Mt. Thielsen: Part II

Backpacking.  Would really enjoy getting out more – but at this “stage” – it’s one trip a year.  And, it’s almost more than a trip, really, as it borders on “event”.  It even has a title, “Dudes Go Backpacking” – for us family guys that are able to make it each year.  This was the third annual trip.  The first year – we were above Golden Lake in the Sisters Wilderness at a little tarn on the north edge of Broken Top.  And last year, we were at Sugar Pine Ridge / Jefferson Lake in the Mt. Jefferson wilderness (which I wrote about not too long ago here). 

Mt. Thielsen has been on my “list”, I’d say, for a few years.  A mountain with the subtitle of “lightning rod of the Cascades” has to be a great destination – at least in good weather.  And we had stunning weather!

As the last time I talked food (and food critic isn’t one of my strenghts –  but, of course, it could be if Iron Chef America is looking for a guest taster for an episode) – I’ll get back to photography. 

I tend to pack / travel light.  For this trip, my gear list included: 20D, Canon 24mm f/2.8 lens, B+W circular polarizer (with step down ring to fit the 24mm lens), pocket full of SanDisk cards, lens cloth (x2), shutter remote, extra battery, GorillaPod SLR tripod, and an older Op/Tech neoprene case for camera / lens.

A bit of “why” on the gear list.  (1) I only have one digital camera – the 20D. (2) A small fixed lens is light and compact, is reasonably sharp, and is relatively fast in low light.  If I want a tighter crop – I try to get closer.  If that’s not possible – I work to get a different shot. (3) Outdoor work, if you’re going to include sky or water, just about requires a circular polarizer.   I only have one (and it’s a B+W) – and I sized it to my 70-200 f/4L.  To balance the cost of buying a nice filter – I bought a step down ring to fit it to my 24mm.  I’d like to add a 3-stop neutral density filter – but just haven’t yet. (4) X2 on the lens cloth – just in case one gets dirty out there. 

Everything else is a pretty obvious – I think – except for the GorillaPod.  Really, that deserves its own post.  It’s lightweight, versatile, and inexpensive.  Yep – it’s not a Gitzo ultra-wow, tricked-out unobtainium tripod that costs a gazzilion dollars and weighs 2 lbs.  That would be cool.  Honest.  I have another Gitzo tripod (and ball head) that’s built like a 1967 Plymouth – and it’s wonderful – but just not for backpacking.  After searching and reading forums and what-not – I couldn’t really find a tripod that balanced performance, price, and weight.  Then I stumbled onto the GorillaPod – that does have some trade-offs – like height (your camera is only 10″ or so above the ground, rock, dirt…).  However, if you like, you can wrap it around a tree branch.  It could use a small ballhead.  Just saw one the other day I was considering.  If I get it – I’ll let you know how it works.  Bottom line: this little tripod works.

Weight?  Well, the whole setup is under 4lbs.  Yeah – I know that a P&S would be much lighter – but – I also carry a multi-tool and not just a blade when I’m out there.

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