Mountain Camping (In Clouds and Sun) Photography Video

Join me on a late season camping trip high in the Olympic Mountains. This trip was timed with a weather window and days of pre-trip planning. The hike was from the rain forest bottom, high into sub-alpine country, where I would setup basecamp, and wander for hours with my camera and tripod.

Started the trip with the chance of rain, but ended up walking into the clouds, where temperatures plummeted just above freezing. It was really chilly.

The next morning I got rewarded with blue skies and an alpenglow sunrise on the dozens of surrounding peaks.  Amazing!

Olympic Mountains
Late Season in the Olympic Mountains

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Mountain Photography Video Transcripts

Discussing Plan and Gear Considerations

How you doing, I had a chance to do a quick overnight so I took the chance. This may be the last time to get into the high country for the season without having snow on it, so I thought I'd go up.

The route I'm doing is about five thousand feet of ascent and seven and a half miles and it'll get me up into the subalpine country and hopefully I'll be able to do some landscape photography.

I'll set up a base camp up high and then wander around. I brought my cold weather gear because it is possible that it could snow on me if we do get some precipitation up high, so we'll see how it goes.

Thanks for coming along with the ride.

Hiking Up Into Mountains

This section of forest here. You could even see a bit of autumn color there, which is nice. Well I better keep going here, I got a long way to climb.

I wish I had a camera out closer, but I didn't. But right there in the trail, was a nice-sized Bobcat that I walked right up on and then once he saw me turned around and ran the other way. we'll see if I run into him again, probably not.

Well I'm a few miles from where I saw the Bobcat. Still walking up I just took a moment to see how beautiful this section of forest is here. Nice and plush green. Felt a little sprinkles so we'll see if I get rain or not. Alright, continue heading uphill.

I often ask myself why I huff and puff it, up these hills just so I could spend the night up outdoors with all my camping gear and it would be so much easier to be sitting at home on the couch but I think the answer to that is that it I need this time for healing and to decompress my thoughts. I also use it for health benefits, mental and physical. But I don't have to go to the gym like a lot of people do to stay halfway fit. I can just come up here throw a 45 pound pack on and climb up hills.

So I'm about halfway there for my day, to get to my campsite. So everything's going smooth so far, no rain. We'll see how the rest of the trip goes here. I just have to watch out for these also. Devil's Club all over the trail and since I don't wear boots, if I drag my toes across one of those it would be very painful. So I'll check in with you guys in a bit.

Alright, slowly starting to get above treeline here. You can see a little bit of color and then some clouds passing by. My camp's gonna be in the middle of those clouds there so we'll see how it is when it gets up there. Might be a little chilly.

Photography in Different Conditions

Sitting here taking a break watching the clouds go through the area. I have about a thousand feet to climb before I get to my campsite, but I might wander around here and see if I can find a good composition. I only packed a telephoto lens, up to 200 millimeter, on my real camera. So I figured that would force me to find different types of compositions than I usually find with a more wide angle, typical landscape lens. So let me see if I can wander around and find something.

Hiking in Clouds

I'm taking a break underneath these trees here to get out of the clouds. It's pretty drizzly. There were some nice colors down low, but it was so drizzly I didn't want to take the camera out of the dry sack. I'll probably hit it up tomorrow on my way out. We'll see.

You can see some old growth through the mist there. So you can see the last cold front that came through here dropped a little bit of snow so it should make camping interesting. I hope I find a nice little camp spot. I'd rather not camp on slush if I don't have to.

Photographing Autumn Color

Some pretty amazing contrast up here. I have some nice dew. Plants got a little bit of snow in the trees. I got some autumn color. I zoomed in, almost to 200 millimetres, lowered the f-stop to I believe it's f4. And that would blur out the background when you lower that. And then I just wanted to feature the little berries on the end and the drops and then use the plant stems. So I better get going to camp just in case the weather takes a turn for the worst here and we'll see how it goes well.

Finding a Mountain Campsite

I'm glad that there's some running water up here. And I should be able to find a place to camp even though it's pretty soggy. But it'll do. I can see I came from that way down through that melting snow. I was very delicate, so I didn't slip. But I took my time and made it down here.

I made it to camp. I was gonna shoot setting up my camp, but it was just too miserable. So I thought I'd better get my tent pitched and then get all cozy before I start wandering around. Some amazing colors with this fog cloud that's passing through with a little bit of wind.

You can just sit here and stare at this little mist coming through the area. It's quite entertaining.

Hanging Out and Gear Talk in Camp

Yeah, I got my camp all set up. We'll see if the weather breaks enough to bring out the big camera. If not I'll just walk around here with my phone, take a few pictures, maybe some video.

It's pretty chilly out, inside this cloud, but not enough where I had to put on extra layers. I just put a windbreaker on and that kept me warm enough. It's pretty damp on the ground from all this melted snow in this area. So it's kind of like being a refrigerator with a breeze. But I came up here to do this type of camping so I am prepared.

Brought my zero degree sleeping bag, just in case. Even though I won't need it. And my extra insulation for my sleeping pad and stuff so I'm sure I'll be fine.

Go over a few things I brought up here. I got the dirty bag that I keep camp water it in. I got a bottle, sawyer filter, my umbrella, a small pot and then I can cook Esbit cubes to boil water for dinner. and inner tent, inside the teepee, I keep a ground sheet that will help keep the moisture out and help me sleep a lot warmer and like I said before I brought a zero degree bag.

That's a trash compactor bag, the white thing. I do that to protect my sleeping bag. And then I keep a second bag towards the top of my pack and I keep my camera and any type of layers that I need to get to real quick. Mainly it's just to protect the camera, my top priority. I can't afford to replace that.

Photography Near Campsite

I decided to get the real camera out for a moment. Let's see with this composition i zoomed in and then tried to make a picture frame with the green there. And try to capture a bunch of that mist that's on all the plants there.

I got the tripod set up. I really like that little orange plant right there so I thought I'd use the rule of thirds and put it at the top right third and then use all the red to kind of make a minimalist type shot. Hope you guys like it.

Cooking Camp Food and Days Reflections

Alright, it's time to make dinner. Started my Esbit cube. Gonna put the pot on it.

For dinner I'm having dehydrated kale, dehydrated black beans and then gonna throw like an Asian ramen in with it to make like some sort of soup.

I got the dinner going there. Since it's boiling I'm going to add the noodles and the broth packet.

It's gonna get dark in about 10 minutes so enjoy the last of the daylight. Not a shabby view from the tent here.

It was kind of rough going today for photography because of clouds, and then cold wind and mist. I wanted to do a little bit more, in my brain, when I originally set off for this trip but, you can't control the weather. So we'll see how it is tomorrow.

My noodles are almost done here, so almost time to eat. I'm looking forward to getting to some hot fluids inside me.

It's a little bit damp and chilly out. Dinner is done. Time to eat and then lay down and get warm in my sleeping bag. That sounds really good to me.

I just was sitting here thinking I can't believe how still and quiet it is here in this cloud.

Up Before Sunrise and Discussing Sleep

As you can see, we're up before sunrise. We're gonna try to get a landscape shot. Perhaps some alpenglow or some other lighting scene. We'll have to see what unveils.

I slept pretty good last night. I tossed and turned a bit. It was pretty damp from the snow that has been melting. But overall the weather actually broke right after sunset last night. All the clouds lifted and I could see the Milky Way and stuff. I was really disappointed in myself for not bringing my landscape lens so I could get some star shots, it would've been perfect. But oh well, you can't do everything. So let's go see what we can find here.

Sunrise Mountain Photography Tips

I found my first composition of the morning. I really like those jagged peaks over there. I like the minimalist approach. It has all the little jagged peaks and then I used the rule of thirds and put the peaks on the lower third. And then the sun coming up creates a transition in the sky. I thought that was really trippy. So I hope you guys enjoy that.

Alright, we're up here patiently waiting for the magic moment here on the mountain. Alpenglow is what I'm going for. For those that don't know what that is, that's just where the sunrise hits the mountain at the first moment and creates lovely reflective light that's orange and red and all those types of colors. You've probably seen that moment a lot of photographs.

So sit here and wait in a little bit of breeze and cold patiently and hopefully it pays off. You shouldn't have too much more to wait . I would probably say judging by the pink to purple transition line right there, probably one minute or so and then I'm looking forward to taking some photos and then going to having a couple of cups of hot coffee because it's pretty chilly.

It's a beautiful morning. Probably the last chance that I get to get up this high and not have to walk in snow for the year. So I gotta enjoy. Not too shabby.

What a way to spend your morning I'm just rapid-firing every direction almost with the different compositions. The lights are good for a short period. It's hard to do videos but I'll put them up so at least you guys can see.

In all the photos, I'm looking for using the rule of thirds or using angles or leading lines to lead the eye through the photo. An angle example would be a ridge line that slopes from the top and then slopes to the right and down because your eyes are going to follow that angle. So I'm gonna do some more shooting.

I'm pretty happy with the photographs that I did get. I'm pretty chilly so it's time to go down to camp and make some hot coffee. Sounds good to me.

Making Camp Coffee

Alright let's get the coffee going here. Give it a stir. Nice and black, just how I like my coffee. And then you got the views.

Hiking Out of the Mountains

I'm starting to walk out of here, you can see the river and the mountains and you got what's left of the snow. A lot of it melted last night so that's nice. Makes climbing this hill a lot easier.

It's the highest point of the day here. That's all downhill back to the trailhead. You can see peak, peak, peak, peak, peak, peak, peak, and then color. Enjoy the last of the subalpine here before I drop back down into the rainforest.

Got some colors going on. I probably won't take that many, or if any, photos because I feel like yesterday I got what I came for so it's time to head back down the mountain.

Backcountry Camping Trip Reflections

Yesterday kinda sucked, being in a cloud. It was cold. But nothing you can't handle if you're prepared for it.

I'd definitely say the stars of the show were my Hexpeak shelter which was crucial for being fully exposed last night, and then for the first time this year.

I've been using salt tablets that I got off of Amazon and I've hiked this trail a few times previously and this is the first time I did not get charley horses or cramps on the way up so that's a plus.

Anyways, thanks for coming along. Any likes or subscribers I surely appreciate. I'm looking to grow this channel over this winter so share this with your friends. It will really help me out.

Alright, thanks for watching!