Hiking with a Pen in Lapland

Started Oct 7, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Lasse Eisele
Lasse Eisele Senior Member • Posts: 1,766
Hiking with a Pen in Lapland

The Sarek national park in Swedish Lapland is probably my favourite place on Earth, though it takes some struggle to enjoy it. There are no huts, no trails and there’s no mobile phone connection. You have to carry everything you need (except water, there’s plenty of water and you can drink it straight from the streams). Not only that, but the weather is frequently poor with 2,000 mm annual precipitation.

What’s so special about it? The views are spectacular but you can find more spectacular views in the Alps or even in our neighbouring country Norway. Wildlfe is sparse. There are bears and wolverines but you’re not likely to see them (I’ve seen wolverines once in all those years and quite fresh bear tracks, but that’s it). You’re more likely to see big elk (moose for you Americans), really big, but that’s hardly enough to make the place special.
So what is it?

Part of it is the solitude. This time we met one other person during one week’s hike through the entire national park and we saw three other people from a distance. That was plenty compared to last time, when we didn’t see one single other person.

Another part of it is the struggle itself, or rather the fact that you can overcome so much more than you thought you could.

This hike is the one and only reason why I purchased an E-P1 half a year ago. I have been very happy with my Nikon gear, except that it’s heavy on top of a 25-30 kg load. However, it was difficult to decide what lenses and accessories to bring. I knew the mZD 9-18 would be my main lens, but what else, if anything? I considered the PL 45-200 but eventually turned it down. You don’t want too many lens changes when you’re hiking with P&S shooters, especially if you need to pick up the lens from the backpack every time.

I finally ended up with the 9-18, the 14-42 kit lens, two spare batteries, a Gorillapod, a remote release and also a Canon G9 that is equipped with a 35-200 mm equivalent lens. I carried the E-P1 in a small Lowe Pro toploader and the G9 in a belt pouch, so that both of them were accessible all the time. The kit lens and the Gorillapod never got used.

Sorry for all those words, here are some images (hope you don’t mind that some of them were taken with the G9):

1) Downhill (E-P1)

2) The willows should be banned. Hate them. (E-P1)

3) Moss campion (Silene acaulis) is a common and very nice flower. (E-P1)

4) River bank (E-P1)

5) River bank (E-P1)

6) Reindeer silhouettes (G9)

7) Sunlit late evening cloud (G9)

8) Early morning sun on the mountain tops (G9)

9) Rock formations (G9)

10) Bad weather. Had to wipe off the front lens consistantly. (G9)

11) Good weather (E-P1)

12) Panorama (G9)

13) Cold weather (E-P1)

I have more images of course but I fear they’re already too many.

So, what’s the verdict after my first major hike with a Pen? Did I miss my Nikon gear?

I wish I could say no to that question, but I did miss my D300 more than I had anticipated. I missed the excellent handling, the responsiveness and, most of all, the big bright viewfinder. The little toyish Pen simply doesn’t inspire me to do serious photography (this is of course a very personal thing). It turned out that I didn’t shoot nearly as much as I usually do, only around 550 shots in total, including considerable exposure bracketing and multiple shots for stitching to panoramas. I never even needed my two spare batteries that I had purchased just before the trip.

But I certainly didn’t miss the weight of my Nikon gear and I don’t think the final result was all that bad after all. So I will likely give the Pen another chance next year, though I may upgrade to a model with a good EVF.


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