A new camera. A mountainous hiking trail. Abandoned ruins of a once-great mansion. A cold January day. Blustery winds making the temperatures feel far below freezing. A hard-to-decipher map. Getting lost. These are only a few of the events that came together to turn a planned two-mile hike into an 8-mile excursion. It was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable misadventures we have ever had in this blog.
In April of 2015, I bought a Canon EOS 70D, which became my workhorse camera body over the past five years. Although still serviceable, I felt I had reached the limits of its abilities. For instance, I found its autofocus system lacking when I tried to photograph action photos such as birds in flight. While surfing through camera store websites, I came across a fantastic deal on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, a pro-level camera that would be able to handle anything I could throw at it. Basically, if I can imagine a scene, this camera has the technical abilities to handle it. Although the 5D Mark IV would ordinarily be out of my price range, I found a gently used model at a camera dealer I trust. I purchased it, and after wading through the six hundred-page owners manual, I was ready to take it out into the field for a test run.
My wife offered to try to figure out a cool spot to test the camera. After reviewing several options, we settled on a hike in the mountains of northern New Jersey, through Ramapo Mountain State Forest.
So on a frigid January weekend, we headed up, up, up the mountain ahead:
The New Camera Test Drive
A Night Photography Addendum
If you’re looking for a challenging hike (and a good workout), Ramapo Mountain State Forest is the park for you – on the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry website, almost every single trail is rated as “Difficult.” Open year round from sunrise to sunset, the park offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, mountain biking, bird-watching… and testing out a new camera! If you do plan to hike Ramapo Mountain, come prepared with appropriate gear, including hiking boots, water, and while not mandatory, I would recommend a good walking stick. It’s a gorgeous park, however, and well worth the trip.
As for the new camera, I’m thrilled with the purchase. I am looking forward to learning the 5D Mark IV’s full capabilities and customizing its features to my preferences. All of that means that I need to take many more photography excursions!
And thanks for coming along on this unexpectedly long journey down the open road ahead.