Golden Larches Fall Colors Hiking and Photography: Enchantments 2017

Enchantments Prusik Peak Perfection Lake View

Enchantments Prusik Peak Perfection Lake View

Each year I contemplate the hike I will be making into the Enchantments for larches and fall colors.  I go over hiking gear lists, camera gear, food plans, compositions, etc.  I decided to go Snow Lakes route this year, having gone Asgaard Pass out of the Stuart Lake trailhead the previous two years.

My Zpacks pack ready to go at Snow Lakes Enchantments Hike Trailhead

My Zpacks pack ready to go at Snow Lakes Enchantments Hike Trailhead

We planned on staying 3 days near Leprechaun Lake.  The weather report indicated snow in the area we wanted to camp in and temps in the 20s so I packed accordingly.  My tent was the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1.  My sleeping bag was the Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 degree and Thermarest Xtherm pad.  My pack was the Zpacks Arc Blast cuben/carbon pack.  Arc’Teryx Bora2 boots, Cerium SV and Alpha FL jacket, Rampart pants and Atom LT insulated pants.  There’s a reason why I worked retail at the ArcTeryx store for two years  🙂

My camera gear was my Sony a7r2, Zeiss 55 and Zeiss 16-35 lenses along with my Voigtlander 10mm.  I brought my carbon tent pole tripod, which was pretty underwhelming so my shots were all handheld.  For hydration, I brought two small bottles of gatorade and made more with Endurox R4 and electrolyte tabs as I hiked.  Food-wise, I had oatmeal and high protein granola, a stack of peanut butter and honey sandwiches and a pile of snacks heavy on Snickers bars.  I left the trailhead at 32lbs, which I was pretty happy with. FWIW, I don’t do poles after an unfortunately pole to tooth incident a few years back, and I drink straight out of fast-moving streams.  This has always worked for me, but I don’t necessarily recommend it for others.

Once the dates were in place, I put out some invites for others to go along.  All this inviting resulted in two people going with me: Jenn and Erwin.  Erwin insisted on camping halfway up which is new to me but we found camping at Snow Lakes to be a nice break and got some great shots there.

Snow Lake Enchantments Sunrise Light

Snow Lake Enchantments Sunrise Light

Another nice part of staying at Snow Lake is that the next section is flat for a while.  Having rounded Snow Lake, however, the climbing begins.  We took it slow and got to Leprechaun Lake in a few hours.

Jenn and Erwin Climbing up Towards Lake Vivianne

Jenn and Erwin Climbing up Towards Lake Vivianne

We camped near Leprechaun Lake and set out getting photos.It was a great trip as always.  Oncoming snow showers sent us back down a bit earlier than expected but we decided caution was in order.  As I write this a few days later, I, of course, already want to go back  🙂  Here is a random sampling of shots from the hike:

Many more shots at Mike Reid Photography

Enchantments Lakes Basin Fall Colors with Zeiss 85mm Otus and Sony a7r2

The Enchantments Lakes Basin is one of the toughest and most rewarding hikes in Washington.  Once you’ve been up there, it’s hard to stay away as the larches turn golden in late September.  This year I decided to take two cameras, three lenses and two tripods.  I was particularly excited to see how the Zeiss 85mm Otus would capture the detail and the glow of the larches as they showed off their autumn palette.

I camped overnight and eagerly anticipated the morning light.  About an hour before sunrise, I headed out with the Otus mounted via Metabones on my Sony a7r2.  I tried to capture not only the broad landscape of fall colors but also the closeup details of the larches and their reflections in the lake.  Once the light had passed and the sun was overhead, I could barely wait to see how the shots had turned out. Mike Reid Photography

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Natural Light Senior Portraits: My Niece Lauren

Its that time of the year for Senior Portraits and my niece asked me to take a few photos.  These are handheld, natural light shots using the Sony A7R2 and Zeiss 85mm Otus which is manual focus.  I think they turned out pretty well especially since I rarely do this kind of thing.  #portraits #classof2016 #seniorpictures #seniors

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Sony a7r and Canon 11-24mm Lens Seattle Timelapse Sunset Video

I was very eager to test Canon’s 11-24mm at the Sky View Observatory. I wanted to see what 11mm meant as far as pov goes and aside from taking a number of random photos, I also made a timelapse video. I had adapted the lens onto my Sony a7r using a Metabones III adapter which allows for electronic control and eventual AF.  I can tell you that the protruding lens shade petals and front element make blocking out internal reflections against the Observatory’s windows challenging.  But I think I made a decent go of it.  I returned the lens this morning and felt ok about letting it go.  For me, 11mm is cool but a rare requirement and my Sony 16-35mm makes me very happy.  It certainly weighs a lot less, has OSS and of course doesn’t need a Metabones adapter.

http://www.mikereidphotography.com #a7r #canon #sony #mirrorless

11mm Seattle from the Sky View Observatory

…and now a nice timelapse made with the Canon 11-24mm lens:

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

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My Favorite Spot Amongst the Wildflower Meadows

Fire Mountain Panorama

 

Ventured down to my favorite part of the Paradise area – the Lakes Trail. Coated in premethrin and picaridin, I was determined not to be a feast for bugs. That worked out well actually. As I was hiking in, I could hear thunder and was definitely going against the tide of hikers leaving the area. I meandered along the trail for about two hours, meeting several other photographers and talking photography stuff.

Slept in the Paradise parking lot overnight.  A couple showed up about 11pm, intent on dancing in the moonlight to flamenco music on their car stereo.  This went on for an hour and fortunately they left.

The shower when I got home was Awesome!

 

To purchase prints of this or any of my other works, please visit http://mike-reid.artistwebsites.com/

Visiting Colchuck Lake and Travelling Light

Visiting Colchuck Lake and Travelling Light

Facing a really busy July, it was time to get out a bit for a challenging overnight. My friend and I chose Colchuck for a nice outing. We had some new ultralight gear to try out. The trail is in great shape and snow free but not bug free. We found a great campsite near the boulder field and set up for the night. Encountered many other hikers and climbers. Impressed with the massive packs and loads others were carrying. A few borrowed our water filter system and others stopped to chat about conditions. Rained all night but sunny and 80s the next day. An amazing adventure. Sony a7r was a dream with the two lenses I brought: Zeiss 18mm and 50mm.  My tent was a Tarptents Contrail and my sleeping bag was a Mountain Hardwear Speed 32. The Contrail was especially impressive after a night of rain and winds.  It was still standing and dried quickly.  My Granite Gear Vapor Trail also did very well with its 25lb load and most of the time I was unaware of it on my back.

Shires Contrail