of having too much motion blur in your subjects, especially in low light.

Since you only need to think about the shutter speed in this mode, it’s a lot easier to focus on getting the shot. Rather than feeling overwhelmed with manual settings, you can pick exactly what shutter speed you need for a photo. The rest is taken care of by your camera.

When you want to take quick candid shots of people, using a semi-automatic camera mode like this is extremely helpful. Once again, with less to think about, you can get more well-exposed images will less effort.

– Manual Mode (M)

At this point, you might be wondering why in the world you’d ever want to shoot in manual mode. I mean, shutter priority sounds pretty awesome, right? Although awesome, it does have some drawbacks that only manual mode can solve.

With manual mode, you can better translate your creative intent behind a photo. You can control your depth of field, how motion is captured, plus limit the amount of grain in your photos. With semi-automatic modes, you don’t always know what you’re going to get. By using manual mode, you can be more intentional with the look of your images.

For example, your camera isn’t going to know whether you’re shooting a portrait, landscape, or night time image while using shutter priority. Each of these shots will require your camera settings to be a little different than the other. With manual mode, you can tell your camera exactly what you need to get the shot you want.

Especially as a beginner in photography, manual mode is downright intimidating. However, the entire process can be made easy by better understanding the exposure triangle. You can also find a fast and concise way of mastering manual mode in my photography ebook, Goodbye Automatic.

Consider Your Focal Length (Lens Size)

Why would anyone bring a heavy camera hiking when you have a tiny phone camera that works perfectly fine? Are photographers some kind of hiking masochists? Even though hiking with a camera can be challenging, having the option of different focal lengths is what makes it all worthwhile. However, it’s important you choose the right lens while hiking.

In most cases, you want to pack as light as possible. That means you’re going to have to leave some lenses behind. If you’ve been shooting for a while, you likely have a main lens that you use for everything. For me, that’s the Canon 24-70mm F/2.8. With this middle of the line zoom range, I’m able to get wide-angle shots, with the ability to zoom in when needed.

Focal length also affects how much distortion and lens compression are seen in your photo. While hiking, both of these factors play a huge role in the appearance of your images.

Lens distortion typically happens with wide-angle lenses. As the light passes through the glass elements of the lens, it gets bent and distorted, particularly around the edges. The result can end up bending straight lines in your frame, such as trees. This effect can look cool in some situations, but it doesn’t always create a “professional” looking photo.

On the other hand, lens compression is the change in the perceived distance between your subject and the background. As you zoom in, the background will appear closer and closer to your subject. This is perfect when you want to make the views from the top of your hike look truly epic. Just by zooming in, you can make all your surroundings appear larger than life. Just look at the difference between a photo from my phone versus one shot on my camera at 70mm. Although taken from the same position, the result is drastically different.

Taken on iPhone, no color editing. Taken from the same position as previous, on Canon EOS R with 24-70mm F/2.8 @ 70mm. Edited using Photoshop.

As an all-around lens to bring hiking, make sure you are using a wide-angle zoom lens. These will offer the most versatility and help to capture any photo you envision while on the trail! You can see a list of all my favorite lenses here on my recommended gear page!

The Best Focus Mode For Hiking

You don’t want to spend lengthy amounts of time setting up a shot while hiking. Especially when the lights fading and you’re still a ways from your destination, it’s go-time. This isn’t a reason not to take photos, but it’s a reason to think smarter about how you take them. Particularly, what focus mode you’re using.

– Autofocus Or Manual Focus?

On any camera, you have the option between manual (MF) or auto (AF) focus. Manual focus requires you to manually move the focus ring to set your focus. On the other hand, autofocus lets your camera find the focus based on the position of your autofocus point. No matter how fast you think you are at getting focus, I’m willing to bet that autofocus will do a better job 9 times out of 10.

While hiking, using autofocus is a no-brainer. You can quickly snap a series of photos without having to think about whether or not your image is focused. Just set your autofocus point and start pressing capture. Unless you’re shooting in dark conditions where autofocus won’t work, there’s almost no reason to use manual focus on the trail.

– Single Shot Or Continuous Focus?

On the vast majority of DSLR and mirrorless cameras are two focus modes called single shot and continuous (or Servo). With single shot, your camera will autofocus once, right after you hit the capture button. With continuous / servo, your focus will continue to adjust as you, or your subject, move.

While using autofocus, continuous focus is a must while hiking. Odds are you’ll photograph someone walking at one point or another. With continuous focus, you can track them as they change positions in your frame. That way, they’ll always stay sharp!

On Nikon and Sony cameras, continuous focus is known as AF-C. On Canon cameras, it’s known as AI Servo AF. By going into your autofocus settings, you’ll see one of these focus modes, depending on the brand of your camera.

Choosing White Balance For Hiking Photography

The final thing to consider when picking your camera settings for hiking photography is the white balance. The white balance controls how “warm” or “cool” your photo looks. In most cases, using Auto White Balance (AWB) is all you need while hiking. Since there isn’t a significant change in light color (like going from outdoors to indoors), AWB will maintain a consistent look across all your photos.

With that said, this can change when shooting at golden hour. During sunset or sunrise, the colors are much more vibrant and warm. By changing your white balance setting to something warmer, you can further accentuate these colors. If you ever are hiking during golden hour, try choosing a manual white balance between 5800K and 6300K, and you’ll completely transform your photo in-camera!

How To Take Better Hiking Photos 1. Choose The Right Moments To Take Photos

With your camera settings sorted out, it’s time to start snapping some photos. As great as it can be to “always be ready” when you’re hiking for hours on end, that can get exhausting. Instead, you can learn to better predict when and where the best photo op will be.

For example, if you’re walking through the forest, a lot of the trail will look the same. Since you know things might get a little boring for a while, it’s safe to pack away your camera. During these long and monotonous moments on the trail, there really isn’t anything that interesting to photograph. It’s just how it goes. With that said, there are some key moments to look out for.

Moments where the terrain becomes steeper, or there’s a unique feature like a river bed or view of the valley. One of those places that are unique to the hike and often catches people’s attention. For those in your group, these spots are where people may stop to fill up their waters, smile in conversation, or just try to rest their legs. These all pose perfect photo opportunities to capture while hiking.

Rather than keeping your camera out at all times, keep your eyes open. Think about any areas that look notable on the trail (rivers, breaks in trees, etc.) or where your group might stop. These are the spots that you’ll likely find the best candid moments of your group. These are also the most fun to look back on.

“Hey, remember how tired you were on this hike? You looked bagged in this photo!”

Rather than dealing with the annoyance of your camera around your neck for the whole hike, try to be selective. When you only take out your camera at key moments, you’ll only be capturing the kinds of images you want to look back on.

2. Wear Bright Colors

One of the easiest ways to take better hiking photos is by making your subject stand out. Luckily there’s no easier way to do that than getting your friend to wear a bright color! Clothing or bags that are bright blue, red, yellow, or orange tend to look the best in hiking photos. However, if your friend’s gear color doesn’t perfectly match what you imagined, you can always change the color with Photoshop!

Bright colors help to separate your subject from a busy or dark background. Rather than having to hunt through the photo to find the person, their bright clothing will make them stand out immediately. Just place them along a lake or further down the trail, and you’ve instantly made your photo more interesting.

3. Wait For Golden Hour

Whether it be sunrise or sunset, golden hour is the absolute best time to take hiking pictures. With a more flattering light, golden colors, and often fewer people, it’s the perfect time to take photos.

Golden hour is the hour before sunrise and sunset. It’s when the sky becomes rich with colors, and the sun will sit relatively low in the sky. This poses the perfect opportunity to capture lens flares or cast a golden glow on your subject.

As amazing as this time of day is, it’s made even better since many trails are totally empty during this time. Since it requires you to be hiking in the dark at some point, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. However, the beautiful views and flawless light makes any early morning or late finish totally worthwhile.

Keep in mind that not all places will be empty during golden hour, especially easily accessible ones. If the hike requires more than 2 hours and holds some decent elevation gain, it’s a safe bet you’ll be mostly alone for golden hour.

Now, if you’re like me and love your sleep, you can always consider spending the night on the trail instead of walking back. This way, you get more bang for your buck with a sunrise and sunset in the same trip. Best of all, you can brew your morning coffee and start taking great pictures without even leaving your sleeping bag.

Before you do this, make sure that camping is allowed in that specific area and be aware of any permits required!

4. Capture The Journey, Not Just The Destination

When most people take hiking pictures, they get so caught up in the destination that they miss the great photos along the way. Don’t let this be you. Even if there aren’t the best views, look to those you’re hiking with and see what kinds of candid portraits you could capture. Moments along the trail of people actually hiking are great images that will really capture the experience of the hike. Especially on longer multi-day hikes, these types of photos are fun to look back on.

Look for places where you can see the trail stretching out endlessly in front of you. Capture your friends doing goofy things or looking exhausted after a big climb. Shoot photos in your sleeping bags or while setting up camp for the night. There are so many amazing photos you can take that don’t involve the final view at all. In fact, most of my favorite hiking photos have been of the experience rather than the view.

In short, keep a keen eye for memorable moments to capture along the way. These will often be the most compelling photos you take on your hike!

5. Don’t Be Afraid To Put In Some Extra Effort For The Shot

After a long slog up into the mountains, it’s easy to get lazy with your photos. You don’t reposition to a better angle, and you don’t have the energy to hike to a new vantage point or whatever else. The reality is, if you want the best hiking photos you can get, you’re going to need to put in some extra effort.

Often times, people will get to the final viewpoint and stop there. They snap their photos and head back down the trail. Instead, take a look around and see what other places could offer interesting photos. More often than not, you’ll see another point you could get to that might offer an even better view. By putting in this little bit of extra effort, you can get shots that nobody else even thought about.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here and hike to a completely different mountain for a better shot. Instead, you can find unique features along a ridgeline or places you can hike to get a better view. As long as you can get there safely, use the promise of epic photos to motivate you to hike just a little further.

6. Use Scale To Your Advantage

One of the best rules of composition you can use in hiking photography is scale. Scale is a technique you can use that juxtaposes two objects in a frame to create a sense of size within your scene. In layman’s terms, this means making people look really small in your hiking photos. Fortunately, when you’re in the mountains, this isn’t hard to do.

By getting further away from your subject, you can easily capture the size difference between them and their environment. By placing them somewhere along the trail or near a specific point of interest, they’ll be easy to spot in your photo.

The reason scale is so useful in hiking photography is because it makes the area look larger than life. With an environment that looks too big to believe, people are more likely to stop at your photo and think, “wow, I want to go there.” As long as it gives people a deep desire to get outside and explore, it’s safe to say you’ve taken an amazing hiking photo.

7. Remove Distractions From Your Frame

Although this rule stands for any kind of photography, make it clear what your photo is about. Remove all the distractions in your photo and focus on your subject. At first, the word “distractions” might seem a little obscure, but there is an easy way to identify them.

A distraction in a hiking photo could be something like a crowd of people, thick tree branches, or a busy background. These are all things that would catch your attention and take away the subject of your photo. To ensure your photos are distraction-free, try to keep them as simple as possible.

Don’t try to include everything and only focus on one area of your scene at a time. Place your subject against negative space to make them easily visible. Use a longer focal length to crop in to what your photo is about. These are all easy techniques you can use to keep your hiking photos simple and distraction-free.

8. Get Out And Explore!

Hiking photography is a numbers game. The more hikes you go on, the more likely your chances are to capture an epic photo. Plan out a few hikes you’ve been itching to do and challenge yourself to try something harder than normal. With more elevation gain comes better views and even better photos. Putting in the extra effort to find challenging places that other people don’t usually go offers a sweet sense of satisfaction. Better yet, it guarantees photos that nobody else will have.

Above all else, if you want to take a good hiking photo, just have fun outside. Take pictures of you and your friend’s loving life and working hard in the outdoors. These photos are fun to look at as a viewer and are even better to look back on for yourself.

Happy Shooting,

Brendan 🙂

How To Make Your Equity Policy A Reality

In the past two years, school districts across the country have been moved to write equity policies or pass resolutions to publicly commit to being a more equitable district. Unfortunately, for some districts, the work stopped there. Now, many community members inside and outside of the district are likely to see the approval as nothing more than a symbolic gesture. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

As an equity officer, I’ve partnered with districts and organizations at many stages of readiness to make their policies a reality. However, no matter where a district is in their quest to become an equitable organization, some key components are necessary in the process.

Have a Common Language and Shared Beliefs

My first step of working with district leaders is to make sure that there’s a common definition of equity they all use and that everyone believes all students can be successful in their school system—especially those who have been minoritized. This coming together is launched by a training where leaders are asked to unpack their own journeys to racial consciousness.

During a training I facilitated in Tennessee, district leaders walked through the cycle of socialization created by Bobbie Harro in order to see the impact of socialization on them growing up and how it manifested in their current leadership roles. This exercise led us into a conversation about what they may consciously and unconsciously be doing that gets in the way of students’ success.

This may look like making quick budget, personnel, and/or transportation decisions without talking to those who are impacted the most by the decision. It could also include not speaking up when you know a new policy or program will be detrimental to a particular group of students. Leaders essentially make decisions on an hourly basis that have a direct impact on students. Focusing inward is fundamental to helping leaders articulate what they actually want the experience of their district to be and motivates them to take on individual and collective responsibility in making it happen. The conversation around shared beliefs doesn’t end with training.

Between and after trainings, I spend a lot of time talking with individual district leaders as they balance their own personal journeys to racial consciousness with being public spokespersons and decision makers in equity work. I often support them in drafting a set of questions that they can use in conversations as well as for personal reflection, such as, “What impact will this decision have on those who are the most minoritized?” or “Whose perspective do we need to hear from before making this decision?” or “How can I ensure equity of voice in every meeting?”

Leverage Acquired Data

I’ve led several districts through a community-centered equity audit that provides districts with actionable data. These audits aren’t just quantitative but also include discussion groups and voices from a variety of stakeholders. With a district in Florida, we leveraged an equity group of over 50 people that included students, community organizations, teachers, and families to lead the audit.

This group grappled with how we’d manage getting input across a very diverse district and ensure that those voices were the ones that weren’t always being asked for feedback. This meant offering focus groups and surveys in multiple languages and having facilitators that were known and respected by the community to ensure honest responses. These facilitators were teachers, principals, parent coordinators, or community liaisons whose role was to connect the school to the community. Once the surveys and focus groups were analyzed along with artifacts, a clear story was being told about the district that couldn’t be ignored.

The story that materialized in the audit wasn’t just about student achievement gaps or lack of access. The compelling story highlighted a systemic issue. The story showed a lack of access for students of color, which was the same as lack of teachers of color, which was the same as lack of access for paraprofessionals of color. These systemic sentiments were shared by a variety of stakeholders across the district. The feedback catapulted the district to create a plan that leveraged the shared data and positioned equity as a top priority. 

Craft an Action Plan for Accountability

After data is gathered from an audit, an action planning process can commence. My push to districts is to ensure that they put into place short-term actions that can be easily measured and monitored. When I worked with an education agency in Iowa, small groups brainstormed a variety of next steps based on their data and then narrowed their focus down to one or two high-leverage action steps.

One of those next steps was to create an equity officer position and office. However, before they could do that, they needed clarity and agreement on what the person in the position would be asked to do and how the role would be set up for success (in terms of funding and access to resources). I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure that the plan is created in collaboration with a cross-section of roles, including community members, teachers, and students.

Each school district and organization will bring its own unique set of challenges—especially if they’re in a community (and/or state) that has been pushing against any work labeled “equity.” However, successful leaders stay focused on the need to serve all students and ensure that they’re academically, emotionally, and socially successful. Once the focus is there, challenges can be seen as opportunities, and the next steps can fall into place.

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