by Martin Nichols
Back to the Tetrahedron Provincial Park, scene of the epic man-hike a few weeks ago, where things are looking a little different to say the least. These images are taken at a point about maybe a third of the way to the Mt Steele cabin, on an excursion with the lovely Jules to try out a new form of ambulation: namely snowshoes. It was midday when we set out, so I wasn't expecting epic lighting conditions but I threw a camera with a wide-angle zoom in the backpack anyway.
Verdict: snowshoeing is a blast, and can get you to places you generally don't even consider in winter (which is still three weeks away, remember), and if you've got a decent sky to work with you can get some pretty good shots in the middle of the day, even when you're only shooting casually. These aren't bad, but I know I can do better; what messing around out there today for an hour or so has done is convince me of the Tet's potential for some dramatic winter images.
I haven't done an awful lot of shooting in the snow, but I'm now hooked and have learned a few things already.
1. Don't take your incident light meter reading as gospel. Bracketing is highly advised or, as I do (and I know many will disagree with this but it works for me), underexpose whatever your meter says by a full stop. I like some detail in my snow and I can always lighten things up in post, but if highlights are blown...you ain't ever getting them back.
2. If you're sticking to the compacted trail (see first image), most snowshoes can handle it, but if you're venturing out on the powder like I did today use the longest you can lay your hands on; the more surface area the better. Suddenly plunging crotch-deep into the stuff only sounds refreshing, and there's definitely a technique to getting yourself out efficiently and with some degree of dignity...someday I intend to learn it.
Like I say, it's not yet winter and even to my untrained eye this looks an extreme amount of snow for November; something to bear in mind when I return here.
Talking of which...I have heard murmurs of Tet Manhike II, Back Up The Country, featuring the same band of warriors as before. The idea is to do some epic freestyle skiing photography up on Steele. Should be fun; I'm especially looking forward to the arguments about exactly where to start digging to find the cabin.