Friday, July 22, 2016

Come on a Hike With Us 3

Come on a hike with us!

Melinda and I have been really enjoying our lazy vacation together.  After her workshop in T.Y., she headed out to my place in Mokhotlong.  We’ve continued our trend of cooking, playing cards (the tides are slowly turning in my favor), watching movies, and finally hiking.  The other day we decided to hike up Thaba Popa, which the region I live in is named after.  It’s not visible from my hut but our final destination is a radio tower with a nice overlook of Mokhotlong town.

I grabbed my Canon 6D and the incredible 35mm f1.4L lens and we headed out the door.  I would like to briefly mention that my Canon hasn’t been getting much love lately.  All of the black and whites are out of the camera with just a few tweaks on the detail slider in Lightroom.

The hike began like many of my previous ones, with a view of the Senqu River from my “backyard”.  We are in the winter dry season and subsequently, haven’t had any rain in at least two months.  

We began our ascent up Thaba Popa.  My village, Ha Mohlabakobo, is below and the mountain I hiked up HERE is visible in the far right.  Random fact, the pigeons are very colorful around here.  

We talked to a few people along the way and even had a lady run up and hug us as we passed.  With the winter comes harvesting season.  Here some women collect a sage like brush from the hills for kindling.  

The radio tower is visible on the right side of the ridge line.  

A look back on what we’ve covered so far.  The bend in the Senqu River is visible as two dark curves to the right of the center.  My school is the cluster of buildings in the lower left.  We were graced with some interesting clouds along the way.

Stopping for a breather.

Melinda and the sun.  Those colored octagons are lens artifacts called ghosts.  They are octagons because the 35mm lens I was using has 8 aperture blades.  Most people don’t like them but I think they can add some interesting flair to photos.  

Our destination is in the top left of the ridge line.  Each of the spurs contains a small rondavel hut.  These are cattle posts, which are used by rural shepherds.  The white dots in the bottom left are sheep.  

I accidentally took this photo while walking.  It reminds me of a picture of the earth from space.  

A long winded explanation of HDR…
I took an HDR photo of the shadowed side of the ridge line.  HDR stands for High Dynamic Range.  I took two photos of different exposures, one overexposed to get the details and colors from the shaded foreground, and one underexposed to get the details out of the clouds.  The two photos are then merged in software and a single photo with proper exposure on both the foreground and sky is produced.  

This next section is a bit techie and can be skipped…
A stop of light is a unit-less measurement of the amount of light hitting the sensor.  It is the focal length length of the lens divided by the diameter of the aperture.  Because the lens is circular and the area of a circle is dependent on the square of the radius, each increase in a stop corresponds to one half as much light reaching the sensor as the previous stop.  Put another way, at f / 1.4 twice as much light is reaching the sensor as it is at f / 2.0.

The human eye is capable of seeing around 20 stops of light simultaneously, think about looking out a dark window to a bright outside scene.  You can easily make out details of the window sill and trim as well as the outdoors at the same time.  Cameras are getting better and better with each sensor generation but even my full frame Canon is only capable of capturing around 13 stops of light and only 8 stops contain a high level of image detail.  HDR is a way of increasing the overall dynamic range of an image without reducing image detail.  

Per Melinda’s request, class dismissed.  

We’ve arrived at the radio tower.  The whole trip took about 1 hour 40 minutes and we gained approximately 1,800 feet in elevation.  Mokhotlong is visible in the center of the photo.

Here is a small panorama of the landscape.  Eventually I’ll get my carbon fiber tripod out here for some truly awesome panoramic photos.

We ate a small snack at the top.  Melinda was happy as a clam.  Photo taken wide open at f / 1.4.

We hiked back and were greeted with some nice colors from the setting sun.  

Thanks for coming along with us.


- Joel and Melinda

1 comment:

  1. This is Dad
    Panaramic views impressive. Mom talked to Sue Johnson today. Summer is pleasant now. I have that talk at a church tomorrow. Hoping no one will lose their salvation!