Fall colors

People who live in other parts of the world often say that California doesn't have real seasons. I would argue that we do indeed have seasons, they're just . . . subtle. Certainly here on the coast the Pacific Ocean moderates weather so that we don't have to deal with temperature extremes. However, in the higher elevations the changes between seasons are more dramatic.

At this time of year the high Sierra becomes a destination for sightseers and photographers looking for fall colors. For a few weeks the aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) change from their green of summer into glorious golds, oranges, and reds. This year I have finally managed to get to the Lake Tahoe area in October. And, since I'm still in the market for a new camera, it was a great opportunity to test drive another candidate. This time it was the Canon EOS 80D, with an 18-200mm lens.

So, let's see how it did with the brilliant scenery.

Fall colors reflected in Red Lake, near Carson Pass. 8 October 2016 © Allison J. Gong
Fall colors reflected in Red Lake, near Carson Pass.
8 October 2016
© Allison J. Gong
Fall colors and meadow at Hope Valley. 8 October 2016 © Allison J. Gong
Fall colors and meadow in Hope Valley.
8 October 2016
© Allison J. Gong

And here's my favorite shot of the weekend, also taken near Hope Valley. The aspens in this location were at their peak colors. So gorgeous!

Fall colors in Hope Valley. 8 October 2016 © Allison J. Gong
Fall colors in Hope Valley.
8 October 2016
© Allison J. Gong
Fall colors near Ebbetts Pass. 8 October 2016 © Allison J. Gong
Fall colors near Ebbetts Pass.
8 October 2016
© Allison J. Gong
Fall colors near Ebbetts Pass. 8 October 2016 © Allison J. Gong
Fall colors near Ebbetts Pass.
8 October 2016
© Allison J. Gong

While we were up at Ebbetts Pass I took some video of the aspens, hoping to capture the rustling sound of the trembling leaves. A short way down the hill from this location there is a herd of cows, and their bells are also heard in this video. Confession time: I took this video with my phone.

Fall colors near Monitor Pass. 8 October 2016 © Allison J. Gong
Fall colors near Monitor Pass.
8 October 2016
© Allison J. Gong

Eh, okay, I guess. I took a lot of pictures with this camera, but relatively few of them really wowed me. It felt to me that the images straight out of this camera weren't as sharp as those out of the Nikon D7200. And some of the exposures were off, too. Photography is a function of subject, equipment, and user, with the user being the biggest variable. For me, a decision between these two cameras was based on largely on which one I felt most comfortable with. And in terms of both figuring out how to do things with the equipment and getting good images out of the camera, the D7200 wins hands-down.

That said, the Canon 80D did a great job photographing a hawk I spotted in a snag.

Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) perched in a dead snag in the high Sierra. 8 October 2016 © Allison J. Gong
Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) perched in a dead snag in the high Sierra.
8 October 2016
© Allison J. Gong
Taking off © Allison J. Gong
Taking off
© Allison J. Gong
Soaring away © Allison J. Gong
Soaring away
© Allison J. Gong

After all was said and done, I didn't feel that this was the camera for me. Even after working with it for a weekend it never became second nature to just pick up the camera and shoot. I found it much easier to figure out how to do stuff on the Nikon. That, combined with the fact that the images straight out of the Canon weren't as good, sealed the deal. My grown-up camera will be a Nikon.

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