Friday, September 17, 2010
It’s Friday again! Yesssss! Unless you’re reading this on Monday. In which case. Umm. Booooooooo. This picture was taken on the Cascade Pass trail in North Cascades National Park. It’s on the western side of the pass, probably about a quarter of a mile from the crest. It was taken in late July, last year, if that’s useful information at all. Cascade Pass is one of the more popular trails in the park, although I get the feeling that it’s more people that are local to Washington State than the alternative. (That’s actually pure conjecture, I truly know nothing about the demographics of the people that visit the park – but my feeling is that it’s much less of a destination park than, for example, Yellowstone or Yosemite or the Grand Canyon.) But, regardless, there are a fair number of people that take this trail, and if you plan on staying overnight, it’s very important to get to the ranger station early to get a permit for the campground you want.
This picture was taken at an odd time in my epic comedy of misadventures relating to my preferred lens(es). I had somewhat recently decided that the Tamron 28-300 mm VC lens (VC = image stabilized) was crap. I had sent it in for warranty repair, since the autofocus was just plain wrong the majority of the time. I had gotten it back, but still wasn’t convinced that it was working any better. (And there was no clear indication that they had actually done anything to it.) So, I had decided instead to use my previous lens for this hiking trip, which was the *non-VC* version of the same lens. It’s also never been my favorite lens, but especially as I go back and look at pictures from both of them, it seems to perform significantly better than the other one. (Although, to be fair, I used them differently. Knowing your lens has image stabilization means you’re not afraid to try using slower shutter speeds, etc.) For some inexplicable reason, I decided to leave my ISO at 400 for the whole trip. As in, it wasn’t that my ISO was set at 400 and I just didn’t realize it. No, I made a conscious decision to leave it there. I can’t possibly fathom why I would have done such a thing, it really makes no sense. The fact that I did that frustrates me to this day. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. Anyway, getting off topic there… So, I took the regular 28-300mm with me on this hike, and it did okay. I’m less disgusted with the results than I was with the previous several sets of shots I got with the IS version, but I’m still not really happy with them. It was very soon after this that I made the call to go first with a super wide-angle (I decided on the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8), a different mid-range lens (the Tamron 28-75, which was/is a FANTASTIC lens – showing that there’s definitely no problem with Tamron as a brand, just with their attempt at a superzoom – and I suspect I would have had the same experience with ANY brand of superzoom), and for the telephoto end, I fell back on my trusty old Quantaray 70-300, which was dirt cheap, and was the first lens I bought to use with my first digital SLR.
Anyway, this hike is definitely worth doing, and I plan to make it back there, hopefully soon. Since this summer turned out to be a total wash weather wise, it didn’t end up happening. Perhaps I’ll make it out there this fall, but I’m pretty busy, so it’s definitely questionable. Anyway, the pass itself is totally suitable for a day trip. You can go further up, to Sahale Arm, which I gather is a fairly difficult hike. Still doable as a day hike if you’re in good shape and get an early start, but definitely a butt-burner. There are several campgrounds in the area though, so it lends itself naturally to an overnighter. (There’s one campground just a little ways past the pass that’s a great choice, there’s one up at Sahale Arm that’s always the first one to fill up, and then there’s another one further down the far side of the pass, which is where we ended up.) Despite the fact that I just closed my parentheses, I’m going to expand on that last one – the campground we stayed at. Turns out, it’s further down elevation-wise than the trailhead is. I didn’t realize that going in. Coming back the next day was tough, especially since we had gotten soaked by a surprise thunderstorm the previous day, and so everything was wet, including my shoes. Oh well, that’s all the complaining I’m going to do. It would have been nice to make it up to Sahale Arm, but I didn’t have any juice left in my tank (I can’t speak for the other guys there with me, but I was done). That’s on my to-do list for when I make it back.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300 mm lens. 1/200s, f/16.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 30mm.