We made it back to Cloudland Canyon for the 3rd time a weekend ago. We managed to hike the West Rim trail after going there once completely unprepared to hike and once just to show friends the views from the parking lot overlooks.
This time, we went prepared. Well, semi-prepared. I decided to wear my monkey feet (as Pat calls them)–my black five fingers shoes–since they’re by far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever hiked in. However, they’re not so good on sharp stones and there were plenty of those. That led to Tisen and Pat having to wait on me while I picked my way over the trail.
The other issue was that I opted not to bring a tripod, but I had a polarizer on my wide angle lens since we were hiking during some of the worst light of the day. I love my polarizer when I need it. I does wonders to cut out the bright reflections and remove glare from a scene. However, there are two problems with a polarizer. First, a stop and a half of light is a pretty high cost to pay when you are tripod-less. Second, a polarizer works best when it is used at 90 degrees to the sun. When hiking, one does not have control over what the angle to the sun is. So, sometimes it does it’s thing well and sometimes it doesn’t.
The part I didn’t think about before taking off down the trail was whether I would want to remove the polarizer and, if so, what I would do with it when I did. This meant I either had to shoot with it on or I had to recruit Pat to hold it for me. Given that it was mostly overcast that day, I probably would have been better off without it. I had to scrap many photos because of movement blur due to slow shutter speeds.
But enough technical talk. Cloudland Canyon was beautiful that day. With big puffy clouds appearing and disappearing as sunshine streamed around them one minute and rain streamed from them the next.
We got wet more times than I counted. This was another thing I was unprepared for, rain. It was so hot, I had no need for a rain jacket–the water simply steamed off of my skin. But, my camera wasn’t that hot. Fortunately, I had packed a wide-brimmed hat which worked well to shield my camera each time it rained.
Tisen did amazing on the trail. He stayed much closer than he has in the past and stopped when told to stop. He could teach Pat a thing or two.
After completing the 5 mile hike around the West Rim of the canyon, we got a nice shower on our way to the car. We piled in as quickly as possible–the rain started to pour down hard about the time we were ready to go.
It was a great day.