Enchantments Fall Colors Backpacking with the Fuji GFX50s

Got a solo Enchantments Core camping permit and headed up into my favorite place to be in October.  Snow free, but hazy on Thursday but the haze left the area by Friday.  The trail up is busy from Stuart Lake Trailhead, as you would expect this time of the year.  Took me about 5 hours to get into the Core and I camped in one of my favorite areas around the Crystal Lake viewpoint.  I paid off the pikas (a contribution to the Benevolent Pika Assocation) and they mostly left my tent alone.  I forgot shorts but who would ever expect to need them in October  ūüôā

It was getting windy and nippier with a bit of ice on smaller ponds as I left.  I love chatting with Enchantments hikers.  Like-minded crazies.  Everyone, well mostly everyone, is happy to be there and has great stories.  I took about 1500 photos and am about halfway through them. I was pretty sore getting back to the trailhead about 5 hours later. Predictably, two weeks later, I wanted to go back.

Some good choices/Things I was happy to have with me:

26lb total weight Zpacks Arc Blast backpack for four days including Zpacks Triplex tent, Neoair XTherm pad, Zpacks 5 degree quilt and 10 lbs of camera gear (Fuji GFX50s and GF32-64mm lens).

Zpacks Triplex Tent, at 1.5 lbs., was a good choice for this trip and obviously a ton of room for just me. Each time I hike into the Enchantments, I go over my tent choices. Previously, Big Agnes’s Copper Spur or Tarptent’s Protrail have won out. Freestanding tents have an advantage up here since they don’t depend on stakes which can be difficult to sink into crushed granite. I found a “meadow” of good sod to work with for the stakes around the Crystal Lake viewpoint area. A massive shady larch also helped with the winds and mid-day sun.

Tamrac zipshot tripod.  I have 3 Gitzos but at 9oz this goes into the Enchantments where everything went on the scale first.  I put my GFX50s medium format camera on it.  Most of my shots are handheld but when needed, this steps in.  The trick is to spread the tripod legs to create tension in the ballhead.

Water filter and one small plastic water bottle so I’m not weighed down and then electrolyte tablets to prevent leg cramps. Hydration packs might be ok when you are 25 but at 54, I’m all about saving weight.

Solar panel for charging.  There are a few spots where I got a hair of Verizon LTE coverage but this ate battery power.

Cliff Bar’s new coffee flavors.

A good book and light to relax and let the legs rest.

TP and a Trowel so I’m not one of those people.

Lots of experience in the area which allowed me to encourage and advise others which makes me happy. I also appreciated coming in on the Stuart Lake/Asgaard approach. Snow Lakes side seems like it might be “easier” but its a long slog with a stiff climb at the end up in to Lake Vivianne.

I’m still dubious about the¬†best in rehydrated meals (Peak Refuel/Alpine Aire/etc.) so my old standby, a stack of peanut butter and honey sandwiches were my staple.

I love this area and try to get up there every year. Here are a few photos from the trip.

The small, unnamed lake next to Colchuck
The larch forest halfway up Asgaard Pass with a wall of granite behind.
Isolation Lake in the Upper Enchantments.
My Zpacks Triplex tent and campsite in the Enchantments.
Enchantments Golden larches near Inspiration Lake
Sunlit larches along Inspiration Lake

Sunrise view above the Lower Enchantments to Prusik Peak.

Two larches in the sun.
Enchantments Grail Tarn in afternoon light.
Along the Enchantments trail near Leprechaun Lake.
Forest of golden larches near Perfection Lake Enchantments.
View of Asgaard Pass from along Lake Colchuck.

Really glad I got up there this year and of course, can’t wait to go back.

#washington #washingtonstate #pnw #pnwonderland #pnwlife #nature #naturephotography #mountains #enchantments #evergreenstate #waphotographer #waphotography #explorewashington #washingtonexplored #fujifilm #gfx50s @cleverhiker

Sony a7r and Canon 11-24mm Lens Above Seattle

Decided to rent the new Canon 11-24mm lens and adapt it onto my Sony a7r to see what 11mm looks like. ¬†This lens has been called the widest full frame optic available. ¬†I will call it freakishly wide and sharp corner to corner. ¬†It kinda defeats the “small and compact” ideal of the a7r but the results are worth the heft. http://www.mikereidphotography.com

Canon 11-24mm on Sony a7rCanon 11-24mm on Sony a7r Canon 11-24mm on Sony a7r Canon 11-24mm on Sony a7r

Classic Helicopters Aerial Tour of Seattle – Highly Recommended

I don’t have the best history with riding in helicopters to take photos. ¬†The last time I did this was in Kauai, where we managed to pick the one day that month with car wash rain. ¬†And everyone said use a polarizer, so I did and by doing so made a dark day darker. ¬†I got some photos but they weren’t anything you would see in a guidebook.

This time around, I did some research and decided to rent Sony’s 24-70 with optical stabilization. ¬†I’m glad I did. ¬†It worked out well and my 16-35 sat in the bag at my feet. ¬†We didn’t get the best weather but it wasn’t raining ¬†ūüôā ¬†I set the iso at 1250 which most of the time gave me shutter speeds around 1/200 which worked well. ¬†I got quite a few keepers. ¬†I will definitely be back for more of this, hopefully with better light. http://www.mikereidphotography.com #classichelicopters #seattle

Safeco Field Aerial Mariners Seattle BaseballSeattle Aerial Photography Stadiums Northwest Seattle Space Needle Aerial Photography Helicopter DSC07341  DSC07387

Mount Rainier Sunrise Reflection Timelapse Video

Timelapse video of sunrise at Mount Rainier reflected in a small lake. I think I’ve spent two days now cleaning all the mosquitoes out of the 1900 shots that make up this video. Of course I left a few in to give it a real feel. ¬†Sony a7r and Zeiss 16-35mm at 16mm. ¬†Thanks ‚Ä™#‚Äélightroom‚Ĩ and ‚Ä™#‚Äéphotoshop‚Ĩ www.mikereidphotography.com

Rainier and Meadows Full of Flowers

I went down a few days ago to the Paradise area of Mount Rainier to see how the flowers were coming along.  Well they are bursting at all elevations.  Being a lupine hound, I found plenty to get excited about.  I went down again last night, did more scouting and wandered around taking pictures this morning.  The light was done by 6am which is pretty amazing.  Sony a7r and Zeiss 16-35mm MikeReid Photography

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Park Butte This Morning

I had heard that Park Butte, the area south of Mount Baker was clear of snow. So I decided to hike in last night and catch both sunset and sunrise. I’m glad I brought my Zpacks 10 degree down sleeping bag and down jacket since it was rather nippy. I also used this trip to test out my new Inreach SE Satellite 2way communicator. All in all a great hike and nice early start to this morning. www.mikereidphotography.com

A tarn near  Park Butte just as the sun crested the ridge.

A tarn near Park Butte just as the sun crested the ridge.

Heading up to Pinnacle Saddle for Sunset

I had heard that most of the snow was gone so I decided to head up to the Saddle to see. ¬†Turns out there’s a bit still left but it should be gone in two weeks. ¬†Flowers are starting to come on. ¬†A bit of lupine and paintbrush around Paradise. ¬†I packed an over night pack in case I decided to camp last night but didnt:

My overnight photography pack. REI Stoke 29 pack and
– sony a7r with Zeiss 50mm
– Zeiss 16-35mm
– Gitzo gt-0540 tripod, RRS clamp and BH25 head, remote, extra batteries
– Ten Essentials including Nitecore p10 800 lumens flashlight
– Pants, down jacket, pullover, extra socks, extra doorag
– One Black Diamond Ultra Mountain carbon pole for tent
– Two bottles of purple gatorade
– Bananas, pb/honey sandwich, powerbars, powergels
– Shires Tarptent Contrail and stakes
– MH Phantom 32 bag

Felt light, carried well and I didnt end up camping last night.  www.mikereidphotography.com

Rainier Sunset IMG_2493

Lake Colchuck Hike and Timelapse Video

Lake Colchuck is one of my favorite hikes. ¬†Its a hard slog up approximately 2500 feet but the payoff is immense. ¬†This ¬†alpine lake is a¬†¬†great destination by itself but also serves as the gateway for the Enchantments. ¬†I arrived Friday afternoon amongst a variety of rain squalls and questioned whether I was going to go or not. ¬†Walking back from the bathroom, a woman whose car wouldn’t start asked me for a ride back down to Leavenworth. ¬†That made the decision for me and I drove her back down the hill. ¬†An hour later the weather had cleared significantly so I decided to go for it. ¬†I was so happy I did. ¬†The hike took me about an hour and 45 minutes to the lake. ¬†Most of the obvious camping spots were taken but i found a “clearing” near the lake where i set up my tent and the camera for this timelapse.

I slept well that night and was visited by a goat looking for salt to lick. ¬†I figured he was visiting all the campsites in his search. ¬†I got up the next morning and headed back down to civilization. ¬†I’ve been doing Stairmaster daily since January to strengthen my legs and it sure helped my knees. ¬†As i descended, many groups were heading up. ¬†I did what i could to encourage them, which was easy. ¬†I had seen the peaks and the shimmering lake and knew they were in for a treat. ¬†www.mikereidphotography.com #hiking #backpacking

Shell Oil Rig Polar Pioneer in Seattle

Whatever your politics or views on the oil industry, the arrival of Shell’s Polar Pioneer puts an impressive stamp on the waterfront landscape. ¬†The massive yellow monolith on the Seattle waterfront can’t be ignored or missed and in fact slowed evening traffic to a crawl as commuters paused to gawk at it. ¬† ¬†I captured this shot from West Seattle at dusk as the evening lights came on. ¬†Sony a7r and Zeiss 100-300mm stitched in Microsoft ICE. http://www.mikereidphotography.com #shell

Shells Polar Pioneer in Seattle

Lake Tipsoo Around Midnight

Drove down to Lake Tipsoo off of Highway 410 in Washington state a few nights ago to see how the lake was melting out.  It was about 75% melted so I decided to stay for sunset and sunrise.  Sunset colors were unimpressive, as was sunrise, but the real show was around midnight with the stars out.  This shot was a 30 second exposure, f4, 16mm and iso 2000.  www.mikereidphotography.com

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