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Linda JeffersIn a world of so many great photographers and writers, I am venturing into some unknown territories, leaving comfort zones, finally very willing to practice the art of seeing. By maintaining the practice of posting daily photos, I hope to continue learning about the possibilities that I trust are out there for the taking.

Come join me on my journey!

Getting backpack contents, food and maps ready.

Looking at my upcoming months’ activities, I decided to begin in earnest, readying all I’ll need for the April backpack with JJ and Jeff.

While figuring out what I need, I work off an inventory of previous backpacking trips so I’m not reinventing the wheel each time. I emptied my backpack of much of what I usually use on trips and first took stock of the most important gear, making sure everything was in working order. I even opened and set up my Tarptent. The last thing I need is a tent that doesn’t go up and stay up. After an incident while cowboy camping (no tent) where a scorpion crawled across the groundcloth 3 inches from my hand (while journaling), I no longer cowboy camp.

I made good headway today. My backpack is mostly trip ready with everything I will need. Next is planning food for the 11 days. The lighter my food, the lighter my pack. Hence I started dehydrating. Today I made Kale I’ll sprinkle on meals I cook. Last month I made beef jerky and those breakfast banana thingies I posted a photo of on February 22nd. Next, I’ll start thinking of dinners. I’ll probably buy them from this company.

Ray didn’t know what Kale was. Here is the dictionary definition:
Main Entry: kale
Pronunciation: \?k?l\
Function: noun
Etymology: Scots, from Middle English (northern) cal, from Old English c?l — more at cole
Date: 14th century

1 a : cole b : a hardy cabbage (Brassica oleracea acephala) with curled often finely incised leaves that do not form a dense head; also : its leaves used as a vegetable.

Steamed Kale ready to be dehydrated.

3 hours later - dehydrated, crispy, Kale.

Tailwinds, how’s it looking? Not the kale:-)

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Saturday morning Club hike up Murray Hill.

It was raining this morning. I figured no one would show up for this morning’s MHCC Hiking Group hike, to do the 9 mile long and 2500 feet elevation gain/loss loop hike up Murray Hill. I was going though as I don’t have a lot of time to get in shape carrying my backpack. Today I upped the weight of the pack to 28 pounds.

But Steve and Heidi showed up and I was thrilled to have company. It was raining a little when we drove to the trail, but not much. At the top of Murray Hill, two hours after we started hiking, the rain came and we cut our break short because we got cold.

Moments after descending from the Peak, I remembered we hadn’t taken the traditional group photo. Shivering and wet, Steve and Heidi posed while I set the timer, in the rain, and we got our shot.

Me, Steve and Heidi posing for a self timed group shot.

This week’s photo assignment is stripes. Do you think this rainbow qualifies as a stripes submission? I don’t. But we were thrilled to see such a colorful rainbow from Murray Hill.

Just a little light show.

PCT Class of 2010 bandana.

I wonder how many PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) backpackers read my blog.

Each year about 300 thru-hikers start out in late March through late April to backpack 2,660 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. This adventure can take about 4 to 5 months. I backpacked the PCT as a thru-hike in 2002. On this adventure of my life, I met some of the best friends I have today. Two friends (Yogi and Cupcake) and I, following the completion of our backpack, wanted to give a gift to the upcoming year thru-hikers. Our gift had to be light weight, useful and memorable. We came up with the idea of gifting a bandana. The first PCT Class bandana was gifted to the Class of 2003 thru-hikers. Since then, each year for 8 years now, we have continued the bandana gifting tradition. Follow this link to read the story of the bandanas, located on the ADZPCTKO backpacking site.

Gotttago, Cupcake and Yogi

This is the first year we have used a color (pink) that may cause some grumbling. We’ll see.

This year's PCT Class Bandana

Which camera to take backpacking?

Up and out for a 6:30am Bump and Grind hike with Mary Kay. Home and out the door for a walk around the neighborhood with Ray. 7 miles today.

This photo was a lame attempt at shooting for this week’s online photo class assignment which is “Stripes”. I applied a filter to get the black and white look.

Posing for this week's class assignment, Stripes. (will not be submitting this photo for the class, but it's fun.)

I’m thinking I like my old compact camera – the Canon Powershot A650 more than the new Canon G11. I haven’t really spent time learning about the G11 but I’ve noticed more shutter lag than the Powershot. I also do not like a couple of other things:
1. The piggy backing dials are not easy to isolate and turn without sometimes turning the wrong dial. For someone with large fingers it would be really difficult.
2. This is probably my fault because of lack of understanding, but when I expose for the light sky, holding the shutter halfway down to re-frame the shot, the exposure changes to read the recomposed area.
3. The camera has a minimal right hand almost negligible nub hold, much smaller than what the Powershot A650 has, which makes it difficult to sustain a secure grip. The Canon G11 comes with a neck strap and I know why. I have almost dropped the camera many times. Not having a camera that I can quickly and securely hold is terrible for backpacking/hiking.

So, I think I’ll give Ray the G11 and continue using my tried and true Canon Powershot A650. I know the A650 so well too. I find it frustrating and time consuming using a new camera. I don’t like indecision. So now, I’m off the fence. I’m taking the Powershot A650 backpacking.

San Jacinto never ceases to amaze me.

This morning.

San Jacinto's many looks.

Today’s blog.

I am lucky and most grateful to be one of a wonderful family of women (and not all of them were present at Debbie’s Birthday Brunch last Saturday).

Debbie's family.

I’m going backpacking, I’m going backpacking!!! And I’m training for when I leave April 5th!

Did a great hike up Hwy 74 on the Cactus Trail with Bonnie and Heidi.

Heidi trying on my backpack during a break on our 8.5 mi hike today.

Bonnie, with Heidi and my reflection in her glasses.

So much going on in so many different areas.

While at my sponsor’s Birthday Brunch on Saturday, one of the women went out to her car and brought in her dog.

In season.

Yesterday I used up some really ripe (brown skinned) bananas to make fruit leathers using the dehydrator. It is always a challenge finding sweet treats that don’t contain sugar. Here is the recipe I put together, using up what I had on hand. As you’ll see, I didn’t pay much attention to amounts as I used what I had on hand.
4 large very ripe bananas (the kind that you don’t want to eat because they are so brown.)
1/2 tsp bottled vanilla
oat bran (can’t remember how much, maybe a half a cup)
oatmeal (approximately 1/2 c., I think)
chopped fine walnuts and walnut meal (at the bottom of a container I use to hold walnuts)
raisins (don’t remember how many but maybe 1/2 c.)

Mash the bananas with all the rest of the ingredients.
Spread mixture on plastic dehydrator trays (I spray a little Olive Oil Pam on a paper towel and wipe each tray, hoping the mixture won’t stick too bad)
I spread and flatten the mixture as equally thin as I can get it, using the back of a spoon to flatten the 2 tablespoon drops of the mixture.

I set the dehydrator to 135.
I cook the mixture for 3 hours and then turn it over. (I use a pie server to turn the gooey mixture over and make sure to re-flatten the mixture so it drys all the way through.)
I cooked the turned mixture another 1.5 hours.

Here is what the end product looks like (not out of focus like they look in the photo though:-)

Banana leathers plus.

Ummmm good.

p.s. I will never be a food photographer. I finally gave up trying to get this photo looking good.

Up to and back from Concord in one day.

Yesterday was a long day. It was in fact a 24 hour long day.

I drove to Concord, California, a 5.5 hour drive with Milly who I’d picked up at 5:45am, to attend my sponsor Debbie’s 34th birthday brunch. There were about 36 of us in attendance, happy to be seeing each other again. As always the annual gathering was uniquely special, memorable and unifying.

I almost made it back home after leaving Concord at 6pm, and after dropping Milly off in Encino, but I was smart and instead pulled into a rest area at 1:30am, 36 miles short of Palm Springs. I was lucky to find an empty parking space where I became one of many, auto and truck drivers, reclined in our seats hoping to catch enough sleep to continue our journey. Two hours of fitfully napping, I pulled out of the rest area and headed home, still slapping my face to stay awake.

Me and my sponsor, Debbie.

Milly, Debbie's sponsor and Debbie.

Just another light show over the San Jacinto Range tonight.

Let there be light.

Two hours in Barnes & Nobel.

Each week I spend time in a bookstore reading what I always read – photography books.

Vince used to call where you spend money you don’t need to spend, leakage $$$. It’s emotional spending…..you know, if I buy ____ ___, I’ll feel better.

I’m sure glad I don’t spend $300 a month on books anymore. Right LR? You probably wish I were still into buying books rather than the expensive photo gear habit I have these days.

Tonight I used up the remaining Barnes & Nobel gift cards on the 2 photography books I bought and only had to pay an extra $21 out of pocket. Pretty good LR, right?

I’ve missed your comments LR and hope this blog will get your creative juices flowing. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Packing and shooting.

Tomorrow I leave to spend the night in LA. Ray will be home to hold down the fort. Saturday morning I pick up Milly and we drive to Oakland for my sponsor Debbie’s 34th Birthday Brunch. There will be 36 of us.

Debbie asks that we all have a photograph taken with her. We take a group photo also. Each year I am the dedicated photographer. Hopefully this year some of what I have learned in the last year will contribute to making us all look beautimous. I am bringing off camera flash lighting equipment and a rhttp://www.lindajeffers.com/blog/2010/02/packing-and-shooting/eflector. Whether I use this equipment, that I’m not too comfortable using, is another story. I do enjoy the opportunity to practice and am grateful I have subjects to practice on. Someone else asked me to photograph her with her sponsees, after my friend Carol D. referred me as someone who likes to shoot people. Thanks Carol.

This photo of me, no make-up, no hair “do” and lots of old lady neck wrinkling, was one of many shots taken today, practicing with off camera flash lighting. Now I’m off to watch more of Zach Arias’ One Light DVD.

Self timed portrait (?), trying to learn off camera lighting.

Well I’ve committed to JJ, I will be backpacking along the PCT from the Mexican/California border home early April.
This photo is for JJ, Jeff, me and maybe (hoping) my BFFBBP. (best friends forever best backpacking partner, xx/oo)
I ran outside with my camera to shoot this shot when I realized I really hadn’t shot a photo I could post here today, except for the photo above, which I wasn’t orignially going to post. I figure posting the photo above is good for my ego deflation, so up it went too. Hey, I’m not my looks anymore, I’m so much more. tee hee.

For those of you who know this stretch of mountain, left side of photo begins with Fobes Saddle (5980′), next Spitler Peak, Apache Peak (7567′) (where the fire was last year), Antsell Rock (7679′), South Peak (7884′), Red Tahquitz (8738′), and on the far right behind trees is San Jacinto Peak (10,804′). This year is a high snow year so I don’t know if the PCT thru-hikers will be roading walking to Idyllwild or not.

4 shot pano of the peaks backpackers hike by along the PCT.

While I’m away without!!!!!!!!!!! my computer, I hope to practice blogging from my phone with a photo or two.