Laurent Baig – The Wild Light

May 29, 2008

Paria Canyon Journey

Filed under: Backpacking, Colorado Plateau, Photography — Tags: , , , , , — Laurent @ 12:09 am
Boxelder in Canyon

Boxelder in Canyon

May 8-13, 2008 I trekked with some friends starting at wirepass trailhead through to Lee’s Ferry at the Colorado River via Paria Canyon. It’s the first time I’ve backpacked seriously with my large format 4×5 camera and I had some concern as to whether I’d last. I did just fine.

I madly prepared for the trip. I’d done overnighters, but nothing of this extent and I was very concerned about every ounce as I wanted enough energy for the trip, both walking and for photographing. I started by thinning my camera weight down to 16 lbs. This may sound like a lot, and it is for todays D-SLR shooters, but 4×5 is my camera of choice and so 16 lbs of camera gear I carried. My kit consisted of 3 lenses, 75, 135, and 240mm in focal lengths corresponding to very wide, just wider than normal (50mm) and short long (about 70mm) in 35mm lens speak. I didn’t use the 75 at all. I carried a 4 lb Osaka camera, and a 4 lb tripod & ball head. I brought 40 sheets of film, some filters, a Canon G9 to take snapshots and meter with, a cable release, and a Black Diamond Bbee sack to carry it all in.

As for camping gear, I used a Mountain Hardware Phantom 32 sleeping bag, a Feathered Friends Bivy, an esbit stove (that my friend Scott hates), 1 pot, a cup, toothbrush and paste, wipes, TP & shovel, a spoon, some cord, knife, duct tape, a water filter, and lip balm. I carried about 3 lbs of extra clothing and 2-3 lbs per day of food. I knew I’d be exerting myself, so I figured on the heavy side for food knowing that if I forced myself to eat, the weight would dissipate. I also carried up to 3 liters of water. My total pack weight came in around 55 lbs. For a pack I use an older Osprey Aether 75 and it handles the weight quite well.

Mostly I was worried about the first day. I often don’t travel that far in a single go, and we were heading out 12-13 miles depending on which route description you referred to. In the end all went quite well and we were happy at the campsite by 3pm. I’d started at 6am and stopped here and there to take some digisnaps. I didn’t stop to take any images with the 4×5, a choice I regret and a topic I may post about another time. The following days I did break out the 4×5 when the mood struck me and this boxelder in canyon glow was one of the results that I was very pleased with.

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