View Full Version : Hard earned shot. Big Bend National Park

Michael Lloyd
01-12-2008, 05:23 PM
Early last summer I started planning a backpack trip to Big Bend National Park's southwest rim to shoot a sunrise and or sunset. After much head scratching and planning I finally whittled my backpack weight down to 55 pounds. For you non-packers that's still a lot of weight to haul 10 -12 miles up a mountain. I tend to be conservative when it comes to survival so I had an extra day of water and food on board as well as the standard lightweight backpackers survival package. The real weight was my photo gear and water. I took an RRS ground tripod, a ballhead, an EOS 1DsMKii, and a 24-70 f2.8L IS lens. Big Bend is a desert eco system so I was forced to contend with carrying a full 2 gallons of water with me. That's a lot of extra weight and in hindsight I could have carried 1/2 of that or less since there was flowing water (rare site in the Chisos) along the route up. The rangers won't tell you that there is water available. In fact they will recommend a gallon for each day you are there plus 1 gallon just in case. I did not take a tent. That saved a little over 2 pounds (all of my gear is lightweight). I took a sleeping bag and a bug net for my head (Bug Bivey). I've done a number of day hikes but this was the first one to the middle of nowhere :D I went in September and the park was almost empty. I was the only person on the list for campsites on the SW Rim. It's a really strange feeling to be 10 miles from "civilization" with nobody else around. No cell phone. No sound but some birds and a small herd of deer passing through the camp. One literally came up to within 3' of me. It's an equally strange feeling to wake up in the middle of the night and see stars and not my ceiling fan :D The hike took about 7 hours up and 4 hours to come back down and I can't wait to do it again.

Enough babbling- Here's a sunrise image from the trip. I am torn between posting it and the night shot that I took the night before I went up. I guess that I can post it tomorrow.

ISO 400
1/2500 @ f2.8 (this looks odd to me but that's what the EXIF says it was)


Paul Marcellini
01-13-2008, 07:29 PM
Well now I know what I missed. Was going to go right before Christmas. This looks like a beautiful place. Bet it was great to be there. I think if you could bring the exposure up a notch in the foreground it would really make it pop. Maybe crop down the sky to above the biggest cloud, as thats where my eye keeps going, not the actual scenery.

Michael Lloyd
01-13-2008, 11:29 PM
The hike to the SW rim is gorgeous Paul. I took the Pinnacles trail up per the suggestion of some people over on BigBendChat.com. If you decide to go be sure to check them out. They are a ton of help.My campsite was SW4. It's pretty popular and I could understand why once I got there. When the trail breaks out onto the rim the visual rewards are amazing.

I just finished cropping it to 10 x 20 and took your suggestion. It's going to make a nice looking print. Thanks for the suggestion.