Alpine Photography – Mark O’Rafferty


I got into photography back in the late 1970’s to record where I had been walking, either in the Peak District, Lake District, Wales or Scotland in the winter.

The first camera I bought was a compact Olympus 35RC which was a 35mm film camera.  I travelled to the Jessops warehouse in Leicester on my motor bike on a very wet and windy day for my 21st birthday to buy it.

Since then I have always used compact cameras when out in the hills/mountains whether walking or skiing as they are small and light, and can be kept in a pocket.

Having a camera in a handy place is great for capturing shots that other people miss due to the camera being in their rucksacks – i.e. seize the moment.

Some of the best shots I’ve captured were taken on a Canon PowerShot A710 IS.  This is only a 8Mp camera, but if I didn’t have it at all, then I wouldn’t have captured the shots I did on the classic ski mountaineering route “The Haute Route” back in 2009.

I currently use a Canon G7X Mk II which is the same physical size as the A710 IS but takes 20Mp photos.  It has a 24-100mm lens, but with 20Mp shots you can crop these which can give a zoomed in shot of around 150mm.

Lens Filter Adapter for Compact Camera

On my current compact camera, I have a stick-on filter adapter which allows me to attach a 52mm UV or polarizer filter.  The UV filter is more for protecting the lens and stop dusts getting into the camera via the lens when it it’s in my pocket, ready for those shots you don’t want to miss.  I have also bought a separate “Quick-Change Filter Holder” which allows me to attach a polarizer filter.  With the kit you get one “Quick-Change Filter Holder”, but buy one for each filter that you may wish to use (especially when you’re walking as you want to quickly change them and not be faffing around).

The Canon G7X has a 3-stop ND filter built in, and when combined with a polarizer filter gives you a 5 stop filter.  This is very useful if you want to take long exposures of either waterfalls or cloudscapes over large areas of water (plus having the polarizer on can eliminate reflections).

For further information on the filter adapters see  The company is based in the USA, so if you know of anyone else who wants an adapter for their compact camera, team up and save on the postage and packaging.  Note that the filter adapter for the Canon G7X also fits on the Canon G16, but this camera is not shown on the site.  I have both cameras, so if you wish to see the adapters let me know and I’ll bring them along to a club meeting.

Mini Tripod for Winter Walking

In the winter when it is wet and snowing, I attach my camera to a Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod.  This allows me to store the camera in my chest map pocket which is raised up so water doesn’t affect it if in a side pocket (side pockets are not waterproof).  Also it’s at a convenient height for grabbing the camera and taking those quick snap shots even when on a chair lift.  There are other mini tripods available, but this one suits my requirements.

Camera Phones – Controversial Statement

Camera phones are seen by some people as a tool to take quick snapshots to be viewed on social media or on the phone itself.  To be honest I take snapshots with my compact cameras when in the hills, but having an eye for a shot helps a lot.

They way cameras are developing on phones, in the next 10 years there will be huge advancements which could mean that the compact camera market will shrink considerably.  OK the iPhone X is not cheap at £1,000, but when the first Nikon DSLR was made 10 years ago, this was an 8Mp camera and also cost £1,000.  In the past 10 years DSLR cameras have changed so much technologically, so I can see cameras on phones developing at the same pace.

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