Next time you load up the car for an excursion outdoors, don't forget to take a camera. In addition to having great memories of your trip, you might need photographic proof of that bear eating all the cookies.
When deciding what camera to take, think of the conditions you'll encounter. Hauling that big single lens reflex camera with the heavy telephoto lens on a long backpacking trip isn't a good idea, and a disposable camera may not cut it while car camping.
Many hikers and campers enjoy the freedom of a small auto-focus zoom camera. It stows easily in a pocket or pouch and most give a fairly wide angle at 28mm or 35mm and zoom out 85mm to 105mm.
Water-resistant or waterproof single-use cameras are perfect for a rafting or kayaking trip. Some even come with wrist straps to keep the camera close while you're running the rapids. If you're out on a photo safari and wild animals are your prey, a long telephoto lens will bring them in. Although the cost is out of most weekend hunters' budgets, they can be rented for a reasonable price at many camera stores. You'll want at least a 300mm lens or a long zoom lens.
If your interests lie in flora and not fauna, use a macro lens to get crisp, sharp detail shots of flowers and plants. Regardless of the camera, keep in mind the following suggestions for better photos:
* Unless you are trying for a silhouette effect, don't shoot directly into the sun. Position the subject with the sun behind you, or at right angles.
* Light is much more dramatic in the early morning and late afternoon, making for better results.
* Despite being outside, don't forget the flash. Use fill flash on a sunny day to fill in under-eye shadows caused by harsh noontime sun.
* Most automatic cameras focus in the center of the viewfinder. If you don't want your subject in the center of the photo, partially depress the shutter button and then recompose with your subject off to one side.
Don't forget that camera--without a picture that tale about the 10-pound trout is just a fish story.