Mt. Yamnuska and the X-Pro1′s cliff dive.

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Mt. Yamnuska and the X-Pro1′s cliff dive.

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I grew up surrounded by the flatness that is the prairies, which although beautiful in their own right, ever since we moved to a city just outside of the Rocky’s I’ve been pining to see the view from atop a mountain. Yesterday my buddy Jeremy and I set out to finally conquer that need and hike up to the summit of Mt. Yamnuska. With my backpack filled with snacks and water, and my beloved X-Pro1 clipped to my chest strap, we set off on our 4.5hr hike.

The view from where we parked, and the beginning of our hike: (X-Pro1 + 18mm f/2)

And a few more shots from a clearing as we made our way through the trees (X-Pro1 + 18mm f/2)
2-treeline 3-trees-mountains

Once we got passed the treeline we stopped to re-fuel and take in some of the views. Jeremy snapped this photo of me with the X-Pro1 before we started the scramble part of the hike.
4-last photo

And that was the last photo that my X-Pro1 would take on this trip. Why? Because it took a dive off a cliff. Yep, I realized that from this point on we would be doing a lot of scrambling over rock areas and decided that the X-Pro1 dangling off my chest strap wasn’t going to be a good idea. At that point I un-clipped my chest strap, and well, the camera slipped right through my fingers and landed on a pile of scree right by the cliff edge. For those of you who don’t know what scree is, it’s a whole bunch of small loose rock, a.k.a. slippery and dangerous. So, rather than risk my life to save a camera, I just sat there with what I am sure was a ridiculous look on my face as I watched it slowly start to slide off the side of the mountain. It then fell through the air and bounced off a huge boulder, then continued it’s plunge onto another ledge. Jeremy, being that sweet fella that he is (and much more experienced scrambler) offered to go down and retrieve my beloved camera for me. This is a rough diagram of what went down:

Needless to say, the 18mm f/2 was screwed, but the camera turned on, which was amazing and surprising. The majority of the damage seems to have come from the grip catching on the rock ledges as it spun through the air, which tore it apart pretty good, and also cracked and pulled open the bottom plate of the camera body. A couple of the top dials took a hit, and although dented, work perfectly still. I took some shots of the damage when I got home.

The crazy part is that after that fall, the camera still works just fine with my 35mm f/1.4 attached. I’ll obviously have to send it in for repair as the internals are somewhat exposed from the bottom plate being pride open, but I’m still impressed with the build quality of this little beast. Needless to say, the rest of my trip was documented with the iPhone. Not my first choice, but better than nothing.

*UPDATE* I sent the body and lens in to see if they could get fixed up, Fuji has claimed them to be “beyond repair”. Looks like I’m going to be doing some patching with some gaffer tape…

A shot of Jeremy looking out over one of the cliff faces on our way up to the top: (iPhone)

And a couple shots of me on one of the more dangerous looking areas of the scramble, but I think the photos make it look more dangerous than it was: (iPhone)

A shot of me at the top of the summit: (iPhone)
And a panorama I took using my iPhone from the spot where I sat and had my lunch. The views up there are incredible:
mountain-pano-iphoneThe descent from Mt. Yamnuska involves running and sliding down a ton of scree, which is a ton of fun, and an awesomely fast way to descend down a mountain. You can see a video of Jeremy enjoying himself on my Instagram HERE.

And that, for the most part, was my first mountain hike. I’m incredibly lucky to have this kind of landscape within an hour’s drive of where I live, and I definitely need to start taking more advantage of it. Thanks for reading.



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  1. Nathan, that has happened to ALL photographers at one time or another… I dropped a $25,000 (in 1985 dollars) Hasselblad Super Wide down the inside of a 1000 foot lake freighter I was taking pictures in while it was being built. I was on the top of the unfinished deck when it slipped out of my hands and went rolling down the steel structures inside the ship. It was beyond repair so we put it on the camera shelf to remind all of us to USE THE CAMERA STRAPS!!! ha ha ha It does make a great story in the long run! Cheers!

  2. I am thrilled to read that your pro still worked. My one year old pro didn’t survive a swim in the Delaware river. Nor did the three day young 18-85 lens. But, I have a replacement that works just as great with a new lens. Ps. The hubba hubba think tank case is not waterproof either. Lol.

  3. Pingback:Fuji XE-2 Review w/ The Camera Store — Calgary Photographer – Nathan Elson

  4. I am somewhat impressed by the iphone images. at this resolution they look at least as good as the Xpro images, if not better, specially the panorama image.

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