Dabbling with Light at Winchester State Park

Today, I took myself for a walk around Winchester Lake. Turning 40 has me thinking about the things I want to have in my life. The health to take myself for a walk around Winchester is one of those things. Of course, that’s in a pinch. I really want the health to take myself for a walk up to the Selway Crags for a week or two. Know what I mean?

Another thing I’d like to have in my life is photography. I dabbled with it circa 2010 while taking a course in travel writing and doing freelance video production work as a side hustle. So I pulled out my old Canon Rebel XT (yeah, baby!), threw my snowshoes in the backseat with the dogs, and headed down to Winchester Lake where I tried to get the viewfinder to match the autofocus for my old man eyes. Did I succeed? I don’t know. I’m looking at these photos with my old man eyes!

But I did have fun.

It felt nice to be out in the sun hiking with my coat off and watching the dogs play in the snow. There were a few groups of people ice fishing out on the lake, but the Lakeshore Trail was clear for the most part. I did encounter a fellow snowshoer as she came and went around the lake, and I met up with another couple walking their dog as I made my way out.

Other than that, the dogs and I had free range of the trail and we put it to good use. True photographers at heart, we paid diligent attention to important things like fence posts and sunlight through the trees, broken things and things that shined.

There were a few shots I took with my iPhone 11 to compare with my ol’ Canon Rebel XT. I was actually quite surprised to see the difference side by side once I had them loaded up on my computer. The Canon is an 8 megapixel camera and the iPhone 11 is only 12 MP, but the iPhone composites several images into one to enhance the end result. To be fair, I wasn’t shooting in full RAW on my Canon, and I don’t know how much difference that would have made. Still, the difference in scope, detail, and color was amazing.

Looking at the photos from my Canon compared to my iPhone felt like looking at an album of my parents old photos. But these were my photos, and I remember when this Canon was producing stellar images. Some of them I still use online today.

Regardless of the end image result, I really do enjoy using a DSLR camera. I enjoy playing with nuanced settings just to see what the differences are. I didn’t go crazy with manual settings today, but I did have fun playing with different focal lengths and finding that unique point of view. I’m a storyteller at heart (or maybe just a rambler) and every photo tells a story. I like finding that story and then crafting the way I get to tell it.

Thanks for letting me tell my stories. I hope you enjoy these photos, and I hope to see you on the trail soon. Who knows? Maybe we’ll go for a photography hike this season where we can all bring our cameras and spend time capturing our impressions of the land.

That’s something else I really enjoy about photography. The medium gives me a chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes. What a treasure.


Below are a few highlights from my hike. Click here to see the full photo album.

Do you enjoy outdoor photography? What kind of set up do you run with? What do you enjoy to capture most? I’d love to hear about your experiences telling visual stories from the outdoors. Feel free to leave a comment below, or join us on Facebook at The Clearwater Trekkers to share your stories and photos and more! Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter (down below or in the column to the right) to stay up to date on hiking events. See you on the trail!