Fearlessness in the Great Outdoors

DA* 16-50 Giveaway Entry #30

By Heie in It's Good to Be Fearless on May 26, 2013

Fearless to me means ascending the final stretch of a 4,000 foot climb an hour from sunset when everyone else is heading down. It's packing 3 dozen pounds of gear in for two days to get to an isolated peak. It's clambering down slippery rock scrambles with a head lamp in the dead of night to get back to the car, knowing there's several hours of hiking to go. It's setting up camp alone in the middle of the forest as the twilight fades, a 30 mile hike away from the nearest road. It's going into the woods and climbing the nearest mountain when the forecast calls for thunderstorms, to catch a glimpse of the eventful weather. It's wading up a stream to shoot a secluded waterfall, abandoned by all but those driven to reach it.

Taken in September 2012 during a one-day traverse of the Northern Presidential Range, White Mountains, New Hampsire, USA.
Conditions were dense fog and gale force winds (in other words, fun!).

Wilderness has always been a passion of mine, and I explore the great outdoors whenever I have the chance. But where I differ from many is that I relish the opportunity to physically and mentally challenge myself, and I strongly feel that the most beautiful and unique scenes to be found are usually in the most inconvenient places and times. I've found myself in all of the above situations on past excursions, and will continue to enjoy hiking, backpacking, and more so in the future, kayaking and rock climbing, for the rest of my life. When there's inclement weather, I have the drive not to head in, but head out; I've wanted to spend much more time capturing Mother Nature's madness than allowed by reservations made for the safety of my gear.

Taken in August, 2012 at sunset following a climb of Franconia Ridge, White Mountains, New Hampsire, USA.
I slept right on the alpine ridge, sheltered from the wind by a boulder.

Aside from solo trips to mountain regions of the Northeast and those undertaken with friends crazy enough to join me, as a student majoring in atmospheric science, I will be spending half of this summer as an intern at the Mount Washington Observatory, a scientific weather observatory situated two thousand feet above the treeline on the massif of Mount Washington, New Hampshire -- home of the "world's worst weather" and site of the world's former record for the highest recorded surface wind speed (231 mph/272 kph!). It is here, while continuing my other work duties, that I hope to record the wild meteorological phenomenon and gorgeous scenery of the rugged White Mountain region. In the long term, after finishing my undergraduate degree, I plan to move to a city in western North America so that I may experience first hand the vast, awesome wilderness of the Rockies, the Southwest, and the coastal ranges while pursuing a part-time career in professional landscape photography.

Taken in October 2012 following a climb of Basin Mountain, Adirondack High Peaks, New York, USA.
My group and I headed back in the dark.

I currently use a Pentax K-5 but possess no weather-sealed lenses. I have been in need of a high quality weather-sealed zoom for the demanding conditions in which I shoot for quite some time. I can't thank you enough for this opportunity, and your consideration is much appreciated!

- lukelbd

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