30 January 2016

Saddle Rock

Santa Barbara front country

I finally stopped searching for a "light weight tripod" and tried searching for a "one pound tripod" instead and this search has yielded much better fruit. I found a backpacking light post to help me out. Well, a little. The original information is actually on a blog and the writer just links to the blog rather than the particular post that is of interest. Wherever that blog post is, I do not know, but a post about making the original tripod lighter is pretty easy to find. Not so easy to understand why it wouldn't come up with the original search. Anyway, that seems a dead end because the tripod (Giottos RT-8150) is not available anymore. On it goes. But the price on the tripod does give a clue to finding the lightest of them. They are also the cheapest. Well, compromises must be made to get the lightest, usually. I tried digging through the tripod offerings of a large online camera shop and found many at about 1.3 pounds. Then there it was with totally different branding, a tripod that comes in at just a pound but is not made to just sit on table tops. The Polaroid PLTRI42 42" travel tripod with panhead. It even claims to have steel legs and is delightfully compact when not in use. It also has a weight limit of only 2 pounds, so I got one of those 1.3 pound tripods to handle the DSLR. It is slightly more than that with the longer zoom lens.

two tripods
Sunpak 5200 DLX (52 inch height) and Polaroid PLTRI42 tripods, which are only $20 each.

It might be fun to photograph a few city lights from above to try out the tripod, so with the larger one in hand, I start up the hill at San Ysidro heading for the flat area above Saddle Rock. It is not the closest trailhead, but after playing with the camera there, I can try it out a little more with a somewhat different view on the way back.

Montecito and Carpinteria
Overlooking Montecito and Carpinteria from the Edison Catway west of San Ysidro Trail.

Arriving with two minutes to sunset, there is not much time to enjoy the big red ball dropping below the horizon, but there is plenty of time to enjoy dusk. A little bit too much time.

tiny bit of sun left
Set up and ready as the very last of the direct sunlight vanishes behind the earth.

lights and clear clouds
It seems like there is a moment when the clouds are clearly distinguishable from the islands. The lights start quickly as the sky darkens.

pink clouds
Painted clouds over the hills as I wait.

Eventually the lights come out and the land around them is dark. The ocean is really quite still and the wharf and harbor lights reflect from it well. There are a few settings to play with on the camera. The hardest thing seems to be figuring out how to use the timer. I do not have a remote trigger, so the timer is necessary to allow things to calm down between hitting the shutter button and it actually going.

Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, the ocean and islands, as night falls.

Santa Barbara harbor
Just the harbor and the wharf.

Deciding I have probably taken the picture I want, I head back. I came along the catway, but go back along McMenemy. The flat above Saddle rock is good for looking out over Santa Barbara, but I want a spot good to look out over Carpinteria and Ventura and the thin bit of lights between the two. McMenemy's bench is not such a good spot, but Girard Trail has some spots on the way to its benches. A bit of fog has drifted in and conditions are not so good for this direction.

arboreal salamander
An arboreal salamander to distract on the way.

coastal lights
A few more coastal lights.

Mostly satisfied, it is time to head home and find something to eat.

©2016 Valerie Norton
Posted 9 Feb 2016

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