Monday, July 21, 2008
With smokey skies clearing to blue once again it was time for another hike. We chose a short seven-mile hike at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park for some scenic vistas. It would also give me a chance to test out my newest toy, a Canon 24-70 mm f2.8 L series zoom lens.
At just over 4,000 acres this hike would give me lots of wide open spaces to enjoy some fresh air and test out this new lines. With a fast maximum lens aperture of f 2.8 this lens tips the scale at almost two pounds with that hunk of glass up front. Not knowing what to expect weather wise I planned to hike light, the 40D camera body and just the one lens. Reaching the trailhead with hiking partner Alice we greeted with a fog line creeping over the hills along our path.
We chose to tackle the Ridgeline Trail a dirt road that winds up along a ridge topping out at nearly 1,600 feet. On a hot day the wide open trail would bake a hiker in their boots but the fog-cooled wind made for a nice walk, a good change from the stifling valley heat.
Amid the grassland was an odd grove of olive trees. It seemed out of place to have the perfectly planted rows of trees towering above the trail. They were beginning to have olives on the branches and they proved to be a good test of my new lens’ macro capabilities.
Further along the trail live oaks jut up along the dry grass. One massive tree had a branch split off and the twisted and gnarled branches that lay withering provided interesting composition. I switched to black and white for a few and the pictures reminded me of some evil tree from a Tim Burton movie.
Most of our hikes this summer have been in dry conditions and the Ridgeline Trail showed the thirst. The yellow grasses and red leaves stand out as colorful compositions along our path. With the fog nearly burned off at noon we reached our turnaround for the trail loop and headed back, giving way on the trail to the occasional bike and horse riders.
It was a good hike, cool breezes, blue skies and new camera lens, who could ask for more? The weight of the lens wasn’t to bad on the hike and I like the ability to switch from medium wide to short telephoto focal lengths quickly. I am looking forward to mire summer adventures on the trail.