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Saturday, May 6, 2023

Storm Mountain

We made it to Storm Mountain as we do every year in the springtime. Maybe not every year, we've done it 3 times - 2020, 2022, and now 2023 (we couldn't go in 2021 due to the damage from the fire). This hike is such a good hike because it's so accessible. It's less than an hour from our house, has gorgeous views of the tall peaks to the West, and isn't incredibly popular. I'm not sure why this trail isn't more popular, but I won't complain since it's one of my favorites for all the reasons previously mentioned. The hike itself was nicer before the fire, but the fire cleared out a lot of trees making the visibility at the summit wide open.

This is the first time that we've hiked this that it wasn't stormy. There were storms to the West, but with no threat to us, we could take our time. Of course, since we had time we didn't need it - we made it up to the top in what I would consider record time. Our normal pace is about 1.5 miles per hour on the ascent, but we were cruising around 2 miles an hour. I think we were able to hike this faster because Storm Mountain is at a lower elevation than the hikes we've been doing recently.

The summit was incredibly windy. We both had our windbreakers, which was good, but windbreakers weren't enough at the very top. We found a sheltered place to sit and eat an early lunch that still had fantastic views, although they were looking East and not toward the tall Western Mountains. But it was still a great enough view for us to stay at the summit for almost a half-hour until we headed back to the car. On the descent, we realize that it wasn't just windy at the summit, but instead, the wind had picked up everywhere. We made it back to the car without freezing too much, but that made us were glad we started the hike on the earlier side rather than leisurely getting to the trailhead this morning.

BurntThrought the MeadowHollowed OutTall and BarrenCrazy HairBurn LineLoveland

Saturday, May 13, 2023

New Camera!

Today I bought a new Canon R8 mirrorless camera and an RF 16mm f2.8 lens to go with it. It's been a while since I've gotten a new camera - just under 8 years. Since Katie worked today and with Sunday's forecast not looking that great I knew I needed to get out and test drive this thing. I just walked around my neighborhood, so nothing too special, but it at least gave me a feel for what I needed to learn before taking this on a real photoshoot.

My new Canon R8 is majorly different in 3 ways from all of the cameras I have had before:

  1. My new camera is a mid-level camera. I've only owned entry-level cameras before this.
  2. The Canon R8 has a full-frame sensor, not a crop sensor. After Katie switched to full-frame about a year ago I wasn't quite sold on going to full-frame (mostly because of lens cost), and the Canon rep I talked to before making this purchase almost talked me out of it, but for better or worse, this is what I have now. The major drawback is that of the 6 lenses I already own (4 of which I regularly use) - only one of them will work with my new camera. I have a few more expensive purchases in the near future as I build up a minimum baseline of lenses.
  3. It's Mirrorless. Mirrorless cameras weren't really a thing when I bought my last camera, but now they're where all the camera manufacturers are going, which means any new lenses they make will be for the mirrorless system. But the thing that interested me in the mirrorless was that it opens the door to some different optics since the lens can get so much closer to the sensor. So far, I've adapted (quite quickly) to using the electronic viewfinder instead of getting a real view through the lens like you would on a DSLR.

It will probably be another 8 years before I buy a new camera body again. Maybe even longer since this was the most expensive body I've ever purchased by nearly 2-fold. But so far it's taking great photos and solves two of the biggest problems that I have with my old camera; the ISO range before the photo gets grainy is drastically improved, and I can take many more photos in a row before the buffer is filled (which was a huge pain for all the panoramas I take). I'm excited to take this camera on a hike and see what it can do since that's where I'll be able to see the most differences.

Sleepy CrimsonIn the TentHappy CamperWide AngleLong Range TestCrossing the River50mm16mmMacro Shot

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Wildflowers at 6,000ft

We've been holding off on hiking Grey Rock because we wanted to wait for it to be green and filled with wildflowers. It's starting to get hot in the lower elevations, but after having some great rain the past few weeks to encourage the wildflowers to grow we knew it was time to check this one off the list. We've done Grey Rock before, almost exactly 3 years ago, but it doesn't appear that there were nearly as many wildflowers that time. I think we hit the jackpot of wildflowers on this hike with the beginning of the hike being peak bloom and the top a little early. But the start and the summit are drastically different elevations by over 2,000ft, so there's no way to time the entire hike for perfect blooms. Nonetheless, we timed this hike great and we were both happy to see so many and so many different varieties of wildflowers on this hike.

The warmer weather is getting us excited about our July hiking elopement. Up until now, none of the hikes this year have felt very summery. But with the weather in the mid-70s and the sweat pouring down our backs the entire hike, it's finally summer. It's just a matter of time before we're hiking for more of a purpose than just seeking out a summit. We just need to stay in shape and make sure we don't break any bones.

This is the first hike I've taken my new camera on. I'm happy with the results, but I thought the differences between the new camera and my old one would be a lot more noticeable. I'm certainly still learning this camera, so I'm sure as I learn all the features I'll be able to compare to my older photos and see a more stark difference in quality. I guess I'll just have to keep shooting with it and make sure I really know how to make the best out of it.

Flowing RiverLittleBlue LarkspurTrail to a False SummitRed to WhiteCommon Mouse Ear FLowerAgainst a RockLake at the SummitHazy SummitSummit SelfieDaisiesPerfect DandelionBlownSharp Focus

May 2023

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