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Another Storm, a Cold One

Winter is in full swing in the Eastern Sierra—dang! Below, today’s cold storm dumped a few more inches at about 24°F—nice and fluffy—as far different from “Sierra cement” as it gets. It’s entertaining plowing up an 8° grade at 30 mph creating a vehicle snowstorm behind. The wind was enough to half fill in the tracks within an hour—snow this dry blows around and fills in everything.

How do you re-freeze 1-gallon water bottles in the cooler while traveling? Stick 'em outside at 19°F (at 9PM!) and let them freeze solid, then put back into cooler in the morning.

My Sprinter with the BF Goodrich ALL-TERRAIN T/A KO2 LT265/70R17 has no problem cruising through 5 to 8 inches of snow like this; if it were a foot deep I do not think it would pose an issue (ground clearance is ample and far more than most every SUV). The tires grab really well on fresh snow in 4WD with no slippage even on steep upgrades. On ice they are good as tires go, but not as good as a full-on snow tire with special cold-weather tire compounds and extensive siping.

I mostly hunkered down today, not deeming it prudent to head further north over the passes with chains required, not in the dense storm with high winds. Better to wait it out—shown below the storm is clearing. It sure is nice to have a warm apartment on wheels after shooting outside like this. My main challenge is keeping the 10 kW battery system charged when I don’t drive much (as it turns out, idling a Sprinter is the kiss of death for the turbo and engine, largely due to the awful Mobil 1 0W 40 oil with a terrible NOACK rating which I will no longer be using—more on that in my Sprinter pages soon).

I shot the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon today... anyone who thinks the Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW is in the same league is quite mistaken, particularly in terms of color correction and field curvature. However the Pentax 50/1.4 is really good for a standard 50mm.

f11 @ 1/1600 sec, ISO 64; 2018-12-01 14:54:13
[location “Lundy Canyon camp”, altitude 7000 ft / 2134 m, 26°F / -3°C, USM{8,50,0}, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

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This poor skunk seemed confused, hardly able to plow through the snow. It ultimately made a circle and said the hell with it, heading back under cover into the sagebrush. Regrettably I did not have my snow boots on, or I would have approached much closer.

Skunk in Snow
f1.4 @ 1/8000 sec, ISO 100; 2018-12-01 11:17:12
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

[low-res image for bot]
f11 @ 1/160 sec, ISO 100; 2018-12-01 15:36:00
[location “Lundy Canyon Road”, altitude 7300 ft / 2225 m, 24°F / -4°C]
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

[low-res image for bot]
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