The whirlwind of organizing gear and packing is over. The two-week cluster of stress bombs is fading. I can now wonder, “Am I really going to survive this?”
When I told Glen I would join the trip in November I had no real idea how complicated preparing for a trip like this would be. Sure, I have done my share of backpacking, hiking, camping, and back-country adventuring. The thing is, I have never done it while also shooting a documentary.
Like I usually do, I dove right into this project with abandon. I like to figure things out as I go along. I thought I would share some thoughts and little nuggets of wisdom I picked up during the last few weeks:
– Local stores always beat the big box. Forget about the mega-sales. Christen and I had great service at Second Ascent, a mountaineering shop in my neighborhood. They love the idea of the Karma Project and the film. With every piece of necessary gear, our sales person, Trent, first tried the used items and then closeout items before going to the latest and greatest expensive item. Then, when something was not on sale, he gave us a discount anyway. Contrast that with an unnamed big-box office supply store. I purchased 12 hard drives to take on the trek for all the footage. When I asked if they price matched, they said they would only do it for one of them. What a deal!
– Camera gear is HEAVY! It is one thing to carry your new Digital Rebel with you on your hike in a state park. It is a whole different thing to have multiple lenses, camera bodies, solar panels, batteries (10), hard drives (HEAVY), chargers, adapters, tripod, monopod, steadicam…. This is on top of having to pack normal trekking gear like an ice axe, lots of clothes, boots, etc. One thing is for sure. I will lose weight on this trip.
– Friends and family are like nothing else. Through the last two weeks, Jenn, my wife, has dropped everything to help me reach the finish (or should I say starting) line. I could not have done this trip or film without her invaluable help. In fact, every time I have needed a little helping hand, she has been there for me. Jenn has been an amazing partner throughout this very stressful time. Not only is she completely supportive of me taking the physical risks on, she has given me the courage and confidence to know I can complete the trek and tell a meaningful story. It has not been easy. We have had a few battles when the stress met a boiling point. Jenn is a natural planner; I fly by the seat of my procrastinating pants. Through it all, Jenn has had the patience and wisdom to guide me through what is a complete redefinition of my self, and for that I will always be grateful for her.
My friends have been absolutely amazing, as well! From those who are offering encouraging messages, calls, or texts, to those who have contributed to the film with either their effort or money, I have been overwhelmed by the help I have received. Thank you to all of my friends and family!
Pictures are my thing, so I thought I would show you what (almost all) of the photography and filming equipment I will be schlepping from 9800 ft to 21,000 ft looks like. For reference, all of the items are laid out on my futon, which was folded out into a full-sized bed at the time.
Christen and I will be catching our connecting flight from Vancouver to Asia very soon. While we will very likely be on ‘radio silence’ for the next three weeks, we have your wishes and words with us to help us along the way. Stay tuned. It is all starting! Footage and photos will start to appear on http://www.karmadocumentary.com soon!
If you would like to donate to the film project, you can do that here:
You can also send a check payable to Luke Mislinski Photography at
14821 SE 181st Street
Renton, WA 98058