Monday, September 10, 2012

Hike 2012.063 -- Echo Mountain

Short hike on Tuesday, Sept. 4. I mainly wanted to try out my new camera. It's a Nikon D3200. I have the 55-200mm lens, and, in part, it's so I can try to get shots of the space shuttle when it flies into Los Angeles in a few weeks.

Echo Mountain is possibly my most frequently walked hikes. It starts from the top of Lake Avenue in Altadena. You can reach Lake Avenue from the Foothill Freeway (I-210). For more info and more representative pictures of the hike route, search this site for one of my many other Echo Mountain posts.

About the only substantive difference for this hike versus past ones is that the last mile and a half or so of Lake Avenue is now a one lane (each way) road, which makes parking near the top much easier.

On the day I hiked, it was hot (as it's been most of the past few weeks. As a result, the number of walkers (and joggers) I saw was much less than I would have expected. I walked easily, not bothering to bring anything to drink with me. It's only about 5 miles roundrip, with a 1200 to 1400 foot gain, so even on a warm afternoon/evening, I didn't need to bring anything with me besides my camera.

Several helicopters flew around me as I climbed, so I practiced getting shots of them. The first one I saw was one of those infamous black helicopters. It had a camera ball on it's nose, and I got the feeling they were zooming in on me a lot closer than I was zooming in on them.

The second helicopter was an LA County fire helicopter. A few days later, I saw an LA City fire helicopter, so now I know the different paint schemes used by each.

Both of the heli pictures are fully zoomed, then cropped (the black one a good deal more than that the fire one). In fact, except for the candles, the rock, and the LA skyline, all of the shots are substantially cropped. I figured that's one of the advantages of the crazy megapixels this new camera has.

I also flipped the ISO selector around a few times. I'll have to try the sport setting one of these days, too.

Have to admit the shots were not as sharp as I hoped, but were definitely sharper than what I've seen before. Not a very clear day, so it's not a fair test of resolution. Still, compared to the Nikon L110 I have been using, the D3200 is obviously a major improvement. The autofocus also works much quicker and more dependably than the "crossover" camera I had been using.

The next two hikes I need to write-up are also related to my hoped-for appoint-ment with a space shuttle. I am currently trying to scout locations in advance of the expected Sept. 20 fly-in of the space shuttle Endeavour. More on that in my next two posts.

No comments:

Post a Comment