Hiking With The Right Stuff

August 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment


Today's blog is only partially about my continued experiments with cameras, lenses, and post-production. The main part is the story of the hike itself. So, let's just title this "Rebecca's Way," and I'll stick in a few thoughts about the camera I was hiking with as we go along.

Jan, her daughter Megan, Rebecca, and I met up this morning at Hoosier Pass for a hike.  The pass is located south of Breckenridge CO, and is on the Continental Divide. That means you could literally pour a glass of water on one side of the pass and it would eventually end up in the Pacific Ocean while pouring a glass of water on the other side would end up in the Atlantic. It's located in a gap between Mount Lincoln (14,295 ft) and Hoosier Ridge (13, 352), and it is in a valley below three of Colorado's 14-ners  (Quandry Peak, Mt. Cameron, and Mt. Bross). In short, it is stunning to hike surrounded by these giants, with 360-views of the Mosquito Range at the summit.

The entire area is scattered with remnants of the mid-1870's mining.

The hike we had planned for today is roughly 1,000 ft gain, up to 12,255 at the summit.

There are several ways to do this hike: (a) the easy way of well marked dirt paths, or, (b) the hard way, which is to say, when Rebecca volunteers to be guide.

"Oh, I did this just last week with Karen, and I've got it all figured out."

We go up, we go right, we go up, we go left. Uh oh, we've gone too far up to get over to the high pass trail. I'll bet we can bushwhack our way over there. Maybe not, there's some pretty thick willows and then a pretty wide stream. Maybe we should go down a little further. Think rocks, ledges, crevices with water seeping, willow bushes, and then the finale being a steep boulder field to the summit.

At the top -- "Oh, look over there – now I see how we should have gone," says Rebecca as we gasp for breath at the summit.

The good news is – we did it, and we still love Rebecca. In truth, the hike was all the more exciting because of the unexpected adventure of not really being lost, just a little unsure of how to get from where we were to where we wanted to be. And the views – oh my, that certainly was the ultimate prize, enhanced, photographically speaking, by the building up of storm clouds and even some thunderheads way off in the distance.

So, now, we get to the camera part. I brought along my new Canon Rebel SL1 which, as an ultra light weight, is the perfect choice for hiking. I also have a Canon 60mm prime lens I wanted to try out.  I usually shoot close in subjects, so I was not thinking wide angel or zoom.  I had planned on experimenting with hiking without a tripod/monopod for this kind of steep assent, trying out different settings for speed, depth of field, etc. For these awesome vistas, I had exactly the wrong lens. I should have brought the 18-270 zoom.

Lesson #1: Either bring several lenses (defeats the purpose limiting the weight you're carrying by buying an ultra light) or bring the zoom, knowing it will work for almost any shot.  It might not do macro as well, but it can still do macro, whereas, as you will see, my 60mm prime can do vistas – but with a lot of noise (grain). I could pretend I intended the grainy look as a way to add "texture" to the shots but, in truth, I want tack-sharp.

Lesson #2: Make sure your backpack is large enough to stick your camera in for the obvious,  when it starts to drizzle, but equally important for when you are unexpectedly presented with boulder hopping, ledge dropping, stream jumping and don't want to have a camera dangling anywhere.

The good news is I had a polarizer filter with me, so I could take advantage of the incredible cloud formations.

These shots also benefited from the graduated filter tool in Lightroom 5. If you've never used that, or you're not quite sure how/when/why you'd use that, give me a shout out and I'll do a separate blog/tutorial.

Here are a few of the shots from this hike. I posted an entire new collection with my favorite shots from this hike, having already apologized for the grainy outcomes. click here for the entire gallery : http://betteannphotography.zenfolio.com/p672997628 or go to HOME, COLLECTIONS, HOOSIER PASS.


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