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Sage Howls

March 6, 2009 As I crested this hill on the way to the Nordic center, I could see watchful eyes poking out from a ball of fur. I could see the eyes tracking me without moving her snout from between the warmth of her feet. But, after I made a detour in her direction her ears perked up, followed by her head. I wasn't sure of this pooches disposition so I lowered my body and showed her the back of my hand. She reciprocated with a wag of her tail. After I gave her a few pats, I reached for my camera and she began to howl.

The howl resembled my excitement to get on the trails at the Nordic center. After a few days of sketchy stormy weather - that caused an avalanche and road closures - this morning held the promise of a great day on the trails. I thought about joining in on the howl, but thought that might be a bit much this early in the morning.

Earlier when I was gearing up, I had an internal debate about carrying my camera gear - a 1 series EOS and 17-35L - along with the water, trail mix, jacket, extra fleece, and the other gear that weighed down my backpack. On tap for today would be some cross country skiing - and with my cardio strength in question - I might be showing prudence to go light. But then again, photography seems to take a priority, and once your priorities are set why change.

It hasn't escaped me that photography and many outdoor activities are the antithesis of each other in the weight department. You pay a premium for lightness when it comes to outdoor gear. Expensive exotic materials are used to shave ounces from the bottom line weight totals. Quality optics and other photographic equipment, on the other hand come in bulky unwieldy heavy packages. Even when shopping for a photographer's backpack I'm frustrated to no end, it serves one purpose: to hold camera gear. When I hike with it there is no place to put a jacket, or water, or food, or anything else that a photographer may want while practicing his photography. I do draw the priority line at my survival.

But still I make do and stuff my camera and other gear into my backpack. I should mention, there is a benefit that I find when taking my camera gear while participating in cardio centric outdoor activities, and that is when I get winded it gives me a good excuse to stop, catch my breath, and snap some photographs. It also helps to keep my head up - even when under a back breaking load - watching for scenic vistas and happy snap opportunities. Sticking to your priorities does have its rewards.

I howl with satisfaction as I process my snaps from the day.



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