While glaciers Like Mt. Everest’s Khumbu Icefall make the news for being dangerous, there are many places where a day on a glacier can be a phenomenal and safe experience that is unlike anything else on earth. To judge all glaciers as dangerous because of stories from the Khumbu is about as accurate as judging all sailing dangerous because of stories from the Southern Ocean.
There are also glaciers that are about as benign as sailing in the Florida Keys in nice weather - and the part of the Canadian Rockies that CMH Summer Adventures calls home are laced a friendly web of safe and spectacular glaciers.
If you’ve never been hiking on a glacier, think of it as an opportunity as unique as sailing on the ocean for the first time - minus the sea sickness...
Here’s how it works:
- Pick just the right pair of boots from CMH Summer Adventures' collection of high quality and clean hiking boots.
- After a deluxe breakfast, sit in the helicopter for an easy ride from the lodge to the toe of the glacier.
- Enjoy your guide’s comfortable way of taking care of you in the mountain world.
- Strap crampons on your boots. Makes strolling on ice about as tricky as a walk in the park.
- Pick up your ice axe - a glorified walking stick for the mountains.
- Enjoy casual hiking across the sea of ancient ice that carved the very mountains surrounding you.
- The rope just makes it even safer, but is unlikely to be used. Think of it like wearing a life jacket on a mellow boat ride - you most likely don't need it, but it's smart to wear it.
- Feel the camaraderie that comes of spending a day in the heart of the mountains together.
- Feel the confidence that comes of doing something you never thought you’d do.
- Walk beneath cathedrals of stone, while your guide makes sure you have the right kind of trek for you - not too hard to enjoy, but challenging if you want it.
- Celebrate however you see fit on top of a world-class viewpoint.
- By the time we returned to the Lodge, the clouds cleared, and we enjoyed a fine meal and the Bugaboo's incomparable dinner view with a few great people who had become even better friends than when we arrived.
For further questions about CMH Summer Adventures' one-of-a-kind adventure travel
program, give us a call at 1 (800) 661 0252.
Since the digital revolution, we all communicate the capabilities of our image capturing devices - be it a phone, camera, or tablet - in one, all-powerful word: megapixel. And now there's a prototype camera capable of shooting 50 GIGAPIXELS!
Today, mobile phones shoot more megapixels than my first professional digital camera. Does more megapixels mean better photos? Not necessarily. For outdoor photography, where nature’s unpredictable beauty pushes the world's best photographers and cameras to perform, there are much more important elements than pixel count. In fact, pushing the megapixel count without adequate improvement in things like buffer, shutter-lag, and focus capabilities results in a camera that takes really big, really lousy pictures; but the most common measuring stick for the technology of a camera is, and will likely be for some time, the mighty megapixel.
In keeping with the megapixel race, a team of electrical engineers from Duke University and the University of Arizona have developed a prototype camera that blows away all previous camera's resolution. It can capture 50,000 megapixels of information - that’s 50 gigapixels - or five times more resolution than the eyesight of a human with 20/20 vision.
Eagles are thought to have vision four times better than a human, so the new prototype camera is supposedly sharper even than an eagle’s eye. (I'm not sure which is more impressive, that this prototype camera might compete with an eagle, or that even with todays most cutting-edge optical technology, we're just barely able to compete with the incredible resolving power of an eagle's eye.)
The prototype camera works by combining the information from 98 small cameras, called microcameras, which fire simultaneously to create an image. A single lens feeds light to all 98 microcameras, which then feed their information to a processor that combines the images from the microcameras into a single photograph.
According to the developers the camera is fairly large, nearly a metre wide, in order to handle the control boards and the temperature control components that keep the electronics from overheating while processing information.
The obvious question is: do we need a camera that sees in gigapixels? My gut answer is no, but after seeing what the 36mp Nikon D800 is capable of doing, I’m not so sure. You don’t NEED that many megapixels, but if you have them, it not only allows for larger printing, but also expands the creative potential of the camera.
I bought the D800 for a specific assignment to shoot a sunset landscape to be printed three metres wide. That big of a fine art print demands a resolution that, until the D800, wasn’t possible without using expensive and cumbersome medium format equipment. I began the project before the invention of the D800, and was struggling with stitching together lower resolution photos from a scene with rapidly changing light. When the D800 came out, I was able to finish the job the first time I took the camera out of the box:
Here's a crop of the tiny baby pine tree growing next to the puddle:
So what could you do with 50 gigapixels? That’s a photograph containing 50 billion pixels. It boggles the mind to consider. At 300 dpi, the standard resolution for high resolution printing, a 50 gigapixel print could be about 90 metres across - almost the size of a football field.
Google Earth in scary detail comes to mind, and also murals on skyscrapers, airports and museums - but even more game-changing would be the the post-production potential of the image. Take this casual photo of a woman enjoying a cold drink on a warm afternoon at the Bugaboo Lodge that was shot using the 36mp D800:
No big deal, but then look at the crop below that shows details in the image that are not even visible with the human eye from the distance where the photo was taken:
You could read her watch if it was rotated slightly! So now imagine wildlife photography with a 50 gigapixel camera. Provided the optics are good enough, you could crop in on a tiny portion of the frame with excellent results. Imagine shooting a grizzly bear mother and cub from a nice, safe distance, and afterwards being able to crop in on her and her cub’s faces with enough resolution for a full-sized print.
The documentary capabilities of such a camera would open the door to previously unexplored videography methods, such as panning across a video clip of a busy street scene with enough resolution to see many dozens of people interacting in intimate detail.
For my world, often photographing people having fun adventures in nature, I'd rather if technology produced, instead of a 50 gigapixel beast, a 12mp camera the size of a deck of cards with optics to compete with the best DSLRs. Perhaps one day we'll have my dream camera too.
What about you? Would 50 gigapixels be your dream camera?
As the previous winter’s snows melt up the hillsides of the Canadian Rockies, springtime follows close behind, even into the late summer. In a phenomenon not unique to the region, but perhaps more pronounced in the Columbia Mountains than mountain areas with less heavy snowfall, the wildflower season can last well into late August or even early September.
The Columbia Mountains, a subrange of the Rockies, is a freak of nature that reveals itself in many forms. The heart of this unique quality is the range’s precipitation patterns. The region receives enough annual precipitation to qualify as a rainforest, but most of it falls in the winter months in the form of snow - to the tune of 12 to 18 metres (40 to 60 feet) each winter, leaving the long, sunny, summer days to the flowers.
The Columbia River is the largest river in a region containing one of the world’s richest reserves of fresh water. As the deep snowbanks melt, armies of wildflowers bursting with every colour of the rainbow creep of the mountainsides, following the streams and trickles of the melting snow.
Even in the late summer, when the other legendary wildflower zones are dry, with their blooms long since faded, the flowers of the Columbia Range are quite often still in full glory.
Last week, during a photo shoot in the Bugaboos, I had a hard time keeping my lens out of the dew-soaked bouquet that spread all around us. By the end of each day, my knees were soaked, my memory cards full, and my optical nerves saturated with colour.
One morning, we were greeted with a dusting of fresh snow where the helicopter dropped us near treeline. It melted quickly under the bright alpine sun, leaving the blossoms even more brilliant than the day before.
Even the flowers surrounding the Bugaboo Lodge, while nurtured by human hands, were in full glory and formed a fanatsy-like foreground to sunrise on the famous Bugaboo Spires.
A photographer, Jeff Wendorff, who runs wildlife and landscape photo workshops was there to check out CMH Summer Adventures and decide if it was a good venue for a photo workshop. At the end of our three days together, I asked him if he thought the Bugaboos would work for his workshops.
Photographers interested in current photo workshops with CMH should visit our website. It is highly recommended that anyone booked on a CMH Summer Adventure bring the best camera they own with extra batteries and memory cards - it’s more beautiful than you think.
You and your partner want the ultimate remote getaway?
You and your family want to share a bonding experience of the most powerful, lasting kind?
You and your friends or group want to craft the perfect mountain retreat, tailored precisely for your level of fitness and enthusiasm for adventure?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, a Private Summer Adventure Trip with CMH could be your ticket to the best holiday of your life.
Here’s how it works:
By booking a Private Summer Adventure Trip, CMH will reserve a private guide just for you. This means the plethora of CMH Summer Adventures will be yours for the choosing, with helicopter access, at your pace, your level of difficulty, and with only the people you want to be with. Daily options include:
- Easy hikes on across the tundra in the most spectacular alpine terrain imaginable.
- Deluxe picnics in impossibly beautiful locations.
- Simply relaxing in a postcard-perfect setting.
- Playing on cool snowfields during the heat of summer.
- Taking photographs of an alpine paradise at your pace with a helicopter to get your lenses up there.
- Challenging all day treks to summits looking down on glaciers and a sea of mountains stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction.
- An airy via ferrata climb near the world-famous Bugaboo Spires.
- Mountaineering and rock climbing adventures at your choice of difficulty and commitment.
- Glacier treks across ancient ice caps and between huge granite walls.
- Ziplines across a wilderness canyon.
- Design your own adventure!
CMH Private Summer Adventure Trips are a holiday that can be the most relaxing, easy, beautiful days you’ve ever had - or the wildest, most breathtaking, exciting but safe adventure you can imagine.
What do you want your holiday to be?