A strange idea of fun

I don’t have many pictures of paths in winter time. Honestly, I don’t spend that much time on paths in winter.

I have the gear to get out in the cold. Well, except for snowshoes and those are pretty easy to come by. Just jaunt down to the REI and rent them for a day. But honestly, I tend to stay down low and out of the snow as much as I can during the cold spots of winter.

shoot-523Winter changes the landscape. It makes it more challenging. It’s not just the monochromatic snow covering everything and making it a little harder to properly meter photos, it’s the fact it slows you down, sometimes tripling the amount of time it takes to get somewhere on foot.

And somewhere along in the huffing and puffing, I always question my sanity.

“OK self,” I’ll think, “Here you are again doing something dumb. It’s freezing. The wind is howling. You just had to stop for a bit to get your breath back so you could curse at the weather. I’m pretty sure what we’re doing here is not what people generally call fun.”

And in a general sense, it’s true. Most people don’t think it’s much fun post-holing up a trail in slushy snow with a 35 mile an hour wind blowing on you to be an amusing undertaking for a Saturday afternoon. Especially when you’re having to keep an eye on the clouds to the west in case they want to come overhead and dump more snow on you.

But not all exercises are purely for fun. Some of them are just to see what happens. Just to see if I can make it.

shoot-521This particular exercise was not successful. The mountain won, and I trudged back down, disappointed. But even in that, it was at least a partial success. It told me I need to work on some areas of fitness, and it’s time to replace my boots. Extra huffing and puffing caused by taking two steps forward and sliding back was not as productive as it could have been.

And yet, hidden in all the swearing and floundering, I was still having fun. Unconventional fun, but still. Between that and what I learned, I still called it a win, and then trudged back down the mountain.

I’ll get it next time.

Simple pleasure

There is a simple pleasure in just walking around with a camera. No real goal or destination, just an amble with a roll of film loaded and a good set of hiking boots on.

shoot-483You don’t need to take much on one of these hikes. A bit of something to eat, because I don’t seem to be able to go for a walk of any real distance without wanting to snack on something. Although, bonus points to you if you can end the walking route with a spot that serves good eats. Pizza and beer are always good eats.

I don’t carry a lot of gear on a walk about. Simplicity is liberating. Just one camera, just one lens, just a couple of rolls of film. That’s all. Simple pleasures become less so when you clutter them up with too much crap and too many gizmos. Which is why I like to walkabout with cameras like my Petri 2.8. Fixed lens, simple construction, even the shutter speeds are limited. Complexity is not what you want when in pursuits of simple pleasures.

shoot-484I won’t even take a pack most of the time. If I’m out in the back country I’ll need to hike a bit more gear, obviously. But for most of these I’ll just be happy in being away and among the trees for a while, so I tend to stay a little closer to home. Tramp along with no expectation of what sort of pictures I’ll be taking. Well, I’ll expect those trees to be in it, but that’s just me. I’ve always preferred the company of trees to people and that’s just getting stronger as I age. But beyond that, I’ll just go see what I can see, and whatever appeals to me is what I’ll take home.

Of course, if you have good company on one of these walks, that’s even better. Someone who can come up with a good subject and talk about it. Someone who can equally be happy in silence while you listen to a stream traverse rocks.

The best part of these simple walks is they are a sum of individual simple things. Each one of the things a joy in and of themselves, combined in a wonderful simple creation.