Today is the Day

Today is the day I leave for a grand adventure, or at least it is to me, backpacking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. 

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I won't just be hiking the trail though, I'll be attempting to create a film along the way. That means I'll be carrying a bunch of extra gear, and definitely more weight. Thankfully my sponsors Katabatic Gear, Big Agnes, Axe & Hammer, and Tailwind helped me get my dry pack weight under 23lbs! 

I can't wait to visit new places and old, and to experience something vastly different with an actual risk for failure. This film won't be about the gear or a daily diary, but hopefully the essence of the trail.

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Thanks to amazing family and friends, I'll have a lot of support along the way. If you want to follow my journey and the images I create follow me here and @jason_j_hatfield

Best Landscape Photos of 2016

2016 was another incredible year of photography and adventure! Between teaching workshops, assignments, and personal travel, I managed to visit a lot of new locations as well as old favorites (and drove over 25,000 miles again!). A quick highlight of this year's escapades:

  1. Backcountry Ski Huts - I went from being a complete noob at backcountry skiing and hut trips the year before to a "seasoned pro" with 5 new huts visited in 2016. I mostly got better because I finally bought my own gear, and it's super light, but I like to think I improved my skills some as well.
  2. Running most of the Zion Traverse - I organized a group run of the Zion Traverse, a 48 mile run across the park from the East Portal to Lee Pass Trailhead. We had snow, rain, fog, sleet, mud, mud, mud, and everything else, so while we stopped at 35 miles, it was still an incredible adventure. As a bonus afterwords I went to the Grand Canyon and ran to Phantom Ranch and back.
  3. Scuba Diving Trip to Cozumel - We made our first scuba diving trip and spent a week on the beautiful island of Cozumel, Mexico. There's no other experience like it and I only wish I had done it sooner!
  4. Colorado Trail Assignment - I spent a few weekends this summer on assignment for 5280 photographing the awesome runners Heath Kirschner and Paul Landry on their quest to run the Colorado Trail. I got a chance to run parts of the trail, including the superb Segment 24 in the Weminuche Wilderness, and spent time with their amazing families.
  5. Wind River Range Backpacking - Not one, but two 4 day/40+ mile backpacking trips in the Wind River Range this year. I had over 30 days of backpacking again and those were definitely the best. There's so many trails, so few people, and so much incredible wilderness, and mosquitoes...
  6. New Mexico Exploration - I've spent time in New Mexico before, including a 10-day backpacking trek at Philmont, but it's an area I've seriously neglected since moving to Colorado. This trip helped rectify that as we spent a week of the summer checking out the towns and monuments of the northern half of the state.
  7. Annual trips to the PNW & SW - I don't think I could ever get sick of visiting the incredible landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and Southwest.
  8. Havasupai - After years of wanting to make it down to photography and visit Havasu Falls, I finally made it this fall. A last minute trip with new friends made for an awesome time full of adventure and cliff-jumping!
  9. Colorado Fall Time-lapse Film - After 5 years of filming and work I finishing my first time-lapse film of the incredible fall scenes in Colorado. I still can't believe the overwhelming responses to it and it's definitely inspired me to create more! (video link at the bottom)

Between all the adventures and work I struggled per usual to edit an inkling of all the images I captured. Of those I did edit though, these are some of my favorites. Feel free to enjoy the pretty views or you're inclined to know more you can read some of the background info under each one.

P.S. Some of this year's adventures have led to a new and big project for 2017, so check back in the coming weeks for more info!

 

Pushing our limits

While the risks I take in my adventures nowhere near compare to wingsuit BASE jumping, this excellent article gives us all something to think about.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/activities/aerial-sports/why-are-so-many-base-jumpers-dying/

I've seen so many people going to what I would consider insane lengths for an Instagram shot. Every image of mine from a cliff, mountain top, waterfall, etc have been thought out with regards to my safety; and that's only come about through years of experience. I grew up camping and backpacking, hiking and running trails by myself, navigating with a map, and exploring many types of terrain. I still make mistakes, I try to plan for them and have a backup, but most importantly I continue to learn. I think the hardest thing can be knowing when we're pushing our limits too far, something I used to struggle with more, but asking yourself is the shot worth the risk makes a huge difference.

Ok, now I'm off to go shoot a lightning storm from the top of a mountain while jumping on a pogo stick! ;)