Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mount Ugo: Itogon, Benguet to Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya

After more than a year of rest, I'm hiking again. A few weeks ago I joined the UP Mountianeers climbing the Philippine's 2nd highest peak, Mt Pulag. Last weekend was another UPM climb to the 3rd highest peak, the lesser known Mt. Ugo.

Trying to get good photos when hiking with a group isn't the easiest thing in the world. Even if I start at the front, I eventually end up at the end of the group because of the many times I stop to take a snapshot. There are times when I would like to have a particular composition, but I would have to go off trail, frame the shot, wait for the hikers to walk a bit to where i want them in the frame, then pack up the camera and walk back to the trail. During this time the whole group would have walked a considerable distance that I have to chase. Would be quite easy if I were bringing just a camera, but I prefoer to go self-contained, which means I bring with me all the equipment neccessary to keep myself reasonably fed and comfortable during the trip. This includes a small tent, an inflatable mattress, sleeping bag, stove, a cookset, clothes, food and water. When hiking long distances over several hours, it is best to take a constant walking pace. The stop-and-go pace that I end up doing in order to take photos is not very efficient.

Hiking is also hard on the photo gear. The camera gets exposed to both hot and cold temperatures, mist, light rain, sweat, mud, dust. There are times when I'm too tired or lazy to stow away the camera properly. The camera I normally use on hikes, a Panasonic FZ10 point & shoot, is about three years old, but it looks much older. The lens is still nice and clean, but the body is starting to look well worn. It has more than a few scratches, a few spots of peeling paint, the rubber bits are starting to fall off. The small screws at the bottom show signs of corrosion. It is still a good camera though. Nice lens, but mediocre sensor. Takes decent macro shots, nice warm colors, produces decent 8X10 prints as long as the ISO is kept below 100. Just don't expect to produce shallow DOF or any type of low light photography. The small sensor has obvious limits.

This trip I decided to bring an external flash and a tripod. I've recently been thinking about how much photography equipment is too much to bring on a climb - in order to bring more, I would have to reduce the weight of my camping gear. Its always a compromise.

blue blue skies, hot hot day.

did i mention that it was a hot day?

beware the cow!

van and his smiley drink bottle

basketball is religion. itogon, benguet

candy climbing a gate

peds on a hanging bridge

foggy day

me, jr and dennis in an old itogon schoolbuilding

the obligatory group shot. :)



Blogger Rizalist said...

Galing Pikol, Galing.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous ange said...

wow. should try mt ugo. hehe, im from NV but haven't been to to ugo.

really nice pics.

8:13 PM  
Blogger rench said...

thank you po! btw, the benguet provincial government is planning an open climb sometime in the summer.

2:48 AM  
Anonymous paul said...


panalo uli! super nice pics!!! ang galing talaga!!! nope, it's not a lie!:) ha!ha!

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please tell me where you took that photo with the hanging bridge... Name of the village? Thank you


3:26 PM  
Blogger rench said...

Hello vicky.

the bridge is near the the Jump-off at Bgy. Tinungdan, Itogon, Benguet.

12:55 AM  

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