View Full Version : Once more to the mountains....

John Kasaian
27-Aug-2015, 09:11
I've got an idea for a photo. There is a peak I want to shoot, only a mile and 600' difference in elevation down the trail. The peak is 1 km from the vantage point I found and at the same elevation so any movements would likely be unnecessary.
So here is the deal---I've still got my last adventure with heat exhaustion on the trail fresh in my mind. While this hike isn't nearly as strenuous, it will be made with a big camera, which kind of concerns me.
In the past I've done some minimalist (ha-ha! snort-chortle!) shooting with the 8x10 and that is the option I'll exercise this time 'round, at least until I can build up enough endurance to be comfortable with a fully loaded back pack.
I need to make a choice between the aerial Gowland, which is very light, focused at infinity with a fixed 300mm Nikon M and does well aboard a small, equally light wieght Tiltall tripod, OR taking the Deardorff, Ries, and three lenses---a 19" Artar, 12" Dagor and 250mm G Claron, not very ultra light but I'll only pack two film holders and leave the tripod head at home (that would qualify as ultralight in the 8x10 universe, right? :rolleyes: )
The advantage of the Deardorff is the likelihood of having the best focal length lens for the task at the expense of sugar-anting a bulkier, heavier kit.
The advantage of the Gowland is having a much lighter kit and my initial impression was that the targeted peak will fill up the 300mm lens field of view rather nicely for contacts.
I'm leery about making two hikes back and forth on the same day, the first with a viewing card (or the Gowland) and the second with the camera kit of choice because that would approximate the length of my original hike, which frankly knocked for a loop :(
Another option would be to plan for two hikes on two separate days, one with the Gowland and the second, if neccesary with the Deardorff.
This might be the more advantageous since the more hiking I can get in, the better in shape I can get.
Any suggestions?

27-Aug-2015, 09:53
John, I'd take somebody along to share the load.... I mean, share the fun.
And maybe cooler weather with more dramatic skies.
Stay cool, be careful, and happy shooting!

27-Aug-2015, 10:52
My 2 cents...Drink a lot of water the day before and in the morning before you go. Go with the lightweight version and expose a couple sheets of film. If it does not work out, think of the trip as a warm-up for the Deardorff and the one lens you now know works the best for the image you want.

Or as suggested, take a friend and the Deardorff!

Drew Wiley
27-Aug-2015, 10:56
Gosh. Avoid the smoke too. There's a helluva lot of it up there right now, due east of you. Doesn't take much to aggravate other kinds of health issues.

John Layton
27-Aug-2015, 14:20
I've been in your shoes and, approaching 61 yrs, I can relate! At any rate...I'd go with the "two trip" option - take the aerial camera first and see if this works...then the whole shebang later if this is needed.

A question I have for you which may favor the aerial is my assumption that this camera would be a bit more stable (than the Deardorff) in windy conditions. (still might want to bring an empty cloth bag to fill with sand/rocks). So...is there a tendency for your chosen location to be windy? If so, and if you still decide on the 'dorff...is there someone who could accompany you who could hold a large umbrella to deflect the wind? Just a thought.

Leszek Vogt
27-Aug-2015, 18:38
John, if the trail is reasonable, take a stroller....and whatever eq you wish to put in it. Otherwise, take the long ears with you (if you still have access to one). Ha, my body doesn't function all that well unless the temps are below 80....yet, when younger, I crawled in & out of G. Canyon....in July. I'll likely agree with being tagged as a "nut job".


28-Aug-2015, 10:42
I'd take the Gowland/Tiltall.

Drew Wiley
28-Aug-2015, 10:46
Gowlands are awfully susceptible to wind and big shutter vibration. Nikkor 300M is small shutter, of course. Wind can be mild much of the day in many parts of
the Sierra unless a storm is involved; but here on the coast our wind is incessant.

John Kasaian
28-Aug-2015, 12:52
For fun I took out the topo and plotted the angle a 300 M will cover from the location I wanted to take the shot. It's way too wide. It looks like the 19" Artar is going to be the ticket, so it's a 'dorffiing I must go!
After the weather cools off, of course.
And the smoke from the fires clear.
And maybe some nice clouds show up.

Drew Wiley
28-Aug-2015, 13:08
Just checked the real-time govt cam pictures up in the hills. The closest one of them to you, John, is atop Bald Mtn, up there between Shaver and Courtwright.
But it's the Buck Rock camera that really has the good view of the fire - or did have it, since smoke has totally obscured everything there. I presume the lookout
itself has been evacuated for some time now. The fire itself hasn't quite reached there, but now at over 60,000 acres. Fortunately for me, the camera looking up
Mineral King Valley shows clear deep blue skies. As far as diffused smoke goes, the are daily reports on the effect of the smoke clear across the state. Most of
the San Joaquin River basin and Yosemite country look relatively clear, except for the usual summer smog at the lower elevations, and predictably miserably
campfire and control burn smoke in Yos Valley. Sometimes a slight veil of haze carries a nice sense of atmospheric distance. You can either cut thru it with a red
filter or mimic it with a deep blue one, reminiscent of old blue-sensitive emulsions. I'm personally very sensitive to smoke from all those forest fires and control
burns I lived thru in my youth. Can't even stand a fireplace in the house. But I have taken advantage of it in plenty of black and white shots.

David Lobato
28-Aug-2015, 15:27
You can take the man out of the mountains, but you can't take the mountains out of the man.