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Time to Head for Home

Update: getting up too early and when it’s dark to finish the drive home came with a loss: I now have only a left-foot boot, the right-foot boot presumably now buried under a foot of snow near the top of Monitor Pass. My guess is that it fell out the van sliding door when I opened it once before leaving in the morning. Oh well, at least I got a good year’s use out of them and the lugs at bottom were half-way worn down and so were biting less deep. I bought two spare pairs at half price a bit back of the Five Ten Camp Four Mid GTX.


I shot more and made better images than I think I’ve made in years this October/November in the Eastern Sierra and White Mountains. I caught more and larger trout than ever before. I thoroughly enjoyed the isolation and beauty of the place. It was a lot of work, a good combination.

The comfort of my Mercedes Sprinter photography adventure van allowed me to publish almost everything on this site in the past 5 weeks right in the van, with a full computer setup powered by a 5 kilowatt lithium iron phosphate battery.

I am pleased with the images I made. Perhaps because of extended visiting time and because the areas I frequent remained accessible and mostly snow-free unusually late, I just had more chances, but I think I was more 'in the zone' than has been typical.

The Nikon D850 was my focus at first*, but my attention turned to focus stacking because I now see focus stacking as an essential technical for landscape photographers, particularly now with the D850 Focus shift shooting feature. Hurrah for Nikon on that point at least. I wonder if Nikon has a patent precluding other companies from doing it, though there are 3rd party phone-based apps (a bit clunky) which can also do it.

Tonight, most of the passes are closed due to an anticipated storm a day off. Looking up at 11 PM at Monitor Pass at ~8600' (a side pass, not crossing pass), the sky remains starry clear and I could have been across the Sierra 4 hours ago. Instead, I’ve been forced north to get home, for an extra 2-3 hour drive back. The wonderful public servants (very funny terminology) in charge don’t consider the cost or inconvenience to travelers and are perfectly comfortable to lie and dissimulate on the truth, in my personal observations over many years.

* I must buy a D850 as it is a mainstay must-have camera, but at this point I expect no answer from Nikon about a very serious operational concern of flange focal distance error. I am unsure of keep/buy the loaner I have, or send it back and wait. One user tells me he sees no issues, others say they see the same flange focal distance issue including a certain optical company.

Images below from Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 Examples: Eastern Sierra, Late Season.

White Clouds Over Saddlebag Lake Ridge
f9 @ 1/60 sec focus stack 2 frames, ISO 31; 2017-11-10 17:27:52
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4

[low-res image for bot]
White Clouds Over Saddlebag Lake Ridge
f9 @ 1/40 sec focus stack 3 frames, ISO 31; 2017-11-10 14:01:39
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4

[low-res image for bot]

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