The Cure for Cabin Fever

I have cabin fever. The urge to go out and shoot keeps getting stronger.   We have so many beautiful places to photograph. It has been a long, record setting (not in a good way) winter.  I have been keeping a low profile and trying to stay warm.

I finally decided to head out.  I dug out the winter clothes, rounded up my camera gear and headed up the canyon.  I was able to get above the inversion and see blue sky.  It was a little overcast, which is good when shooting snow.  I found a place to park, grabbed my gear, zipped up all the layers and called my trusty Yellow Lab, Neutron.

All the preparation was worth it.  Even if a single picture hadn’t come of it, it was worth it to be outside.  I was along a beautiful mountain stream flanked with pristine snow and steep granite walls.  Air temp was in the 40’s.  I got a real workout walking (occasionally flailing) through the snow.  I didn’t fall in.  Neutron kicked up his heels and reveled in being out.  I did hear what I think were three separate avalanches, which gave me pause, and raised up the hair on my neck.

I have a list of a few things that made my day a success:

1.  A sturdy tripod that doubled as a stick for balance and levitation, and of course, for stable long exposure shots of flowing water.
2.  I used only one lens, although I had three with me.
3.  Gloves that allow access to camera settings.
4.  Waterproof pants- I sat, kneeled on and waded through a lot of snow, and if I had gotten wet, I would have called it quits a lot sooner.
5.  A polarizer- the sun wasn’t out but there were bright reflections on the stream.
6.  A snack and water; I worked up quite an appetite!
7.  A phone call to let someone know where I was.
8.  A Hoodman loupe to see the LCD screen before and after the shot.  Use live view.
9.  Snow can trick your camera’s meter.  Watch your histogram!  If ever there is a subject for shooting in RAW, this is it.
10. Shoot low and high and use the tripod.  Look up stream and down and watch for small compositions as well as large.
11. Reasonable caution along the stream bank and in deep snow.



I am happy that I made the effort to go out.  It was good for the soul, good for the image library and just what the doctor ordered for cabin fever!

Lisa Thompson

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