For ten years, from 1999 until our last visit in 2011, going to the Balsams was our family winter tradition. Most of the time it was just Sally and I, but on two occasions we were joined by the Brewers for some quality winter holiday family time.
Done this before – several times. Hit the trailhead around 6PM and the mountain is likely to be empty. There was one other car in the lot, and we crossed paths as we were ascending. We had the mountain to ourselves.
Well, not completely to ourselves. The black flies were in FULL bloom. Clouds. Hoards. Masses. Thank god for head nets and petrochemical topical barriers. They were thick.
Still worth it. It was Sammy’s first time on this old standard of a hike. We had dinner in the bear den with great views. There was little lingering – more like get it done and get down. We did not stay for sunset.
This could be the first time around it since the burn last year..
Up the west side trail – to the view then back. Three easy miles with great views.
I watched the burn last November from Mittenstock and grabbed some of the action in a time lapse I shot on the day. At times the house was quite smokey smelling as the wind took the smoke right down the valley towards us.
From the front porch at Mittenstock you have no trouble spotting the overlook at the top of boulder loop trail. It is five and a half miles distant. I shot a bearing on the compass before heading out so I might reverse the bearing and definitively photograph Mittenstock from the top. This was the result.
The day was nice while we were out – Raining as I post this, but we got the obligatory poster shots..
Caught this vulture cruising the updraft from the cliffs.
I shot this from a tripod on the deck. It is a composite HDR two frame panorama composed from three frame single stop HDR images on the FX sensor of the D810. I believe that nikon raw uncompressed is around 70 mb / frame – roughly 420MB of raw data. The featured image for this post is a massively reduced JPG. The high res jpg here by comparison. Still compressed. If you click that link, let it load, and on most browsers, click it again you will get the compressed yet full size composition. For the truly interested, I exported the composition to DNG and you can find that here. Do a save as on that link and load it in whatever you use for DNG’s . Thems a lot of pixels.
Html code here! Replace this with any non empty text and that's it.
I ran a single axis (pan) motion head on Saturday and Sunday this holiday weekend. This was the result.