Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Man, when I fail, I fail hard. Remember back in the day when I was all talkin’ up a big game about how I was going to put up a post every (week) day of the week? And remember how I was all high on myself when I made it all the way up to Wednesday and was shooting 3 for 3? Yeah, well, not only did I miss Thursday and Friday, I failed to put up any posts **for the entire next week**. Eesh, that’s the last time I try to hold myself to any kind of goal.
So, anyway, we’re back, at least for today. To celebrate, here’s a shot taken near Cascade Pass in North Cascades National Park. No, this wasn’t taken this weekend. Life got in the way this weekend, and I didn’t make it out anywhere to take any pictures, which is the same story for the rest of this year. At some point in the past, I posted another shot that looks really similar to this one, but no, it’s not the same picture, and in fact it wasn’t even taken the same day. I took one of them on the way up and over the pass, and I took the other the next day, as we went up and over the pass again on the way home. And no, I don’t remember offhand which one this was. Not really important, I don’t think. I wasn’t trying to take the same picture twice either, it just so happened that both times I was standing there, I noticed that it was a nice setup for a shot. And, it just so happened that the light was pretty similar on both days, so the resulting images came out pretty similar. Kind of an interesting experiment, really. Shows that, at least within a 24 hour period, my photographic instincts are pretty consistent, that given the same inputs, I’ll probably produce the same results. I’d be curious to see if the same held true over a longer period, like a month, 6 months, a year, whatever. But, we’ll never know. So don’t hold your breath. Probably a safe bet to not hold your breath about when the next post will appear here either, we’ll see.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300mm lens. 1/250s, f/14.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 35mm.
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.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Coming up with the opening for a Picture of the Day post is always the hardest part. Today, I decided to not try very hard. Tomorrow, I’m going to just start in the middle of a sentence. And you’re going to love it.
This was taken near Cascade Pass in North Cascades National Park. I hiked it last summer with a couple buddies, but for various reasons I completely screwed up my camera equipment strategy, so it’s on my list to go back to this summer, and do it right damnit. We’ll see if that actually ends up happening. There’s only a few weekends here in the PNW that are actually hikable (and the snow doesn’t even melt from the higher trails until mid-July), before you know it the summer’s over and done. Plus, with a young kid, weekends just tend to.. disappear. So, the odds are not in my favor. But the intention is totally there.
Anyway, this was about 200 or 300 yards before the summit of the pass proper. The views on the trail aren’t bad, obviously. You should check it out. But not the same day I do. I don’t want you to take my parking spot.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300mm lens. 1/200s, f/14.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 28mm.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
This is pretty similar to another picture I posted awhile back, but trust me, it’s not quite the same picture. It’s taken with different exposure settings, and it’s framed a little differently. This is how I roll. I can usually do a pretty good job of tossing out all the really crappy shots, but when it gets down to a few shots that are all technically decent enough, I have a really hard time picking the one that’s my favorite and sticking with it. It always comes down to liking one part of the first picture that’s not in the second, and one part of the second one that’s not in the first. And then it becomes like trying to pick which of your children is your favorite (and which one should be tossed out). Not an easy call. So I generally avoid the decision by just tossing them all online and moving on with my life. That’s what happened here.
This is the Stehekin Valley in North Cascades National Park. This was several miles past Cascade Pass on the (duh) Cascade Pass trail. We hiked in over the pass, then stayed for the night at a campground that was … well, just about where I was standing when I took this. This was the view at sunrise the next morning. If you go down that valley far enough, you’ll eventually reach Stehekin, which is a really small settlement at the far end of Lake Chelan. (Which is a super long (like 60 miles!) and narrow lake that cuts from the eastern slope of the Cascades into the heart of the range.) It’s only accessible by boat (or hiking), and I have never been there. It would have been a few more days walking from here to get there, and sadly my understanding is that the most interesting part of the hike was already behind me. We were just out for a quick out and back though, so this is as close to Stehekin as we got. Cascade Pass is a great hike though, even for just a day hike, up to the pass and back. Getting to the trailhead takes forever though, so leave early. (Or leave the night before and do some car camping.) Good times, good times.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300 mm lens. 1/500s, f/7.1, ISO 400. Focal length: 28mm.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Happy Monday everyone. Today’s picture is from the trip I took (with my buddy Mark and his buddy John) out to Cascade Pass in North Cascades National Park earlier this summer. We hiked over the pass, then down into the Stehekin Valley on the other side. This was the view at sunrise from near the campground. Not a bad sight to wake up to. The Stehekin Valley heads down from the Cascade crest to, not surprisingly, Stehekin, which is a little town-if-you-can-call-it-that at the far end of Lake Chelan. I don’t want to go too far into the details here, but Lake Chelan is a super long lake (60 miles or something, but that could be way off) on the east side of the Cascades. Stehekin is at the far western corner, and is only accessible by foot, by boat, or by float plane. I have personally never been there, but it’s apparently about a 30 mile hike or something from there to the Cascade Pass trailhead. There are people who live there and everything, and I’m sure they’re friendly. My understanding is that there was a road that went there (via something near Cascade Pass) until some point in the mid-term past – 15 or 20 years ago probably. I’m totally making up these details now, but I suppose the road washed out or something and the decision was made to not repair it. Such things happen all the time here in the Pacific Northwest, so I feel safe enough assuming that’s the story.
On our little weekend trip, for some reason I had my ISO set on 400 for almost the entire time. I’m not really sure why. I do know, however, that I can’t blame it on a mistake of any sort. (As in, “holy crap! I just realized I had my ISO set on 400 this whole time! Dang!”) I definitely remember going over my camera settings multiple times and saying “ISO 400? Sure, that’s fine.” Why would I go ahead and say 400 was fine, even on a bright sunny day?? Now we’re talking Columbo-caliber mystery. Something in the water, perhaps. Regardless, based on that faulty decision, most of the pictures I have from the weekend are, as one would expect, somewhat noisy. Granted, it’s MUCH less of an issue than had I brought my older camera (the Canon EOS Rebel XT). The T1i definitely made that a lot less painful than it would have been otherwise. But, pair that with the fact that I was using a lens that I have since decided is total crap (my Tamron 28-300), and it follows logically that I’m fairly dissatisfied with my pictures from the trip. Sure, I got a good one here and there, but overall the quality is quite disappointing. Sigh. This picture in particular might have actually been at ISO 800 or perhaps higher. I don’t remember offhand. I could check, but I won’t. But it was a low-light situation, being sunrise and all, so that may have been enough to convince me to go even higher than the 400 that I decided was appropriate in general. The world will never know. Fortunately, the world will almost certainly also never care.
Now, on to other, more mundane topics. I noticed that *not a single one of you* voted for my blog on that sleazeball awards website that I pointed you all to on Friday! Actually, that’s not quite true. That sentence should really read: “I noticed that *a single one of you* voted for my blog…”. But the idea is basically the same. So, please do so now, I’d appreciate it a whole bunch. Go here, sign up for an account, verify your email address, and vote Picture-of-the-day.com into award-winning-obscurity! http://bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/80957
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 28-300 mm lens. 1/250s, f/7.1, ISO 400. Focal length: 28mm.