Pinnacle meadow

The quiet days of August.

August is a time of quiet in the meadows and forests of New Hampshire, as the plants and animals enjoy the long days of late summer after the busy days of spring and early summer. This afternoon I strolled down from the summit of Lyme Pinnacle, through a mature meadow filled with goldenrod and Queen Anne’s Lace, with the crickets chirping and a light breeze blowing puffy clouds in from Vermont. Very peaceful.

What’s in my pack?

Pays to be well prepared.

When I’m out for a dayhike I tend to carry more than most hikers – because I often hike solo, and because I keep my pack pre-filled with the essentials. Below is my full summer kit, which weighs about 10kg (22lb) in typical configuration. Heavy! But I like to be prepared. So what’s inside?

Mindshift Rotation 180º pack.
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Vermont Institute of Natural Science

Always a worthwhile visit.

It’s always worthwhile to visit VINS, especially when they have a special event… today, it was “Marvelous Mammals Day”, so in addition to their display of live raptors (hawks, eagles, owls, etc.) they had several live mammals on display, with expert docents explaining their interesting features. We enjoyed the presentation of a red-tailed hawk, a porcupine, and a possum.

Red-tailed hawk at VINS, Vermont.
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Riverside birds

Camera practice.

I took a short paddle today on the river beside our home, and came across some ducks … and some fast-flying insect-catching birds. I welcome tips about the name of these birds! Update: it appears to be an Eastern Kingbird.

A pair of Eastern Kingbirds, next to the Connecticut River, near home.
An Eastern Kingbird, next to the Connecticut River, near home.
A mallard duck in the Connecticut River, near home.
Mallard ducks in the Connecticut River, near home.

Crop factor

Does size matter?

One of my goals for my recent camera upgrade was to jump from a ‘crop-sensor camera’ (like the Nikon D500) to a ‘full-frame camera’ (like the Canon R5). I had long avoided the full-frame cameras like the Nikon D800 and D850 because they (and their lenses) were so much larger, heavier, and costlier… but I favor smaller and lighter equipment because I like to be able to hike with them.

The switch from DLSR to mirrorless, however, enabled me to get a full-frame camera body (Canon R5) that was actually lighter (738g) than the crop-sensor camera body (Nikon D500) that I had been using (860g). To be fair, though, the R5 with its 24-105mm kit lens was heavier (1438g) than the D500 with its 16-80mm kit lens (1340g). But, I rationalized, it’s full frame! better quality, right?

But what else was I gaining… or losing? People often say that crop-sensor cameras have better ‘reach’ – because their effective focal length is a multiple of the lens focal length, making subjects appear ‘closer’. The truth is much more complicated. Read on.

Canon 500mm; 1/640 at f/7.1, ISO 2000
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Going mirrorless

Time to make the leap!

I’ve been a Nikon photographer for nearly forty years – first with an SLR and then a DSLR – but decided to upgrade to mirrorless and settled on a Canon EOS R5 after extensive research. Here’s why.

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