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Being properly kitted out

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Being properly kitted out

Postby Donald » Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:31 am

First of all, Hello from Scotland.

I am a new member on the forum. In 3 weeks time I begin my holiday/vacation of a lifetime as a treat to myself. This is coming up to 2 years since my wife died, so it's time I learned to fly solo. Like I say, this is my photo trip of a lifetime. I'm going to be spending time in Yosemite Valley but also out in the Eastern side, staying in a cabin at the Tioga Pass Resort. In all, I'm going to be 24 nights in the area, 100% devoted to photography.

My first question on here is - What sort of weather should I be expecting. Or more accurately, what sort of clothing am I likely to need? I know nothing can be precise, but given I hope to be out very early morning and late into the evenings, should I be thinking about cold weather gear. Any advice or suggestions, welcomed.



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Re: Being properly kitted out

Postby rayfound » Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:38 am

Mid- september can be very unpredictable. Here's what you can count on: As soon as the sun goes down, high elevation locations will chill down pretty quickly - nights will likely all hit lows in the Mid-20s to low-30s above 10,000 feet or so. Afternoon thundershowers are possible, but I wouldn't expect them really frequently. The reality is you may be dealing with smoke from wildfires, so make sure your photography plans can be flexible and be willing to drive to get away from areas impacted by haze (if that is a factor when you visit).

Early morning and Late evening, when the sun is not out, plan for temperatures that can include right about the freezing line, layered so you can quickly adjust as the sun comes up. It will be warmer at lower elevations, and cool off more slowly after sunset.

A great resource can be our National Weather Service. Here s a link to the weather forecast of your resort: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.ph ... 7XH3ZgrIvg

note, on the map, you can click around and get localized forecasts for any points - note these are just the "overall weather model" projections, but I, personally, have found these point forecasts to be good enough for trip planning.
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Re: Being properly kitted out

Postby The Other Tom » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:14 am

Hi Donald. Welcome to HST.
I assume you're going to be staying in a cabin for the whole trip as opposed to camping. As Rayfound said, early morning temps can be cold in Sept (actually anytime in the Sierra). I've seen it around -10C in August, with snow. My guess it will be somewhat cooler in Sept but unpredictable because it's the "shoulder" season, i.e., change from fall to winter. If you're staying inside at night it won't be too bad unless you want to do some star photography in the middle of the night (which I highly recommend by the way). Day temps shouldn't be too bad, especially if it's sunny. Most people wear polyester long sleeve shirts and pants just to protect against the sun if nothing else. Also get a wide brim hat for the same reason. At night I usually wear a pair of windproof pants (actually rain pants) over my hiking pants and I'm ok. I also wear a down jacket and a beanie at night.
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Re: Being properly kitted out

Postby Donald » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:16 am

Thank you guys. That is very helpful.

Although I won't be camping, I certainly intend to be out doing night-time photography. I also plan to be getting up and out well before sunrise to get to various locations that I've decided I want to be at before dawn.
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Re: Being properly kitted out

Postby fishmonger » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:43 pm

it'll freeze at night up high, almost any night that time of year. Not super cold frost, but a good warm jacket, gloves, fingerless gloves to mess with the camera, something to keep the camera warm for long exposures (the little chemical heater packs sold to hunters are fantastic for that). Bring a good small butt-sized foam pad to sit comfortably while you wait for the light to change. Nice fleece hat for the night, unless you have lots of hair to keep that brain warm.

First snow can happen any time, but low chance of anything major until second week of October.
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Re: Being properly kitted out

Postby Donald » Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:33 am

Thank you. Lots of hair is bit of a distant memory so, yes, my warm hat is on the list. Good one on the foam pad. I'll add that to the list.
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Re: Being properly kitted out

Postby Jimr » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:39 am

Welcome Donald. I hope you capture every single shot you imagine and more ;-) Please share some of them here when PP is done. Maybe a bit of a narrative to go along with them?
What?!
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Re: Being properly kitted out

Postby Donald » Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:42 am

Thanks Jim. And that you for the steer towards this forum.
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Being properly kitted out (2)

Postby Donald » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:46 am

Following on from my last question under the same title, can I ask you guys about bugs etc. Is there a needs for protective lotions or potions at this time of year? Don't know what sort of irritating bugs might be around and what sprays or creams, if any, people find useful. Over here in Scotland we have the dreaded midge.
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Re: Being properly kitted out (2)

Postby The Other Tom » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:52 am

The main "bug" in the Sierra is the mosquito. I don't know how bad they will be during the first week in Sept (there's a thread devoted to mosquito reports) but in general the colder it is, the less of them you have. I always carry a small pump-squirt bottle of bug spray with 100% deet, which is the protective chemical. There are others but I've never used them. My guess is you won't have to worry about them during your visit but others will reply with more accurate info.
As far as lotions go, don't forget the sunscreen. Get something with a SPF rating >30, without an odor if possible, and use it on all areas of exposed skin. The sun at altitude is severe.
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Re: Being properly kitted out (2)

Postby fishmonger » Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:59 am

I've only been up in the Sierras during week 2-3 of September once, and in the high country between Sawmill Pass and Whitney, all above 8500 feet. I saw one skeeter on my tent one morning. It was almost dead from the frost. That's it. No other bug issues.

Generally, the mosquito problems move up from the lower to the higher elevations over the course of the summer as temperatures allow them to hatch higher and higher, while their life span runs out first down low. By September, pretty much all of the lower elevations are bug free. There are regional variations, but nothing to worry about other than sun, thin air, less water than in spring, and cold nights with shorter days in between, It's about as nice as it gets up there from a nuisance point of view. Too bad half the vegetation is already dead. A general "brown look" is what takes over and all the nice contrast from the snow in spring and early summer has long melted away.

When there are mosquitoes, I use 100% Deet from REI (Jungle Juice) in a bottle, rub on skin and clothes. Works good enough that I don't mind hiking in late spring/early summer. In fall, I don't pack any repellant. I do have some bear spray on the shelf - maybe that's useful if you're the last hiker out in late fall when bears are looking at that lone hiker as the very last chance to properly to fatten up ;)
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Re: Being properly kitted out (2)

Postby maverick » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:06 am

Is there a needs for protective lotions or potions at this time of year?


Simple but definite answer is no. If you want to take a small bottle of deet for piece of mind, if you use it, then go ahead.
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