Today Janice and I awoke to a temperature of 29°F. Yes, fall is here and winter is not far behind. We dressed warmly in preparation for a hike up the West Ledge Trail to the top of Bernard Mountain. To get there, we got onto the Western Mountain fire road and followed it nearly to Seal Cove Pond where there's a little turnout opposite the trail head. Total driving time from our house: about 12 minutes. The fire roads on the western side of Mount Desert Island are within Acadia National Park and look similar to carriage roads (see last photo below). They also provide access to many Quiet Side trails. The West Ledge Trail is a mere 1.6 miles long, is only moderately difficult, and provides spectacular views looking west toward Blue Hill Bay. The summit of Bernard Mountain is tree-covered, but the last part of the trail winds its way through some dense, magical forest where in places I would not have been surprised to see fairies or even flying monkeys.
I carried my usual trail kit for photography, that is, the most lightweight and compact camera and lens combination I own: Canon 5D2 DSLR, Canon 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens, and a Black Rapid strap. The 40mm is only 7/8" long and costs under $200 (used 5D2's are selling for under $900). This kit is still larger and heavier than a point-and-shoot, but it's also a professional quality, full-frame camera. So how did I get the variety of images below with one prime lens that's just on the wide side of normal? For all except the panorama, I simply moved closer to or further away from the subject and cropped a bit which is no problem with a full-frame sensor. For the panorama I took five shots with the camera hand-held vertically and stitched them together using the new Photo Merge Panorama feature in Lightroom CC 2015. On the trail I still wish I had my 5D3 camera, big tripod, and a variety of lenses, but I also wish I was still 20 years old. All that gear would weigh me down and take some fun out of the hike. Fortunately you can do a lot with just one good camera and lens.
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