2016 Year in Review
I use the Sony rx100 for landscape photography especially for backpacking trips, but it does not have much zoom capacity to shoot wildlife. So this year on a trip to yellowstone in the winter I started looking for a camera with adequate zoom. I didn't want to have to change lenses, so I went with the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000, a bridge camera with a large sensor.
The Lumix FZ1000 generally had the best reviews on every website, but most of the pictures would turn out blurry when zooming beyond 300mm, it is not a point and shoot camera, a tripod is needed to get the best results.
I would get a few good ones, but overall why have large sensor if you can't get a clear photo? I also felt like I needed more zoom than 400mm, as I was getting rather close to the buffalo here
In the summer, Sony solved this problem by releasing a new version of its bridge camera the RX10 III. It was much improved over the RX10 II in that the range of zoom increased from 200mm to 600mm. Being a fan of the rx100 I traded the FZ1000 for the new RX10 III.
I took the RX10 III on a trip to Churchill in November to shoot polar bears in the wild. It is a great camera, gives clear shots throughout its range, and also has a large sensor like the FZ1000. The extra zoom was also helpful around polar bears! So I now use only Sony cameras for everything
I also purchased a new lightweight shelter the Ultamid 2 from Hyperlite Mountain gear. I tried it out on a trip to the desert in Arizona and Mexico in December, where there would be no rain and I could get used to setting it up properly without having to suffer. It weights one pound, and saves about two pounds from my typical tent the Hilleberg Akto. I'm looking to start doing some packrafting trips in 2018, and I think it will be a good shelter for that purpose as it has enough room for the raft to fit inside to sleep on. I still am going to use the Akto for general backpacking trips since its so easy to set up and the inside never gets wet.
The other purchase from 2017 is the Gossamer gear Mariposa 60 backpack. It is the most comfortable pack I have ever used and weighs less than 2 pounds. Both the Akto and Ultramid 2 fit inside the outside mesh, so there is no need to mix a wet tent with the rest of your stuff. I typically keep my weight between 15-20 pounds on trips so it is a perfect pack for me. The pockets on the outside do a great job and I have not done a single trip without the Mariposa since I bought it.
Below is the summary of the trips I took in 2016:
In January, I went to Yellowstone National Park. Each day I went shoesnowing out on my own to various sections in the park, this place is awesome in the winter, one of the highlights of year.
In February, I made two trips to South America. The first to the Asyen region of Patagonia to visit the new Patagonia Park and the Cerro Castillo mountain range
In late February, I did a traverse of Los Nevados National Park in Colombia and visited sites around the hiking town of Salento including the Cocora Valley, which has the highest palm trees in the world
In March, I visited Bandon Oregon to play the courses at Bandon Dunes. This time of year also happened to be great for waterfalls. I also drove east for a quick visit to Smith Rock State Park
In April, I made what is becoming an annual trip to the desert in Utah. This year I visited Canyonlands NP and Arches NP. The hike through the Chesler park area is one of my all time favorites
In May, I took a return trip to Yosemite NP to see the waterfalls at their peak on the Panorama trail
I also toured the Big Sur Coast
In June I visited some places in northern Norway above the arctic circle. The Lofoten Islands are certainly one of the most beautiful places on earth. I also did a short overnight hike through Rago National Park further down near Bodo.
In early July, I visited the Dolomites for the first time. A different hiking experience with huts throughout the mountains that serve food and give lodging
In late July, I met up with Ben and jumped around the Anchorage area doing several hikes in a short period of time
The Cordillera Huayhuash hike is my favorite of all time, the month of August I did this walk including several day walks in the Blanca region that were also very impressive
In September, I walked through the northern section of Glacier National Park, entering from Canada to reach Boulder Pass on a four day return hike.
In late September, my brother met up with me in Edmonton and we hiked through Mount Robson Park to Berg Lake and Snowbird Pass
In early November, I visited northern Churchill along the shores of the Hudson Bay staying with Churchill Wild Safari in the Dymond Lake Lodge. We saw polar bears every day, fighting, sleeping, waiting for the ice to form so they could get food for the winter.
In December, I toured the border parks along the southern Arizona and Mexican boundry. El Picanate & Gran Desierto del Altar in Mexico was the highlight, although I found all the parks here to be nice this time of year with cooler desert temperatures.