Saturday, June 13, 2009

Return from Rocky Mountain National Park

Just got back from Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado last Wednesday. I wanted to share a couple photos and other observations.

Early June may be a little too early in the season for this park. My girlfriend and I definitely got snowed on multiple times, though none of it stuck. On the plus side, it was true mountain weather; if you don't like it, wait 15 minutes.

The active weather was actually a plus for photography as well, since there were almost always dramatic clouds in the sky. The clouds would build up behind the mountains, then gradually roll down and dump on us for a while, then clear up again. I mean, just check out this cloud drama:

Rocky Mountain National Park

The other plus of early June was that the park was not very crowded, which meant we had no trouble parking our car (rental Buick LaCrosse) or getting a campsite.

We also encountered plenty of elk, chipmunks, and Wyoming ground squirrels, but only a couple marmots. The ground squirrels liked to hang around our campsite, but were never a nuisance. We were pretty diligent about keeping our food put away though.

Moraine Park Sunrise

Sunrise was at about 5:30am. I was able to pop out of the tent in Moraine Park campground at 5:15 and make it to the spot to take this photo at 5:30 without too much of a rush.

Also, we found the Rocky Mountain National Park Dayhiker's Guide particularly useful. It's also got some good photos to give you an idea of where to go for what. The only error we spotted was that Bierstadt is actually 2.0 miles from Bear Lake, not 1.6.

Ok, here's one last shot near Deer Mountain.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Friday, June 12, 2009

Xpan Go Bag

Xpan Go BagJust a quick post to show my Xpan Go Bag. The basic idea is that I can toss it in a backpack before a trip and have everything I need for a few days of shooting. Here's a list of what's included:

  • Xpan body (can't forget that)

  • 45mm lens

  • Think Tank thin shoulder strap

  • hot shoe bubble level

  • extra CR2 batteries (the Xpan needs two)

  • six rolls of film (126 panoramic shots)

  • Hoya Orange(G), 85C, and 81A multi-coated filters

  • shutter release cable

  • aluminum bracket to recenter the tripod mount

  • two 1/4" x 1/2" thumb screws (easy to lose)

Xpan Go Bag

I think I could get the 90mm lens in there too, but I don't have one yet. There's probably a more compact way to hold the filters as well, which I'll have to look into. Overall, it weighs in at about 7 lbs with my Gitzo 1155 Traveler tripod.


Also, my friend Chuck was nice enough to make the aluminum bracket for recentering the tripod mount (pictured above). I'm not sure why Hasselblad put it so far off to the side. Having it centered allows the camera to be much more balanced on the ball head, which means I can use a smaller and lighter ball head. The bracket is threaded on one side so the tripod can screw into it, and clear on the other so the thumb screw can go through and screw into the camera. There's some cork glued on one side to make things nice and snug. The separation between the holes is 2 inches, center-to-center.

Also, wanted to share this Xpan link to a Luminous Landscape article by Australian photographer James Pierce.

Happy shooting!

Moraine Park