Martin and I had the great pleasure of meeting and visiting with Mark Hobson one night in Lake Placid. Mark authors the respected “The Landscapist” blog and guides gourmet backcountry canoe trips in the ‘Dacks. After a number of years of email exchanges, it was great to finally meet him in person. Having met and philosophized with Mark, and having spent time myself in the ‘Dacks, I now have a much greater appreciation for the man and his photography. Not surprisingly, our minds are very alike when it comes to nature, wilderness, and conservation (you can read what Mark writes about our meeting here)
One of the ultimate highlights of the trip for me was seeing and hearing at close-range a common loon in breeding plumage. These are Northwoods birds; we don’t get to see them or hear them looking like this in most of California (we get some of them in southern California only in their duller winter plumage, and they’re silent). Their calls and cries are haunting and reverberate throughout the forest and off the waters. In the darkness of night (they continue talking until about midnight), you might swear that you’re hearing rutting elk, wolves, or coyotes. This was a truly magical experience for me (here’s a YouTube video. Crank it up).As an inexperienced “water” photographer (my first time paddling with professional photography gear), my gear took a beating on this trip. My Canon DSL-R was often damp, wet, or thoroughly covered (inside and out) with condensation due to high humidity levels and high dew points (many of my digital photos have visible water spots and a ‘dream-like’ look due to the condensation on/in the lens). The worst beating came when I was stuck on a log in shallow water while seated in my canoe. I tried to push off using the paddle, and instead flipped the boat and into the drink I went. My entire large format kit was in my pack and on my back (the dry bag was back in camp!), and my D-SLR was slung over my shoulder. Never do I use single-word expletives at such high volume in wilderness settings! As far as I knew at that moment, all my gear was soaked, covered in muck, and a total loss. Martin continued on in search of photographs, and I quickly paddled back to camp to assess the damage and start drying gear. Miraculously, no water entered the Canon. The lens was filled with water and I wrote it off as a loss. No water had entered the battery or CF card compartments, and I’m happy to report that the camera is working fine today. The great thing about large format gear is that most of it can’t really be harmed by water, camera included. In fact, my LowePro Mini-Trekker kept out the water, and only did things get marginally damp inside via wicking. I suffered no loss or damage to the large format kit.
I had an utterly fantastic trip to the Adirondacks, and it will not be my last visit. I sincerely thank my friend Martin for graciously bringing me out and showing me his favorite stomping grounds. I had a blast, Martin!
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