I started this web site back in 2003 or so for several reasons, including the following:
- To archive and display some of my Photography from my outdoor adventures – mostly in California, but also in Alaska, The Yukon, and British Columbia. (While I still occasionally post photographs on this web site, my main photography web site is elsewhere these days – click you way on over to G Dan Mitchell Photography to see more.)
- To share stories from my hiking, backpacking, skiing and other trips.
- To post and save links to interesting stories on the outdoors, the environment, and related topics.
- To publish some information that I think might be useful to others, including my gear list (Equipage) and some trail guides (Trails) and trip descriptions.
(Please read my Disclaimer before you contemplate relying on any of my advice.)
You might also find the Talusdancers web site interesting. The Talusdancers are a group of friends who go on at least one mountain adventure each year – usually a weeklong (or longer) Sierra pack trip.
I’m not any kind of backcountry professional – not a ranger, a guide, a tour leader, etc. However, I have been backpacking for a long time. If memory serves, my first Sierra pack trip was in the summer of 1968 when I and two friends crossed Rockbound Pass near Lake Tahoe.
Since that time I’ve backpacked over much of the Sierra between Tahoe in the north and Mt. Langley in the south. Oddly enough I’ve still not covered the entire Muir Trail – I’m missing a section betweeen Purple Lake (south of Devil’s Postpile) and the Muir Trail Ranch in the Florence Lake area.
Trips have included many short adventures with my kids starting when they were 3 years old, many trips with friends, several trips of up to two weeks duration with my wife in the 1980s, many solo trips ranging from overnight up to two weeks, a bunch of trips with my friends in the talusdancers, more than a half dozen trips with the Hoover-Lincoln Hiking-Biking club (including the Chilkoot Pass and an 1100 mile bike trip in Alaska and the Yukon), lots of cross-country skiing, more recently some telemark skiing, a few winter ski-camping trips, and a few years of rock climbing.
I once totaled up the number of days I’ve spent on the trail and realized that I could actually measure them in years!
Virtually all photos on this web site were taken with a digital camera. Until April 2004 I used Olympus D40 Zoom camera, a small and lightweight 4 megapixel model. That April I acquired a Canon Powershot Pro 1 – a very portable 8 megapixel model. A year later I acquired an 8-megapixel Canon Digital Rebel XT with the 17mm-85mm EF-S lens. Today I use a Canon 5D2 21MP full frame DSLR.
The Canon Powershot was a great little backcountry camera. The image quality is quite high and the lens provides 28mm to 200mm equivalant range. Shooting in RAW mode I can get over 100 photos on a single 1 gig CF card.
On the other hand, the DSLR Canon Digital Rebel XT was a big improvement. One major reason is that it takes a variety of very high quality lenses.
The 5D2 is better yet, being a full frame camera with a 21MP sensor.Unless I’m traveling very light and I’m less concerned about photo quality I take the heavier gear.
My backcountry photo kit includes:
- Canon 5D2
- Canon EF 17-40 f/4 L, Canon EF 24-105 f/4 L IS, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L, and Canon 50mm f/1.4 lenses – or more typically a selected subset of these lenses.
- Two (or more) rechargable camera batteries
- Many gigs of CF cards.
- Induro C313 Carbon tripod or Velbon Carmagne carbon-fiber tripod; Acratech Ballhead.
- Polarizing filter
- Various LowePro camera bag(s)
This load can add up to around to 10-15 pounds. Sigh.
More and more, photography has become one of the most important reasons I backpack and hike.I have written a little more about my camera choices (and some recent changes) on the Equipage page.
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