Hiking the Learning Curve

Last Friday was pretty exciting for me – my new camera came!  After waiting 6 1/2 years for Nikon to update their semi-pro DX cameras, they finally did it and my D500 came!!  (This camera will replace my nearly-9-year-old D300.)  With all that time between updates – holy steep learning curve Batman!!

Luckily for me, we finally had nice weekend weather for the first time in a month and my husband was amenable to my “hijacking” his planned hike at Hall Ranch and slowing it down to more of a photography hike so I could start learning my new “toy” – er, I mean “tool”.  Friday night was spent with a wonderful beer in one hand (Duchesse de Bourgogne – an awesome Flanders Red Ale, for anyone interested) and the D500 manual in the other.  Exciting life, huh?

I got through enough of the manual and played with enough settings (or so I thought) to give it a go on Saturday.  Off we went and the first thing I wanted to snap a picture of was a poster about rattlesnakes as a joke for my sister after her encounter with them during her visit last year.  I go to click the shutter and notice it’s not focusing!  What?  It was focusing last night.  I took a few minutes to dig around the menus, stumbled on the setting I needed, and I was good to go.  Ok – first crisis of the day avoided, and I didn’t even have to get out the manual!

The Procedure
The Procedure

Right of the bat, I notice that the exposure meter on the D500 is a little different than what I’m used to, so I kept clicking away on this sign until I got it right.  Then the panic of the day set in – fatal memory card error!  Say what the !*&!@! what?!  Brand new card, brand new camera, all top quality… what is happening!?!

As a last resort, I turned the camera off, then back on again, and it seemed to be working fine.  Concerning moment (to say the least) but no images were lost, thankfully.  Mental note made to do some web hunting on errors being reported by other photographers out there and off we go.

It was a really gorgeous day to be out at Hall Ranch for a hike, though I think my brain was on overload most of the time looking for shots, figuring out settings, finding where Nikon added or slightly moved buttons, and discovering new features.  Luckily for me, nature was cooperating too with some fun things along the way…

Bloomin' Ball Cactus
Bloomin’ Ball Cactus







Even remnants from old activities back in the day made for some fun shots:

Barbed Wire Rounds
Barbed Wire Rounds

The hike is about 9 miles round trip, and not long after we set out, I kept getting the memory card error.  So frustrating!!  Nonetheless, we kept pushing forward towards our destination a few valleys over that gives us a great view of Mount Meeker and Longs Peak.  When we arrived, there was a little welcoming committee waiting for us – just chilling out in the trees watching…

Baby Doe Don't Care
Baby Doe Don’t Care

After a bite of lunch, my husband and I split up and wandered a bit.  The skies clouded up a bit on this oddly hazy day, but I did find a few things worthy of pictures as I poked around.  Here’s just a couple of them:

White Wildflower
White Wildflower
Meeker, Longs, & Pine
Meeker, Longs, & Pine

Thankfully the memory card errors subsided as the day went on, but it was always in the back of my mind.

In the end, I think it was a pretty successful first day with my new toy – until I got home and remembered that I’d have to upgrade all of my processing software to work on the new camera’s files!  Talk about making the learning curve steeper!!  I’ll get there though – this mountain to climb is just a mental one that will take practice and time.  Just one more reason to play with my new toy more often, right?


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