We recently spent a long weekend in Big Bend soaking in the massive night skies and glowing morning sunrises out of our tent.
We decided to get away for Thanksgiving, chasing the sunshine and trying to escape the rain storms that swamped Austin. Planning for Big Bend we changed gears last minute and headed for the Dragoon Mountains in south Arizona based on a route we found on Bikepacking.com Before the trip, Suzan Bright gifted me her vintage Nikkor lenses from her college days as a photo major at Pratt. So this trip I shot full manual with 35mm and 105mm Nikkor lenses adapted to my Sony a6000 mirrorless camera. The setup was great as it is very packable and the lenses are fast to change and intuitive to use. The fixed lenses increased my battery life by a long-shot which was great for covering this 3 day trip into the backcountry. [gallery type="square" columns="4" link="file" size="medium" ids="1050,1064,1063,1067"]
- Heading to the mountains
- Big skies and views
- With Turkey Sausages, stuffing and mashed potatoes we brought some tasty vittles on our ride. We enjoyed our T-day in this field of grasses with a old working windmill and pump well for company.
- Sketching at sunset
- Conté and charcoal pencil
- Rugged granite of the Dragoon Mountains
- Challenging hike-a-bike up and over the Cochise Stronghold.
- Singletrack and views back into the valley are our rewards
- My trusty steed: CHUMBA USA STELLA, with Shimano XT 11speed, Maxxis 27plus Rekon tires and complete Multi-cam bikepacking bagset from Wanderlust Gear.
- Enjoying the trail off the backside of the mountain.
- "It gets flat over there."
- A hard day of pushing and riding had us setting up camp sore and tired. The stars and clear night sky were a delight to enjoy during dinner and stretching.
- Thanks to Postmaster Bill for the photo, he's got one heck of a view. I rode back into town to fix a flat. Luckily the small town hardware store had flat kits, since mine was resting nicely back in the truck...
- Michelle is enjoying her first bikepacking trip.
- Kody and Jenny roll through another road lined with cottony desert brush.
- There's a jail over thar
- "Joe Bono's" abandoned historic building provided some nice shade while we supped on the last of our food stores.
- ***POP ROCKS***
- Historic Gleeson Jail, one of a few old jails we saw on the route.
- Big wheels = Big smiles
- Michelle, happy to be rolling the smooth downhill back to town. The Dragoon Mountains we rode over rest in the background.
- and they rode into the sunset.
- Cold beers back in historic Tombstone, where the whole town greeted us in costume!
Thanks to CHUMBA USA for the unstoppable bikes, Wanderlust Gear for our flawless bikepacking bagsets, Maxxis for our burly test tires, Smith Optics for our stly'in helmets and Shimano for our smooth new XT 11 speed drivetrains! Our mix of gear certainly made for a reliable trip!
New field studies from bikepacking on the Colorado trail are up on my site. Check them out. Here are a few to preview.
After so much technical plying with the camera I needed to loosen up with some field studies.
On Christmas morning, Santa brought a new sketchbook! Here’s a photo of a longer sketch using the field study from the video as a reference, drawn with Faber Castell PITT pens on 14″x11″, All Media Paper.
I hope everyone enjoyed a great holiday! I’m thankful I was able to spend mine with family, friends and sketchbooks.
I’ve been wanting to sharpen my photo skills. I was fortunate enough to have Suzan and Sal to school me in the finer points of controlling shutter speed, ISO and aperture together to get properly exposed phots while on a nice hike this Christmas Eve. I set myself up with a challenge in the shot below. It was hard to capture a balance between the shadows beneath and the sunny bright rock while keeping the figures in focus. I used a shallow depth of field blurring the closest part of the rock and focusing on the figures. A polarizing filter gives the sky its rich color, deepens the shadow under the rock, and along with shutter speed, subdues the brightness of the sun reflecting off of the rock, allowing me to keep an low open aperture to get the shallower depth of field.
I just got back into Fairbanks driving 9 hours down the famed Dalton Hwy. There was lots of construction on the road which is primarily a dirt haul road for truckers taking supplies N through the Arctic. Where the construction took place I usually had sometime to sketch as they only let one direction through at a time. Worked to be a nice way to breakup the trip. While here in Alaska I took over, 1000 photos of clouds, landscape views of the tundra and the brooks mountain range, our field work and I made many of sketches. I have so many ideas for new work! I will update soon with a few selected sketches and photos.