Flying Around the Snowy Cascades

Had the chance yesterday to go flying with some friends up around the Central Cascades as we got a nice clear day finally.  I went with my Sony A7R2 for its in-camera lens stabilization and my Zeiss 55/1.8 lens for its fast aperture and great rendering.  With the settings on Continuous AF, Steady Shot set at 55mm and burst mode, I got mostly keepers.

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View of the Snowy Cascade range

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Snowy Cascades in the foreground leading up to Mount Rainier

seattle arial photography

A snowy Ridge atop the Cascades

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Very popular hike called Mount Si peaks here, with a view back towards Seattle

Enchantments Fall Colors Camping Hiking Ultralight Survival Guide

Enchantments hiking camping ultralight guide leavenworth larches Enchantments hiking camping ultralight guide leavenworth larches Leprechaun Lake Fall Colors

First off I should say that I cant stay away from the Enchantments Lakes Basin in Washington State.  Each Fall, I have to go at least once.  The first time I went, I carried way too much stuff and finished the through hike in 17 hours with bleeding feet and a strong desire to crawl back to my car.  Two weeks later however, I wanted to go again.  Since then, I have become a scientist of sorts figuring out how to lighten my load and make the whole experience more fun.

Last week, I headed up to get some fall color before I fly off to China for a work trip this week.  I saw a lot of miserable people coming up the trail, carrying too much stuff. Actually it was usually one excited person and then the others they had talked into going. I recommend taking a hard look at your load and gear. My pack was a 45L Zpacks Arc Blast, which weighs less than a pound and carries beautifully. My bag was a 10 degree Zpacks 900 fill down bag which weighs 22 ounces. My tent is a Tarptent Contrail which weighs 27 ounces and has never let me down.  I won’t soon forget seeing someone carrying a full-sized Costco tent, still in the box, bungee-corded to their pack.  Or hikers carrying iron skillets.  Ugh.  And for the record, you don’t have to spend a lot to go light.  Ebay, hiker gear for sale sites, craigslist and manufacturer’s website bargain bins are all great sources of discounted gear.  I seldom if ever buy new and only as a last resort.

I saw people carrying gallon jugs of water. I carry one small bottle of gatorade and filter as i go with a Sawyer bag filter. I carry “gatorade” tablets to make more as i go along. Now the camera gear is where i splurge, since that is why I am going.  I recently swtiched from Canon to Sony, which lightened my load a bit.  I see people carrying Gitzo 4 series tripods.  I would never do this.  I carry my Gitzo 0540 and it feels excessive.  Other times I have carried my Tamrac Zipshot hiking pole tripod which weighs 8oz.

I will expand on this topic as more thoughts come to mind.  Thanks for listening. #ultralight #tarptent #zpacks #enchantments #hiking #backpacking #fallcolors

Mount St. Helens Dusk Flyover

Had the chance recently to fly around Mt Rainier and St Helens around sunset.  I was really struck by how the devastation around Helens looked from the air.  Sony a7r and Zeiss 16-35mm Mike Reid Photography #mtsthelens35years #mtsthelens

aerial mount st helens washington aerial mount st helens washington aerial mount st helens washington aerial mount st helens washington

Mount Baker Milky Way from Artists Point

Decided to camp over night near Artist’s Point to catch the sunset and night skies.  Almost slept through this but thankfully I got up and captured some stars.  Sony a7r and Zeiss 16-35mm.  www.mikereidphotography.com

Mount Baker Milky Way

Sony a7R High ISO Aerial Night Photography Over Seattle

So I’ve been curious how the a7r and 16-35mm f/4 combo would do at night from a helicopter. Last night I got to find out. I was very generously offered a ride in a Robinson R66 helicopter to capture sights around Seattle at night. My strategy was to adjust the focal length and iso to keep the shutter speeds above 1/200. Early in the evening, this was easy, later on it became harder. My shots were reasonably in focus but as the iso climbed, noise did too. My plan for the next time is to either rent the Sony high iso champion, the a7s or rent a faster wide angle like the Sony 28mm f2. http://www.mikereidphotography.com

seattle aerial photography, seattle photography, night photography, sony a7r

seattle aerial photography, seattle photography, night photography, sony a7r

seattle aerial photography, seattle photography, night photography, sony a7r

seattle aerial photography, seattle photography, night photography, sony a7r

seattle aerial photography, seattle photography, night photography, sony a7r

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 ‪#‎lightroom‬ and ‪#‎photoshop‬ 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.

Finally Visiting Mount St. Helens

I kept meaning to do this.  I’d seen some amazing photos from the area, and many a hike report, but never made it down.  So even as tantalizing weather almost kept me in Seattle, I packed up the truck and headed down yesterday.  Of course I timed it so I could hit three rush hours in succession; Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia.

I arrived in the evening and set about scouting to see where I would want to be at sunset and sunrise.  Many people talk about Harry’s Ridge, and it was tempting but I ventured farther west along the Boundary Trail.  Tons of flowers:  Lupine, Paintbrush, everything blooming and colorful.  So as i took a few shots around sunset, I was planning on where to be at 4:30am.  I think things turned out well.  Mike Reid Photography

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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