Backpacking in Grayson Highlands

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Jan 14, 2016
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292
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Greensboro, NC
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Ross
Last weekend I was up in Grayson Highlands State Park VA doing some backpacking and I thought I'd share some of the shots I got. Grayson highlands is a beautiful area home to Mount Rogers(the highest point in VA), beautiful blue ridge mountains, and wild mountain ponies. The weather especially on the first night was a bit chilly(sub zero with windchill:confused:) but it was a beautiful weekend and I came away with some shots I'm happy with and I got to test some new gear. This was a prep hike for going to Philmont scout ranch in New Mexico this summer so I picked up some new gear to try out in order to bring photography stuff with me on the trip. I bought the Peak design capture clip pro-https://www.peakdesign.com/product/clips/capturepro/, longer screws to allow it to work with my thicker pack straps, the mefoto backpacker tripod- http://www.mefoto.com/products/backpacker.aspx, and the Nikon 18-140 lens. The capture clip was phenomenal and a great way to keep a camera accessible without tons of straps everywhere. I like the tripod, it's still not light by backpacking standards(as my hips will tell you) but lighter than my previous one and does it's job well. The 18-140 is a step up from my kit 18-55 and 55-200 that I am planning on being a sort of all purpose walk around lens to avoid switching lenses while hiking. It is much more versatile and let me get some of the more focused shots instead of strictly wide angle which is what I normally do. Because it was a backpacking trip I couldn't always get the best light or spend time in a scene finding the best angles but I had a great time and I hope you enjoy the pictures. If anyone has critiques please give them, I always want to improve, and any other general comments/ questions are very welcome as well. Thanks!
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The sun beginning to illuminate the valleys near our camp the first night.
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The one astro shot I got the first night before my battery(and hands) gave out due to the cold. I had read that warming batteries back up will often renew their charge and that was the case here. I had extras but I put it in the bottom of my sleeping bag that night and it worked the whole rest of the trip.
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A interesting tree near our campsite the second night.
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The ridges near our Saturday camp as sunset approached.
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A sunset shot
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The sunset glow illuminating the ridges a beautiful orangey purple.
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A shot off the side of the trail, where the capture clip excelled.
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The "wild mountain ponies" Grayson highlands is known for are apparently a little too used to handouts but it allowed me to get some shots I was very happy with.
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Part of our group on our way out Sunday morning.

If anyone is interested in more, the rest are on my smugmug here- https://rossthomas.smugmug.com/Travel/Grayson-Highlands/i-q9m5psj
 

LyndeeLoo

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Your images are wonderful, RJ and that starry sky photo is fantastic! It looks as though you had a wonderful time! Well done on the shooting!
 
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Can you give us a little more information about how you used the CapturePRO clip? On the shoulder strap or waist strap? Also, what camera body were you using? I'm trying to get an idea of whether the clip would work for me - I can't imagine how my D750 w/24-120mm lens could safely & comfortably sit on my chest, or hang from my waist while I'm loaded down with backpacking gear.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
292
Location
Greensboro, NC
Real Name
Ross
Can you give us a little more information about how you used the CapturePRO clip? On the shoulder strap or waist strap? Also, what camera body were you using? I'm trying to get an idea of whether the clip would work for me - I can't imagine how my D750 w/24-120mm lens could safely & comfortably sit on my chest, or hang from my waist while I'm loaded down with backpacking gear.
Hopefully these pictires will help explain how I placed it.
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without the camera inserted
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With the D3200 and 18-140 attached.

I was using it with a D3200 so not a large body at all, mounted on my shoulder strap. From calculating the weights the D750 weighs about 3.2 pounds with that lens while the D3200 with 18-140 weighs about 2.2 pounds so there's about a 1 pound difference and whatever the size difference is. Honestly once I got it on and started hiking I didn't notice it. I know this body and lens are also smaller in terms of dimensions but I don't think it would get in the way too much while walking either. The 1 pound could make a difference but I don't see it being too off putting if you have 20-40 pounds on but it could be so you could try going to a local shop and seeing if they would let you try before your buy(I couldn't but wanted to because there are no brick and mortar shops around here). What I can say will be same is that it made access to my camera incredibly easy. I want to bring my gear with me but I don't want to hold everyone up when I want to take a picture by having to take off my pack, get it out, turn it on, etc, etc. Having it right there meant that I took shots while on the trail, at least 3 that i posted were taken this way, and no one had to be held up in order for me to do this. The clip is rated to hold 500 pounds and it's a simple button release(that can be locked if the user wants) to release it. As you can probably tell I loved it and would 100% recommend it for smaller bodies and probably for larger cameras especially if you could try it before you buy.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
292
Location
Greensboro, NC
Real Name
Ross
Can you give us a little more information about how you used the CapturePRO clip? On the shoulder strap or waist strap? Also, what camera body were you using? I'm trying to get an idea of whether the clip would work for me - I can't imagine how my D750 w/24-120mm lens could safely & comfortably sit on my chest, or hang from my waist while I'm loaded down with backpacking gear.
Also if you do get it for a pack with thickish straps be sure to get the longer bolts sold by peak design, I think they're about $10 and should have been included with the clip in my opinion but are essential for getting the clip on any thick strap.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
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292
Location
Greensboro, NC
Real Name
Ross
I've been 3x for the ponies and fall colors, great place for a walk
I really love it, it's where I went on my first backpacking trip and as I saw this weekend it's beautiful in all seasons. I'm really hoping to get up there for some fall foliage this year.
 

Butlerkid

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Beautiful images, Ross!!! I have many fond memories of backpacking trips in the Sierras!!!

BTW - if you number the images it is easier for folks to comment on specific images....

#1 Beautiful! But clean up that dust spot on the left side. LOL!

#2 Spectacular! Love it!

#6 Excellent. Love the layered look!

For 1, 4-10 consider a pano crop.....or a square crop for # 9.....this would eliminate some of the excess sky and strengthen the compositions
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
292
Location
Greensboro, NC
Real Name
Ross
Beautiful images, Ross!!! I have many fond memories of backpacking trips in the Sierras!!!

BTW - if you number the images it is easier for folks to comment on specific images....

#1 Beautiful! But clean up that dust spot on the left side. LOL!

#2 Spectacular! Love it!

#6 Excellent. Love the layered look!

For 1, 4-10 consider a pano crop.....or a square crop for # 9.....this would eliminate some of the excess sky and strengthen the compositions
Thanks! And thanks for the suggestions!
 
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