JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos | High Sierra Topix  

JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Topics covering photography and videography of the flora, fauna and landscape of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Show off your talent. Post your photos and videos here!
User avatar

JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby CharlieW » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:15 pm

I'm developing an itinerary for a slow, solo, photography-oriented JMT hike with side trips. I've given myself a lot of time so I can go off the trail, and I'm not dead-set on "doing the JMT" exactly, so veering off and reconnecting later is perfectly fine. I have some experience navigating high Sierra. I'm comfortable with harder class 2 scrambling in daylight and willing to cover some distance at night on easier terrain.

So I want to plan my camps at or near good vantage points for magic hour and night photography. I'll have a lot of moon (for moon and moonlit landscapes) during 1st half, then good opportunity for stars, Milky Way & Perseids 2nd half. Peaks are not always the best for this sort of thing, but high ridges can be, especially if I can get info on existence of reasonable campsites.

This is filling in now, but I'm happy to hear comments and alternative ideas:

    [Starting July 26 from HI. I have 13 days to get to MTR. Moon/sun data below is for Fresno, so subtract x minutes.]
    26th. Clouds Rest (camp at Clouds Rest or just past?). Moon is waxing gibbous. Moonlit valley after sunset. Moonset at 2:42am WSW 248* over valley. Continue on via Sunrise Lakes to reconnect with JMT.
    27th. Cathedral Lakes. Moonrise 4:50pm ESE 113*. Sunset 8:10pm WNW 295*. Possible to frame rising moon & Cathedral Peak from lower lake, but peak is a better subject from upper lake. Reflected moon & moonscapes after sunset.
    28th. Afternoon-sunset in Tuolumne Meadows. Moonrise at 5:46pm ESE 113*. Night hike under near-full moon to first legal campsite at Young Lakes. Morning on the saddle SE of Ragged Peak. Moonset 4:15am WSW 247*.
    29th. [TM resupply] Lyell Canyon. Almost Full Moon (-2d) rising 6:39pm ESE 112*.
    30th. Somewhere on or near Donahue Peak north of pass (per Elizabeth Wenk's JMT side trip). Are there reasonable camp locations near (other than on the JMT trail approach)??? Full Moon (-1d) rising 7:30pm ESE (109*; 35 min before sunset), setting 6:24am WSW 252*, 20 min after dawn.
    31st. Plan A: Off-trail up to Catherine & Ritter Lakes. Plan B: Thousand Island Lake. Full Moon rising minutes after sunset at 8:16pm ESE (105*), setting after dawn 7:32am WSW 257* to right of Banner/Ritter.
    1st. Garnet Lake. Full Moon (+1d) rising 8:59pm W 100*, setting next morning 8:42am W 263*.
    2nd. Off-trail west of Garnett Lake over Whitebark Pass to Nydiver Lakes and then loop to west down to Ediza Lake. Almost Full Moon (+2d) rising 9:40pm E 94*, sets next day 9:52am W 269*.
    3rd. Off-trail via Iceberg & Cecile Lakes to Minaret Lake. 3/4 Moon rises 10:19pm E 88* (stars over moonlit Minarets). Sets 11:00 am W 274* next day, so will be high over Minarets in late morning.
    4th. [Resupply and burger at Red's] Move on and camp at Red Cone area.
    5th. Virginia Lake
    ?
    7th. Marie Lake.
    8th. MTR cabin & resuply.
    11th. Evolution Lake.
    10th. Camp near Lake 11393 (S of Helen) along route to Black Giant. 3am up Black Giant.
    11th. Palisade Lakes. Sunset 7:55pm WNW 290*. Up for morning Perseids and Crescent Moon rise 4:31am ENE 69*. Sunrise 6:14am ENE 71*.
    12th. Lake Marjorie. Early morning Peak Perseids and Almost-New Moon rising 5:27am ENE 71*, 47 min before sun at at 6:14am ENE 71*.
    13th. Dollar/Arrowhead Lakes. Peak Perseids. Sunrise 6:15 ENE 71*.
    14th. Camp at Charlotte Lake (or flattish area on Bago ascent). New Moon.Sunset 7:50pm. Sunrise 6:16am ENE 72*.
    15th. Lake at 12250 on way up to Forester Pass. Almost New Moon sets 8:22pm W 278*, 32 min behind and 10* left of sun. Visible? Sunrise 6:17am ENE 72*.
    16th. Bighorn Plateau. Tawny Point. Crescent Moon sets 8:54pm W 273*, 1 hr behind and left of sun. Sunrise 6:18am ENE 73*.
    17th. Final night on top of Whitney (weather permitting; else stop at Guitar Lake). Crescent Moon 1.5 hr behind and left of setting sun. Moonset 9:24pm W 268*. Sunrise 6:19am ENE 73*.
    [Out Whitney Portal on Aug 20 ]

I'm using Elizabeth Wenk's JMT and Steve Roper's SHR books for ideas, and this site's High Sierra Map (and I've been to maybe 20% of these places before).

Your thoughts are very much appreciated!

Other photographers are welcome to gather ideas, just don't grab the single bivy site minutes before I do.
Last edited by CharlieW on Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:52 am, edited 19 times in total.



User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby paul » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:46 pm

Not clear why you don't want to stay at the Tuolumne backpackers' camp? If you do I'd suggest getting to the top of Lembert dome for something - sunrise, sunset, moonrise - whatever you like but it's a great vantage point.

Top of Whitney for sure as long as no thunderstorms brewing. The sunset and sunrise are not to be forgotten. Moonlight as well - don't expect to sleep much. Another spot I would consider is Bighorn Plateau - it is surrounded by fabulous views and you may be able to get reflection off the pond there if the timing is right and no wind.
User avatar
paul
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 443
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:35 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby CharlieW » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:23 am

Thanks Paul. Added Bighorn Plateau. Long day from there to top of Whitney but I think that is reasonable (stopping at Guitar Lake if dodgy weather).

TM backpacker camp may be the way to go, I just have very little enthusiasm about it. Quick question: If I do pay for a spot there early in the day, can I expect it to be vacant at midnight assuming I don't leave a tent? I'm not partial to leaving an expensive tent, and anyway my tent poles are also my tripod legs.

Given my long time frame, I've been eyeing the trail going past Dog Lake up to Ragged Peak / Young Lakes. Are there campsites along that at 4 miles? There is a ridgeline just SSE of Ragged Peak that looks good on the topo map, and just at 4 miles I think. Does anyone know about accessibility/suitability/legality of camping in that area?
User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby SirBC » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:27 am

Charlie, I too will be doing a solo photography-oriented JMT this summer (starting July 17th out of Sunrise Lakes) so I look forward to seeing the responses you get. One area I might recommend is Ediza Lake which is close to your Thousand Island lake stop. The lake area itself is beautiful and on the Western end you can climb up through some meadows with wildflowers where there are then a series of waterfalls leading up to the peaks. Definitely a great photo location.

Out of curiosity, what photo equipment will you be bringing? Last year I took my full tripod/DSLR kit on a 3 night trip, and well, I won't be doing that again. My plan this summer is a much lighter set of gear; Gitzo 1542T tripod, Sony a6000 with the 10-18 f/4 (15-27 mm equivalent) and that's about it.
-------------
Dave | flickr
User avatar
SirBC
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:30 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby CharlieW » Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:48 pm

@SirBC, thanks for the Ediza Lake tip (although I'm pessimistic about any remaining waterfalls or wildflowers in August this year).

On gear, strangely enough I'm considering renting a Sony RX1r. It's the world's smallest full-frame camera at only 18 oz. It has the light-sensitivity I want for night shooting, and it's light enough to mount on my modified Ultrapod (modified with some duct tape and tubing to mount on 2 hiking poles and a 3rd carbon fiber pole, and plastic grocery bag to weight it). Yeah, I know. Fixed 35mm lens. I'm trying to step up my creativity and composition. Anyway, I'm renting it all of next week so I have some time with it before deciding this summer.

Great thing about renting is that (even if I like it) I'll have no regrets when the RX2 inevitably comes out.
User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby markskor » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:18 pm

CharlieW wrote:TM backpacker camp may be the way to go, I just have very little enthusiasm about it. Quick question: If I do pay for a spot there early in the day, can I expect it to be vacant at midnight assuming I don't leave a tent? I'm not partial to leaving an expensive tent, and anyway my tent poles are also my tripod legs.

About getting there early, setting up, leaving/ returning at midnight...
No worries about theft at Tuolumne BP...Well, none I've ever heard of...knock on wood. I leave expensive gear/ tent/ sleeping bag there all the time. Backpackers do not steal.

I would choose a site - back-right, set up my tent, all gear hidden inside - bed ready... (with dated payment slip left on the # post)...and expect that all will be there untouched upon returning, even at midnight.

No tent? - backpack stashed in a bear locker?...a different story. Just to explain more, you do not have rights to the entire numbered site to yourself at any of the Yosemite BP camps. With only 20 numbered sites and possibly 50+ groups staying over in Tuolumne BP...any flat place in camp that can hold a tent is fair game/ could be used...always a parade of late arrivals. When you come back at midnight, your tent not yet pitched, expect to see your site (and probably the exact spot you intended to sleep on), filled with somebody's tent...sharing is acceptable, even with you not being there - makes no difference. Just set up your tent first (even without poles?) - claiming your spot - then no worries.

I would be more afraid of theft leaving my stuff unattended in a regular car-camp site.
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2048
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:05 am

The only thieves in the TM backpacker camp are the bears. They will steal food, anything that smells like it, and your empty pack. Instructions on the board at the entry tell you to put unattended backpacks in the lockers.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1761
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby CharlieW » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:10 am

Thanks all. I may very well stay at TM backpacker camp if I'm feeling tired.

I'm hoping however that I will have some extra energy on that day for something more ambitious. It's downhill from Cathedral Lakes and I will be fortified by a burger at TM and a long afternoon nap. There will be an almost-full moon up high after sunset, which you all know is like daylight. I can't think of anything more magical than hiking around Tuolumne Meadows under a full moon. So I've tentatively planned a night hike up toward Young Lakes. Official Yosemite trail map indicates legal backcountry camping just before the 2 trails merge west of Ragged Peak, maybe 3.5 miles after coming off the north side of Lambert Dome. I don't know if there are established campsites before the lakes, but that isn't much farther.

Before Young Lakes there is a saddle, SE of Ragged Peak and directly N of Dog Lake. It looks like it would have a fantastic view. I can't quite figure out if this is a legal camping area. It's off-trail about a mile and just about even with the "dispersed camping" arrows on the trails to west. (I'll probably just ask at ranger station.) Is anyone familiar with this spot?
User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby CharlieW » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:55 pm

OK, time for some more specific questions:

There are a few peaks or other high points that I want to be at for sunset or sunrise or likely both. So I want to camp as close as I can, to minimize night scrambling, but I'm not a big fan of sleeping on sharp rocks or at excessively exposed locations. Can anyone give me specific info on finding reasonable campsites en route to or near these places?:

* Donohoe Peak. I'll head off trail just before pass (per Wenk's JMT guide). Looks very talus-y but maybe something near the little unnamed lake en route?
* North Glacier Pass / Catherine & Ritter Lakes area
* Black Giant ridgeline.
* Mount Bago (not a big deal to hike up from Charlotte Lake if necessary)

Before you ask, I have not determined (100%) my shelter system. Maybe a ZPacks Duplex (which I already own) or maybe new tarp/bivy (if I convince myself that easier site-selection and minus 6 oz. outweighs cost of purchase and other negatives). I also should note that I'll have a DeLorme inReach so able to get daily localized weather info (I'm a coward about this sort of thing).

Also, I'm still looking for good locations to seek out between Red Cones (after Red's) and Marie Lake. Does anyone have suggestions for places to be for sunset/sunrise along that section?
User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:44 pm

Hi Charlie,

Are you using this, it is very helpful and precise: http://photoephemeris.com/
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8038
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby CharlieW » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:55 am

Maverick, I didn't know about that one, but I had investigated something I think is similar: photopills.com. For JMT I'll just carry a data sheet with accurate numbers (above are not since they are for Fresno) and a decent compass. I think one of these phone apps may be more useful to me for everyday use when I'm not planning in such detail (and don't have to worry about charging a phone in addition to camera).
User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: JMT(+side trip) planning for magic hour and night photos

Postby CharlieW » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:48 am

Someone asked upthread about gear. This has evolved quite a bit over the last 3 months:

Sony a7r w/ FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (21.3 oz.; inclds battery and tripod mount)
REI Trail 2 Waistpack (4.8 oz.; fits above configuration snugly)
Sirui T-025x Tripod w/ ball head, top extender pole removed (27.7 oz.)
Suntactics sCharger-5 (8.6 oz.)
USB2 charger cable (0.8 oz.; I may bring extra as this is a likely failure point)
extra 64Gb SD card (negligible)
2 extra batteries (3.2 oz.)
Rokinon 24mm f/1.4, packed away for night shooting (23.1 oz.)
Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 (16.9)
(& some cleaning gear)

So about 6 lbs including power. That's a mix of owned and rented gear. Actually, much of my "evolution" came about because I payed $75 to lensrentals.com for a year of free shipping, allowing me to try out different options (I highly recommend this to anyone). I first tried Sony RX1r thinking I would go very simple and light (18 oz but fixed 35mm). I think my creativity is better when I have only one focal length to think about. However, it just won't do the job I outlined above, so gear list had to expand. I took some picts with the above setup (35mm lens only) on a recent trip up to the Ontario side of Lake Superior, posted at my brand new photo site here. Hopefully I'll have a nice Sierra section there in September! (And a trip report with photos here of course.)

One equipment note: Contrary to reviews, the a7r (and I assume all other a7 cameras) charges the battery in only 2 hours if you use a 2 amp USB wall charger and decent cable. It charges in 3 hours with perfect sun from my Suntactics sCharger-5. (The camera comes packed with a 0.5amp USB wall charger and a very wimpy cable that make this 5-6 hours, the spec given in reviews.)

I'm currently playing with different ways to arrange gear on myself. The waistpack with its tiny load is quite comfortable strapped under backpack, with compartment laying over backpack straps in front. It's easy to get to and doesn't obstruct my view of the ground. I hiked many miles (in dark and/or rain) in Ontario with the Sirui tripod simply tucked over my waistpack strap. With backpack I'm experimenting with a loop on shoulder-strap. (The trick with this tripod is to leave the top extender part at home. It all balances much better that way in its folded configuration without flopping around. And more stable as a tripod without it.) The Rokinon stays packed away for night shooting only. I still have to figure out how to carry the Zeiss Batis lens. I'd like to have it out and available, maybe on the other shoulder strap in some protected compartment (?). This is a rental and I understand that sand is the one thing not covered by the "lenscap+" insurance.
User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to High Sierra Photography / Videography



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 5 guests