National Mall as the sun rises the morning after Snowzilla

Sunrise on National Mall after Snowzilla

by Jason Vines

Snowstorms make for fun hiking, but they ruin scenic vistas. When I walked in front of the Lincoln Memorial during Snowzilla, the Washington Monument was almost completely obscured, as the picture I’ve placed below this post demonstrates. But after the storms dissipate, they leave the reward of stunning white landscapes, glistening in the sun. The featured picture at the top of this post was my view from the front of the Lincoln Memorial the morning after Snowzilla.

This was the second time I took out my new Sony A7R II, after having found it a tough and enjoyable camera the night before. Despite my overall impression remaining positive, I did run into some annoyances:

  • I bought the cheap Foto & Tech wireless remote for the camera, but I couldn’t get it to work, even after making sure Remote was turned on in my camera settings.
  • Since the remote wasn’t working, I wanted to shoot brackets using the self-timer to minimize camera shake from pressing the shutter button, but the option was unavailable in the “Drive Mode” settings I had assigned to my Function button. After I returned home from the cold, I found what I was looking for buried in the convoluted menu, “Selftimer during Brkt.” I assigned that to my Function button, next to Drive Mode, for easy accessibility next time.
  • I had difficulty manipulating the controls with my gloves on. When I wanted to move the focus point, I kept on bringing up the Drive Mode and ISO menus, and changing their values, instead. To address this, I have disabled those functions on the rear control wheel, since I have those assigned to my Function menu, anyway.

All that said, I was still glad I had the A7R II rather than my old Nikon D810. The lightness counts for a lot, and I captured some great images despite the irritants I mentioned.

Speaking of lightness, I’ve also been testing the new MindShift Gear UltraLight Dual 36L backpack. I took it with me out into Snowzilla, and into its aftermath yesterday morning. I’m finding it a great complement to mirrorless: It’s small and light, yet tough enough for what I need to do with it. It held up fine to the blizzard, not letting anything inside get wet — and it comes with a rain cover should I need one for a torrential downpour. Also, I appreciated how light it was on my back, even with my camera inside and tripod strapped to its rear, while hiking through the deep snow over the weekend. I look forward to many adventures with the UltraLight backpack.

Snowzilla hides Washington Monument
The night before

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