Bleak, Dark and Moody

We haven’t gotten a lot of snow this year. It keeps missing us, but all the surrounding areas are getting epic amounts. Oh well, January is typically a dry month in the local mountains. February and March are generally when we get most of our snow pack which is so important for the Spring run-off. The smoke in the lower right photograph is the result of what’s called a “Controlled Burn” around here. The Forest Service will start a fire to burn out dead leaves and logs that could ignite during the hot weather.

Today was bleak, very dark and moody up there, as my title suggests. We are skiing at 12,000 feet and mountain weather can change VERY quickly and dramatically. I always have the tiny Sony HX-99 with me because it fits in the front ski pocket and I hardly know it’s there. The sensor is small, but I continue to be amazed at what a good job it does…capturing a lot of detail with a pretty nice dynamic range. I used to try carrying the “real” camera with me, but it was just too much effort and it put an expensive camera in harm’s way. I couldn’t adequately protect it. By the way, I also would NOT want to fall on it! Ouch and Snap.

Ski The Wintersun in New Mexico: 1.4.21

We’re not having the greatest Winter for skiing. But we have enough to go up and have some fun. Of course we’re known for our Wintersun. It’s true. We normally ski in bright sunlight with blue-black skies. I love that for black and white shots.

I get up there early and this time of year, the shadows are long and dark. It makes for some wonderful designs and patterns. I just visited Marcus’ website and read about how he feels like a kid in a sandbox when the light plays across some strong architectural features and he has camera in hand. I understand completely. And that’s how I see things when I get up into the mountains early. This is the best time of year to be up there and shooting. These strong dark and light patterns are seductive.

Don’t laugh too hard, but I like to carry the Sony HX-99 for these excursions. Purists might not take it seriously, but it makes carrying a camera into that environment possible. It does shoot RAW and that’s important, particularly for a camera that only has a 1/2″ sensor. But I am always amazed at what a good job it does. I don’t know how well the images would look if they were enlarged a lot. But for smaller prints, I bet they’d be fine. Considering that I was in motion on the ski lift for these pictures, I’m pleased with the results. I expected blurs! The HX-99 has all of the adjustments that I need and want and the layout of the controls is almost identical to the A6500 and the A7R3. It fits in the front of my ski jacket. If this camera were any smaller, I wouldn’t be able to operate it. It’s a miracle of miniaturization. Nice job Sony.

Snow Time in New Mexico: 12.8.20


I went skiing for the first time this season. We have little snow in our mountains and we’re limited to three or four runs. I don’t care. The views there are amazing and the snow was fast.

At this time of the year, the shadows are long and dramatic and I love the way they print the snow with strong linear patterns. I’m always attracted to those strong black and white, figure/ground scenes. For mountain activities, I use the VERY small Sony HX-99 camera. It fits in the front of my jacket where it can stay nice and warm. This camera has a tiny sensor (1/2 inch) but it shoots RAW. It always amazes me. And for anyone who doesn’t need to make large prints, give it a try. It’s a lot of camera in a really small package.

It’s unusual for the weather to be gloomy here. We ski in bright sunshine most of the season. But when it snows, it snows! Our snow is feather-light most of the time. That’s great for powder skiing, but it takes a while to establish a base as a result.

This is a land of geographical contrasts.