The diabetes support group met at my apartment this morning. We are a group of men committed to controlling our diabetes with a very low-carb diet. We limit the group to nine men, and six of us participated in this month’s meeting. One member of the group who is working on his dissertation about diabetes and depression at Naropa University here led a spirited discussion on the topic today.
But even before our group met this morning, I managed to get out before sunrise for my regular hike and photo shoot. This is certainly the best time for landscape photography. Also for our bodies. Years ago my sister told me that when we do our exercise at the beginning of the day it sets us up nicely for the whole rest of the day, and my experience bears out her recommendation.
I arrived at Coot Lake, just north of Boulder Reservoir, slightly before sunrise and had enough time to set up my tripod. This time I remembered to do everything that I knew — to adjust the white balance to the shade setting, to turn off the image stabilizer, to lock up the mirror, and to set the self-timer to 10 seconds, since somebody told me recently that vibration might not stop soon enough with the 2-second stetting that I had been using.
I have the top of the line Gitzo GT1550T Traveler 6x tripod on order. It weighs 2.2 pounds, light enough for me to carry on long hikes. Meanwhile, I used my clunky 4 pound tripod to hold my camera steady for the first shot below. I took it at 1/10 of a second at f/5 and ISO 400, which simply would not have worked without a tripod.
When the sun came up, I put the heavy tripod away and made the 2.5 mile loop around the lake. This hike benefited from two changes.
The chest pack that I bought at the same time I got my new camera will work fine for me on long hikes where I have to take my day pack in order to carry stuff like raingear, headlamp, emergency blanket, and a GPS. But it’s a lot to carry on short hikes, like the one this morning.
While I was researching tripods earlier this week, I ran across a much better solution for carrying all my camera gear plus a bottle of water. It is a sling that goes over my right shoulder and also uses a waist strap. An added benefit is that nothing goes over my arthritic left shoulder.
These “sling packs…carry like backpacks, but swing to the front for quick access to photo gear without removing them,” according to the manufacturer’s website (www.tamrac.com).
A camera store in town sells them, and I bought one a couple of days ago. It worked today exactly as advertised.
The other big change in my hiking life today was to use hand warmers for the first time. My hands have been getting awfully cold when I have to remove my gloves to take pictures, particularly when I have to set up a tripod in the freezing pre-dawn temperatures that I have to deal with on most days.
The Heat Factory hand warmers (http://www.heatfactory.com/english/ ) made my hands much happier today when I put them in my gloves after baring my hands to take pictures. These disposable packs of iron powder, active carbon, water, vermiculite, and salt really work.
As I continued around the lake — in total comfort — the sun came up.
Following the hike around Coot Lake and then the diabetes support group meeting, three of the group walked over to our favorite Nepalese restaurant. I had a tasty and healthy meal including chicken curry, saag paneer, and okra.
This leads me to reflect how lucky I am to have diabetes. If I had never got diabetes, I certainly would not be hiking as much as I am now. The hikes take me where I see beautiful sights to photograph. With all the exercise I get and the good food that I eat I control my diabetes. This makes me healthier than ever. No wonder that I am a happy man.