The ravensburg proving ground

People said that once the kids had fledged, and the livestock holdings had been trimmed, we would have more leisure time. Because this has not turned out to be the case, I have to believe that Pairodox must offer a classic example of the Law of Conservation of Responsibility which, by the way, states that the number of things you are responsible for increases asymptotically and then remains constant, forever. When one is relieved of a particular responsibility, another is added such that the total number of things one is responsible for never, ever, changes. [Perhaps we can consider this the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics (well, the fifth really, which means that there are four others … for there is a Zeroth Law (If two thermodynamic systems are each in thermal equilibrium with a third, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other)]. Anyway, it’s always a delight when a bit of slack presents itself in the schedule of responsibilities which is my busy life. And this is especially so if there is sufficient time to be out with the camera. Yesterday, despite gray and overcast skies, just such an opportunity arose. I jumped into the truck, and with my Nikon 16-35 f/4G. I drove south to Ravensburg State Park. In a recent post entitled, A slightly different vantage, I spoke of the fact that Nikon’s 14-24 could not be fitted, easily, with filters. That post was illustrated with an image which was taken with a 24-70 which does accept filters, but I complained about the 84° angle of coverage (the 14-24 covers 114°). This new lens, the 16-35, does accept filters and has an expansive 107° of coverage. When I got out of the truck I fixed my polarizer to the lens. What a wonderment, to have the filter and the wide view. I had lots of fun with the combination. This pretty little park isn’t far from us and I was the only one present, it was a delight to be alone and to have the place to myself. There were plenty of ferns around and many were surrounded by delicate wraps of melting snow. Moss-covered rocks and boulders filled the landscape and added a degree of fine texture to the otherwise course stream bed. I looked at a topographic map, this evening, and determined that Gottshall and Rocky Runs merge to form Rauchtown Creek which flows through the park. Certain followers of this blog will be aghast to know that within a minute or so of entering the creek I discovered that one of my boots had a leak. There was no longer any good reason to worry that I would walk into water too deep for the tops of my boots, so why not venture into water just-below-the-knees? The bottom was quite slippery and my only real worry was that I would take a spill and get my camera wet. No worries, for I found that I could use my tripod to good advantage as a walking stick (something that I’m sure that the folks at Gitzo would never have imagined). The logic, regarding my feet, was that the neoprene construction of the boots would act like a wetsuit. The warmth of my feet and ankles would warm the fluid in the boot and provide a toasty layer of insulation. The only flaw in my logic was that, with each step, the water in the boot was exchanged with chilled creek water. After more than an hour of walking up-stream I realized that I could not feel my toes and determined that Joanna would be upset if I ended up having to call her to come and get me (I was not all that isolated, really, for I did have my cell phone … and it was in my pocket … and it was fully charged). My boots have been positioned in front of the cookstove for more than 24 hours now and they are still not dry. But it was worth it.



28 thoughts on “The ravensburg proving ground

  1. Just for fun I went looking to see if I could possibly find something that might allow you to still have actual feet left when you finally hit old age. Sadly, as you already suspected, there’s nothing that fits the specifications:

    1 – Light enough to carry anywhere since you never know when they’ll be needed.
    2 – High enough to protect you even if you go chest deep in FREEZING water.
    3 – Durable enough to withstand sunken rocks and stuff since you’re looking at the picture you want, not where you’re going.
    4 – Warm. Yes, warm.

    The best I can come up with us something like this, which will afford the vantage point you need without necessitating a thorough soaking that may lead to hypothermia or worse.

    It’s still needs a bit of an engineer’s touch. Maybe we can get Elke to make a few minor improvements.

  2. Looks like you’ve mastered the new toy. I imagine it’s important to get clarity and wide angle for some shots. With so many different lenses, do you sometimes feel pressure to carry them all with you to get the perfect shot? In the “old days”, remember the Brownie Instamatic? All you did was push one button and done. Little did we know how technology would advance things. Too much work and thought and trial and error for me. Looks like you DO have patience! Hope your boots have finally dried out. Seems the lure of getting “THE” shot trumps keeping yourself out of harms way!

    • There is a saying among motorbikers … ATGATT … which means All The Gear, All The Time. It argues that those who ride motorcycles should have a helmet, gloves, and full protective (leather) gear on ALL THE TIME they are on the bike. Our friend Doug is a big proponent and can tell lots of stories of folks who have fallen off bikes, without proper gear, and been hurt rather badly. Joanna would support the same saying with regard to photography. If I go out in the field with just one lens, I am always sorry I do not have the others along. My response has been to purchase a specially designed backpack that allows me to have all the gear with me … fully-loaded it weights perhaps 30 pounds though … tough to walk about with it for very long (and especially up hills and along stream beds). Glad you appreciate the capability of the new acquisition.

      • 30 lbs? Yikes! I have a 1 pound fat model in my office and 30 of those is no joke! Guess it’s a good thing that you have your weight under good control! Pretty sure you burn a bunch of calories that way. No need for the gym!

  3. We have talked about drones in agriculture recently – but reading about your wet boots I know what you would really need drones for ;-)!
    I wonder if one would note the difference between an image taken by a flying drone and such a hard earned one? I really hope so! You described the ‘time dilation’ perfectly in your introduction – it’s similar to ‘space expansion’ when you move to a bigger house: You always have / amass that much stuff so it fills the available space.

    • So, for the upcoming Holiday, I’m supposed to purchase a drone that will follow me on my excursions and send images back to Joanna to let her know I haven’t gotten myself into trouble? Actually … not a bad idea! I tell her you said that it should be put on the gift list! Sort of a Baby Sitter for Nature Photographers!

  4. Let’s hear it for asymptotes! When I taught secondary math I found that a lot of kids were influenced by the word isotope and deformed asymptote to asymptope. I’d like to think that my frequent alerts about that caused the instances of the correct spelling to increase asymptotically to 100%, but it’s not true, and some mistakes stay deeply ingrained. Might as well talk to the creek in your pictures and tell it to flow in a different channel.

    • Absolutely. I first got interested in photography when I was a kid. I remember having a tripod then but don’t remember ever using it … not once. Thirty years later I still have a tripod and can report that now, there are very few of my images that are taken without it. An indispensable and absolutely necessary piece of equipment. These recent shots from the creek were taken with exposures of perhaps 1/2s to as much as 6 or 8 seconds … so, yes, a good tripod was used and absolutely necessary. The long exposures allow all sort of latitude that isn’t available with the shorter exposure times. D

  5. I envy you that stream to wade in and shoot images. Both are well done with nice motion frozen in time. I bought some hip boots a few years back with thick felt soles that are very good at controlling slippage on slimey rocks. If you are just going to get your feet and legs wet you might as well get some water shoes that are excellent non-skid footwear. I’ve a nice pair of Keens. Not for this frigid or soon to be frigid temperatures. Oh, congratulations on the new lens.

    • Joanna and I were discussing the possibility of either hip or chest waders. I am never satisfied to shoot from the shore. I always seem to be able to convince myself that there is always a better vantage. And thanks for the good wishes concerning the lens … it was a good decision … now I’m feeling a bit guilty about the 14-24.

  6. Wonderful … its always great to have the time to play, especially with cameras, and the shots are lovely. Your story is also very funny … you and cold water seem forever attracted 🙂

  7. I laughed with your adventures. We had a warming spell late last week, and discovered that a few places in our new renovation had sprung leaks. After some poking around we realized that we still had some condensation issues in the attic, which had become frost, and then melted. After more poking around we came to realize that the lovely modernized soffit that the former owner’s son–a carpenter by trade–installed on the house were for show only. They were covering the plywood-covered, unvented attic soffits and thus there was almost no air flow. It was something I had worried about in the summer, but there we were on the weekend cutting new holes in the soffit. Our neighbours were taking turns driving by the house and peering at us, giving us the pity stare. For some reason, your post reminded me of the same sort of goofy mess we had gotten ourselves into. The attic is breathing now, dried up, and we sealed up the access last night. I hope your boots dry soon. My husband’s trick was to loosely crumple newspapers and put them inside to wick out the moisture. Usually the boots were good to go by the next morning.

    • Michelle – we are going to have to stage an intervention lest Dave wind up footless. Dave: strongly worded comment to follow tomorrow. ☺ Thank your lucky stars I left the laptop at work this evening.

      • I was just saying to Joanna this afternoon that perhaps I should get myself a pair of chest waders, or at the very least, hip waders? But, they are so clumsy and awkward to walk about in. And they spring leaks too. And if water should go on over the top … then you’re in real trouble. I figure I’m agile with just flooded boots! Does all of this seem like special pleading and nonsensical logic? Yup, it does to me too! I will try to be better, really. Especially as the water is about to REALLY cool down as we move into January and February! D

      • Your stern words remind me not to encourage this sort of thing then. How about hip waders? I suppose they aren’t good for the cold. What is the temperature there? I might be assuming it’s warmer than it is.

        • Joanna and I were discussing the possibility of either hip or chest waders. But that would mean yet ANOTHER bit of kit that I’d have to haul along on my photo expeditions. And what would I do when I was once again on dry land – hike in them! Do not fear there is very little danger of my coming to a bad end … I hang around in mostly very shallow creeks and streams. Now, if I were to frequent sea-side environments I might find ways to get myself into all sort of genuine difficulty. As it is I believe the worst that would happen is that I’d get wet to the waist. No big deal. You asked about water temperatures … NOAA reports that the average daily water temperatures for the Susquehanna in our vicinity range from 1-2 degrees C … pretty cold. In our local creaks and streams however the much smaller volumes can becomes super-cooled to below freezing and not turn to ice because of the rapid movement. Anyway … the water is always COLD this time of year! D PS: Joanna and I both enjoyed your telling of the continued home-improvement saga.

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