Monday, May 29, 2006

The Ball Field - Photo Mission

Last night, Andrea and I headed up to the Ball Field under O'Malley Peak to camp out and take some photos of the sunset. My plan was to get some nice shots of the sun setting over Anchorage, go to sleep, and then get up a few hours later to get pictures of the sunrise (you have to be committed to get sunrise pics in Anchorage in May).

The hike up to the Ball Field is short but steep - basically you walk across the valley from the Glen Alps parking lot and head straight up. Ouch. We had already done a lengthy trail run that day for our Crow Pass training so walking up the steep snow with full packs at 9 pm hurt.
After setting up camp and eating sandwiches we packed up, we started scoping out photo ops. The sun was moving fast and we ran all over the ridgeline looking for good shooting spots. Towards the end, it became a race with the sun but we witnessed a beautiful sunset - the sky was hazy and detail hard to make out but as soon as the sun dipped below the horizon, the whole of the Alaska Range was set up in hard relief against the red sky. It was breathtaking.
As the sun set, we managed to snap off a few good ones. Then we drank some beer we stashed in the snow prior to dinner and hit the sleeping bags around 12:30. My alarm went off four hours later. Andrea, my willing companion only four hours previously, would have nothing to do with sunrise photos so Emerson and I walked to the ridgeline in the growing dawn and took more photos.
Then it was back to bed at 6:30 and breakfast at 9 (which Andrea graciously cooked while I slept). I am working on processing this week and should have some nice images to put up in a couple of days.

We used our new Black Diamond Beta-Mid tent - it is an ultra-light tent that has no floor and pitches with a set of trekking poles. It was an interesting first night - we had trouble keeping the edge of the tent tight against the ground. The wind blew up a bit and the temperature dipped below freezing; Andrea froze in her old sleeping bag. I was toasty, but since my "night" was really only four hours, more testing is needed. All in all, we need some practice pitching this remarkable tent but because it weighs just over two pounds, I think it will be worth it to figure it out.


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