On Saturday we headed out for another incredible day of backcountry skiing and snowboarding. This day was just as epic as the previous day, with two equally long and awesome untracked descents. These past two days have ranked among my best backcountry days in memory.
Ann Driggers skis down the premier north face descent of this prominent 13er in the San Juans.
Today was the best day of riding of the entire winter so far. We got two massive untracked lines, with a good foot of fresh snow on top, for a total of 5,000 vertical feet up, and 5,000 down. The perfect bluebird skies, cool temps, and calm wind didn’t hurt one bit.
Our two descent routes of the day.
Paul McElrea hauling ass on his new fat powder skis.
It has been so great to have winter back again… I had to go track up some more powder this morning. The weather was mostly socked in and snowing today, unlike the glorious lifting clouds of yesterday. But, another four inches of pow didn’t hurt at all.
Below is a helmet cam video from the first lap of the day. Excuse the video quality… my video editing skills suck almost as bad as the helmet cam itself. I didn’t even include the second line because the video was full of awful blinking-black frames.
Today two things got me excited… first, a return of winter with cold temps and snow outside! Woohoo! Secondly, I got to try out my new Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm ultra wideangle lens. This thing is an awesome hunk of glass, with a big bulbous front element and a huge angle of view. I shot this photo above from the bridge over Box Canyon, and you can see all the way from the depths of the canyon, to Ouray and the mountains above town. Pretty sweet. It’s a heavy lens, and I imagine I’ll probably use it less than 25% of the time, but it will be a nice option to have for really big landscape scenes with big foreground.
After three completely sedentary weeks at the computer, this last weekend I was desperate for some wilderness action, so I headed out on a backpacking trip in the Great Sand Dunes. My initial plan was to do a simple three day hike up and back the Sand Ramp Trail along the eastern side of the dunes. But on the first night I was feeling ambitious and decided to hike all the way around the dunes! Read more about the trip below, and be sure to check out my gallery of photos from the trip.
This evening I had my first real photo shoot with the Sony A900. What was almost an amazing sunset over the entire Sneffels Range turned out to be nothing too exciting. But nevertheless I put my new camera through the paces, and I must say it was frustrating!
My first impression is that the user interface sucks. Of course every camera takes some getting used to, and I probably will get comfortable with it eventually, but still I think it’s safe to say that the Olympus interface is WAY more intuitive. When I first started shooting the Oly E-420, it immediately “clicked” with me, and I loved it. Not so with this Sony, which I find has dials all over the place and strange series of button presses to make it do what I want, like a Simon Says interface. I can only hope to get better at it.
On the positive side, the viewfinder is amazing – so large and clear and bright that you can see every little thing in the composition, and manually focus by sight. It also makes it really easy to use graduated neutral density filters.
Yesterday a sparkling new Sony A900 24mp SLR camera arrived via Fedex, with a few lenses, so today I figured I’d go take it for a spin. What better place to go on a cloudy day than the Ouray Ice Park, just a few blocks from my house? See a few more photos below.
You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much recently. Indeed, I haven’t been DOING much recently, except sitting at the computer day and night for over a week straight, building websites. But it’s been good, because the weather has been so disturbingly warm and spring-like for the last few weeks that the snowboarding hasn’t been too tempting. So I’ve gotten a lot of work done, finished a couple long overdue websites, and am finally caught up and on schedule again. I still have some very busy months ahead of me, with over 10 websites queued up already. Nevertheless, I’ve been realistic with my scheduling, so I will be able to get out more regularly for some backpacking and photography again. And hopefully some more snowboarding if it ever snows again…
The last month has been so warm it is worrisome. Sure the warmth is nice… in APRIL!!! Wearing t-shirts in Ouray in February is not nice, it is disconcerting, especially when it’s like this for weeks on end. We can only hope that this is just Colorado weather wackiness, and not a deeper problem with global warming. Meanwhile, the snowpack is turning to mush, and the ice in the ice park looked positively soggy today. WINTER, WHERE ARE YOU? COME BACK!