60 Miles Later

Hey all- I kept meaning to post pictures from our backpacking trip way back in July, and kept forgetting. But here it is, an extra-long backpacking post- finally!

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^from left to right: Robin, me, my mom, Laura and Lori

In case you didn’t hear, my mom and I, and three other women, went on a backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail at the beginning of July. We covered about 60 miles in eight days.

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There was a ton of preparation for the trip- tents, clothes, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacks, boots and food. We must have packed and repacked our bear canisters at least half a dozen times each, just to make sure that all of our food would fit inside. We made many, many trips to the outdoor section of Wal-mart, REI and Sports Authority and we talked to veteran backpackers and got lots of advice. Luckily for us, we were able to borrow a ton of our gear from friends, which made a huge difference in cost.

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Final cuts in what we were taking were made the night before we hit the trail, in a friend’s little cabin in Bishop. We pulled out absolutely anything that was not completely necessary- every ounce counts. We also adjusted straps and made sure that everything was packed correctly, and then we had our final weigh-in. My backpack came in at 37.5 pounds and my mom’s weighed in at 43 pounds- a bit above what we were shooting for, but we had to make it work.

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When we finally set out, I was kind of nervous- I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and I was tentative about the approaching challenges. We all got into a groove quickly though- setting up camp, cooking meals, purifying water, and attempting to clean up in a freezing cold stream (eek!) became second nature to us.

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There were definitely challenges. By the fourth morning, after an extra-long day the day before, I was done. It was the one time I cried on the trip, and the only real reason for it was that I was down-right tired. My body was sore from so much hiking and dealing with the altitude was getting to me. It was all up-hill from there though- somehow, your body begins to adjust to the constant movement and the heavy pack. There were many times when walking without a backpack on sounded like a dream, but that was all just part of the adventure.

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The beauty of the Sierra’s completely and totally made up for all of the physical and mental challenges. I’ve never been anywhere quieter or cleaner and I’ve never seen sky that blue or water that crystal clear. The beauty was indescribable- pictures don’t even come close to capturing it. God’s creation absolutely blew me away- if He put that much thought and detail and majesty in just the 60 miles I experienced, imagineย how much more there is to explore!

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Another awesome part of backpacking is the people- only first names are given- on the trail, that’s all that’s necessary. Sometimes, we’d hear what a person did for a living, or what brought them to backpacking, ย but 99% of the time, the topic of conversation was what we were doing at that very moment. Everyone had issues with their backpacks, everyone dealt with sore muscles and not getting enough sleep at night. But best of all, everyone was experiencing the same beauty and same accomplishments- thoseย things bonded us.

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Before we left on the hike, Robin, who was the leader of our group, mentioned that she was itching to just get out on the trail again. I didn’t quite get it- what was the allure? I understand now, even if it’s still hard to describe. Since we’ve been home, I’ve been thinking about our trip. A lot. Despite how hard it was at some points, I can’t wait to go out again. There’s something about knowing that you’re carrying everything you need to survive on your back. And the accomplishment that came with knowing what I had just managed to do,ย instilled a huge amount of confidence in regards to my physical and mental capabilities. In the end, it was all completely worth it, and absolutely something I’d do again ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Jordan

 

Rejoice with Singing

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Another gorgeous sunset the other evening- God is the best artist. There was such a good lesson in that sunset too- if you looked directly at the horizon, at the place where the most vibrant sunset colors normally take place, there was only fog and low-lying clouds. Upon looking up though…breath-taking.

He loves us so much that he uses something as beautiful as a sunset to remind us of what we need to know. I could practically hear him saying ‘Look up! Look up! Remember, I take great delight in you; you can just be still. I love you so much that I sing over you with joy.’

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

 

Jordan

My Photography Gear

Because of the pictures that I take for the blog, I’ve had a few different people ask about my camera equipment. I’m borrowing almost all of it from my uncle, which I am soย thankful for. I’m really excited about buying my own camera sometime soon (hopefully!), but for now I have really enjoyed trying a couple different cameras out and getting a feel for what I’ll want in my own camera.

I tend to be pretty simplistic when it comes to setting up the pictures for the blog, but I’m hoping to experiment a bit more with the pictures in the future. All of the pictures on the blog, unless otherwise noted, are original- I take the majority of the pictures, and my mom takes the rest. If I’ve only gotten one thing out of doing this blog, it’s how much my pictures have improved. I’ve really enjoyed the learning process.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about my photography or the equipment I use, please do not hesitate to leave a comment or email me at mydaughterandiblog@gmail.com. I’d absolutely love to hear from you!

Nikon D3100

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This is the camera that I’m using right now- it’s small and light and the menu is easy to use. I’m not sure if I like it as much as the D200 (see below), but that isn’t exactly surprising considering the price difference. I guess that you get what you pay for, and for this price range, I really like this camera.

Nikon D200

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This is the first DSLR camera that I’ve used and I loved it. I borrowed it for about 6 months and by the time I returned it to my uncle, I felt like it was my baby ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s considerably bigger and heavier then the D3100, and it is an older camera with less flashy menus etc. But there’s something about it that I really loved- it just seemed so consistent.

And I appreciate the fact that the camera didn’t make as many decisions for you – the computer doesn’t override the photographer’s decisions in the same way that the D3100 does sometimes.

Nikon Nikkor 18-70mm Zoom Lens

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Just the basic, all-around lens that I keep on the camera nearly all of the time.

Meike Auto-Focus Macro Extension Tube Set

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These things are awesome. As someone who photographs food a ton, a macro lens is indispensable. There a couple problems with macro lenses though- first, it’s another lens to bring with you, and if you’re short on space in your camera bag, one less lens can make a big difference. Second, and most important to me at least, is the price difference. Macro lenses run anywhere from $300 to $2000, so they are definitely a big investment.

This set of three macro lens adapters runs for about $70- so there is no beating the price. One thing to keep in mind is that I’ve never used a true macro lens, so I can’t compare the quality of the photographs they take, only the price and convenience.

Brown Leather Vintage Camera Bag

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I think that a camera bag is the only piece of photography “equipment” that I’ve actually purchased. This particular bag is just a bit different than the one I have (mine doesn’t have the flap closure pockets on the sides). I didn’t love the idea of carrying around the large black camera bag everywhere I went, so I found this one.

It’s the perfect size for me- it’s light and still fairly small, but I can fit the camera with lens attached, an external flash, charger, macro lens adapter, and a few extra batteries and memory cards without the bag being absolutely stuffed. And I love that it looks more like a purse than a camera bag.

Nikon Speedlight SB-800

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I don’t use an external flash very often, but on the occasions when I do I really appreciate it. The built-in flash on the camera tends to way overexpose photos and the flash on this Nikon speedlight is highly adjustable.

And that’s it in the way of the equipment I regularly use. One other invaluable thing is a good editing program- currently I’m using and loving PicMonkey, which is free and awesome. I would like to get into Photoshop a bit more though- I’m sure that my photos would benefit from a more advanced program.

Jordan