03 August 2010

big cameras & long hikes part2

1997 - my descent into madness. Everything was just fine, until we decided to hurry to a lakeside camp in the central Sierra. While preparing to cross a stream I tossed my water-bottle across, where it gently landed in a clump of shrubbery. Then I got stupid, deciding the camera could do that and avoid a plunge with me into the shallow creek. You guessed it: it bent the shrubs, then catapulted onto rocks and into the creek. Boy did I cross in a hurry!! I removed the film and dried it out, and the next afternoon the camera was fine. Can't say the same for the 40-105 lens, whose mount was slightly canted; the rest of the trip, half my shots turned out (the left side!). Stupid, embarrassing - and two consecutive years that a large camera failed to justify the weight. Sure both were my fault - but I had to bring myself along, so the camera took the fall (ouch).

one of the pre-fall shots

1998 - A triumphant return to the Wind Rivers, with Program Plus and a 24mm lens. It was also a flawless set of images, almost like normal again! Most memorable in many ways, but the day we needed good weather was of course the day it was its worst. Oh well, that's how the wilderness works - and oh those bugs!

1999 - Every ten years was an extra-Big Trip, so we kept tradition alive with an ambitious cross-country Sierra ramble. I was cutting weight like mad, and went with just the 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens. Incredibly sharp, a little bit wide.. and challenging in such a spectacular area.

It was a fine trip and I brought back some great images - yet my love of such bulk was wearing thin. Simple compact 35mm cameras now had 28-80mm zooms, and of course the film size didn't vary; why carry something so large for a small image improvement? Also, a small digital camcorder came along on the last two trips (the '93 trip was a larger type); that form of recording was growing on me, and could take poor stills on a chip.. would that format would be my next main medium?

And so I entered my Dark Years of imaging.