We have been wanting to try out a backpacking trip with REI Adventures, and with the Superstition Mountains being local we thought this would be a good opportunity. Since the Phoenix area is already starting to warm up, this was the last scheduled trip till after summer. Being less that two weeks after the Alaska trip, we were prepared for a bit of temperature shock – it turned out to be a record setting week with highs in the 90’s, which is only 120ºF warmer than our coldest outings up north. Fortunately, we had time for a couple of day hikes to get re-acclimated to the desert prior to starting out.
We enjoy our outdoors activities, and one of our major suppliers for gear is Recreation Equipment, Inc. In addition to being a major outdoors sports outlet, REI does travel and arranges local workshops and classes. We saw a four hour Night Photography Hike at South Mountain they were hosting and decided it would be fun to go along.
Last March we went camping at White Sands National Monument for the first time. The weather was fairly mild although a bit brisk in the morning. The winds were impressive. It turns out that 50 mph gusts are not unusual in the windy season. We enjoyed the trip, but since we only stayed the one night we didn’t get to do as much hiking as we would have liked, so we decided to return during the off season. With our schedule it turned out the second half of January was a good time, and watched the weather and the launch schedule for the missile range to plan the date. This last week the weather was perfect for photography – cloudy with rain in the forecast and temperatures unseasonably warm with to lows above freezing, and no closures scheduled. Off we went…
When you live in the southwestern desert you learn to accept that much of the summer is just plain too hot for outdoors activities. That’s not to say one is housebound the entire time, but aside from morning and evening walks hiking is not on the schedule.
In late September the weather starts to change, and we start getting out a little more. The town we live in has opened a new park recently, so we took an hour or so to take some pictures and enjoy the weather.
Out and about today we came across a little horse ranch that sells trail rides. Ranches around here all seem to have a large open gate – historically there’s probably a reason for it but as near as I can tell they’re decorative any more. This one had a nice little framed stucco arch topped with lights and a cross. It looks like it’s seen better days, but somehow it’s right for the desert in July.
Hasselblad 500/80mm@f11 and 1/250 sec, Fujifilm Acros 100 ISO
Couple encountered on the trail
It’s like street photography without the street… Actually, the Missus and I were out earlier this week doing a little more hiking in the White Tanks, and I brought along the Hassy to try out some 100 ISO black & white film. I’ve been shooting Tri-X for years, but since the Hasselblad only goes to 1/500 of a second Tri-X is a little too fast for outside shooting. So I bought some Kodak T-Max, Fuji Acros and Ilford Delta Professional to test out and see which one I like. The photo above was with the Fuji Acros. I’m pretty pleased with the contrast, but I need to see what the other films do, as well as try a couple different developers.