It was a long day after waking up late from a jump building mission in the backyard of a buddy’s house in Truckee, CA. I just finished my serving shift downtown at about 11PM when a sudden jolt of energy rushed through my body. Last night’s moon was so bright that tonight’s moon was going to be even fuller and brighter. I thought, “maybe another mission under the moon would be fitting.”
It had been snowing a TON in Tahoe lately. We just received two storms that dumped over 15ft! Yes I said 15 FEET! These storms are typical of Tahoe, but what was not typical of Tahoe were the cold temps that lingered after the storms, keeping the snow nice and dry. I called my buddy and North Lake Tahoe aspiring snowboard legend, Chip Snyder, and told him the idea. I mentioned it to a few others but due to the hour, 11:30pm, and maybe the cold, nobody except @chipswitit was down for the send. I grabbed snacks and a pint of Jack Daniels Whiskey to keep up the fuel and fire for this cold night hike. I collected and packed my bag. Canon Mark IV body, flash, radios, beacon, shovel, probe, snacks, whiskey, one beer, and extra layers. I grabbed my new Jones Carbon Solution split board and the other necessary equipment and tossed it in the car.
We got all of our things and made it to the trailhead and had our gear on by 1 AM. We started our ascent at 1:20AM. My car read 6 degrees Fahrenheit. The skin up was pretty mellow besides the cold. Chip mentioned, “I didn’t really have any coffee or energy drinks but I feel soo good!” Like the environment and the rush of the night gave us a push of energy that we desperately needed in the late hour and the cold hike. It was fast moving and fun. We had our head lamps but the moon was so insanely bright we didn’t ever need them! It was like walking around in daylight almost. The lights from businesses and homes were the only giveaway that Earth for us had faced away from the Sun.
When we made it to the top we enjoyed the view and cheers our accomplishments. The moonlight glistened off the giant lake and illuminated the peaks of far off mountains. We scoped spots near the top and figured out our lines. A quick break for a Pabst Blue Ribbon and a couple swigs off the JD pint and we were feeling prime. We found a tree to huddle behind as some wind was kicking up off the lake. That’s where we switched over.
The ride down we had plans to try to capture some cool nighttime snowboard photography. I had done this once before and with two people it was almost the only way to do it. I attached my Phottix Odin radio transceiver to my camera and then affixed the receiver to my Canon 580ExII and placed it in a large ziplock bag. Chip was entrusted to keep the flash safe but also to hold onto it so as he shredded toward the car I could set up images and allow him to ride and me to capture the action with some nice light.
My camera settings varied but stayed around 0.4 Seconds at an aperture of f7.1 - ISO 6400.
The night time needed ambient light to capture the surroundings and thats what the long shutter helped with. The flash was used to throw light into the scene and allow motion to be captured crisp. My Canon Mark 4 IV did an excellent job in the low light with high ISO.
The descent was so fun and energy filled. We would spot a zone, I would ride to a frame I liked and had Chip rip through it. When he made a nice turn or jump I released the shutter that in turn radio triggered the flash and captured the images. Frequently I would look at my camera back screen and was beyond pumped on the awesome images being captured. Chip was stoked too and that’s what made it a great night. Anytime you are out shooting its always better when you come away with some quality content and images. It makes the whole mission more worth it and a great way to share with your friends.
We finally made it most the way down and packed the camera equipment away and took the last few turns for the soul. We arrived back at the car by 4:20AM. WHAT A TIME! We were a little cold but all in all just excited that we could have easily of said ‘no’ and just sat on the couch and went to bed, but NO we got up and took advantage of the beautiful moonlight over Lake Tahoe that night.
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