I wasn't sure I would be up to a 7 mile hike today, but I was determined to try. To make it more difficult, I was determined to carry my 200-500 lens. I wanted to capture fall colors in smaller fields, rather than the wider angle shots from the 17-85 lens I've been using for my last couple of photo walks. I also hoped I'd have some chances for some real long range closeups. I only ended up actually using the high end of the zoom for a few shots. Perhaps it would have made more sense to carry the much lighter 75-300 lens. I got the big gun for bird photos and I wasn't expecting to have many opportunities to shoot birds in the middle of the day. I did get full use of the high zoom for a few shots, and if I'd been able to zoom out to 75, I might not have been as disciplined about taking the smaller field pictures I wanted to concentrate on. Most photographers don't think a 200mm lens (on a 1.6x digital body) is the right choice for fall colors; this is how I hope to get pictures that most photographers wouldn't take.
I made it all the way around the lake feeling pretty good, though my legs are a bit sore.
The Lake Mingo trail isn't actually that good for seeing the lake; in most places there are enough trees between the path and the lake that you can only partly see the lake. But there are some places where it opens up and the colors on the other shore are visible. This picture is representative of what the trees look like today.
( many more pix insideCollapse )