Tag Archives: Jordon Cooper

Inside My Bag: Hiking and Landscape Photography Kit

We have a marketing campaign starting at work in a while that revolves around what staff have in their camera bags.    Here is my bag and gear that I pack to take along for day hikes into the mountains.  Of course I don’t hike with all of it but most of it will go with me to Banff and Yoho National Park this summer.

Inside My Bag: Hiking and Landscape Photography Kit

The Bag:

Manfrotto Off Road 30 L Hiker Backpack.  Last year we spent hiking through the backcountry of Banff National Park.  This year we are spending part of it hiking the Alpine Circuit of Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park.  Later this summer we will hike almost 25 kilometers to three different alpine tea houses so my wife can drink tea.  Doing that much hiking means that I want a backpack that is comfortable.  With it’s external frame and hip belt, this bag does a pretty good job of carrying the camera and other gear that I want to take on longer day hikes.

The pack is packed and tossed in the back of the car.  I keep the Ricoh WG-4 in the front seat with me in case something interesting happens on the road.  When we get set up in a campsite or a trailhead, I evaluate what lenses and gear that I will want and then what gear I will carry.  At that point it often comes down to three lenses, the 18-135mm and the 70-300mm but I like having the 35mm and 28mm lenses for the trip.  I have long wanted a longer zoom lens but the SIgma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM lens is too big and heavy and my wife also shoots Olympus and has the Olympus M. Zuiko ED 75-300mm F4.8 – 6.7 II Lens which is equivalent to the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary and less than a quarter of the weight.  Actually since she is carrying it in her bag, it weighs nothing.

The Contents:

  • Pentax K-3: I have the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II but the larger sensor and increased dynamic range of my Pentax means it will be the camera that I carry on those hikes.  I normally always have my grip on my camera but when climbing in the mountains, shedding weight is a big deal so it gets left at home.
  • Two 64 GB Lexar Platinum Cards.  Two 32gb Sandisk SD Cards as backup.
  • Three Extra Batteries:  That is excessive for most hikes but we like to stay at unpowered campgrounds because I find they have less partying.  While the washroom in the campground has power, it often has a powerbar full of cell phones being charged on it at all times.  I will probably pick up another two for this year. 
  • Pentax SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR: Over the last two years of hiking I have seen countless tourists carry and be frustrated with their 70-200mm f/2.8 lens on mountain hikes because it is too long to capture the views on winding trails or take in the views on mountain passes.  Sometimes your best option (especially in good light) is a more versatile walk around lens.
  • Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Lens for Pentax:  Last year I watched people try to take selfies of The Boss (the alpha grizzly bear in Banff) with a cell phone.  That bear even eats other bears and has been hit by a train and just shrugged it off.  I prefer to not risk my life for a shot so I use this lens to keep some distance between myself and things that see me as dinner.
  • Pentax smc DA 35mm: Sometime during the trip I will head into Banff one evening and want to take some photos of the township or take some nice portraits of the family.  I am always torn over bringing this or the Pentax smc DA 50mm but on a APS-C camera, 50mm is often too long for street photography or if I am in a restaurant.  I lose a half stop of light with this lens but I get more shots in the end.  I really need to upgrade to the Sigma 35mm f1.4.
  • Pentax D FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro: Many of you love macro photography.  I am not one of them and only bought this lens because of peer pressure.  My wife however loves macro with a passion so sometime on a trip I will find myself laying down and taking a photo of a flower and hating every single moment of it.  I just hope I don’t get bitten by something.
  • I won’t take it hiking with me but I will bring along my Pentax-M 28mm f2.8 lens.  It is manual focus but ideal for taking late night shots of the stars and the Milky Way.  The bad part of this lens is that I have to be awake in the middle of the night to use it.
  • Nalgene Water Bottle: For obvious reasons.  If it is a really hot day, I will also bring my Swell Water Bottle. You have no idea how amazing cold water tastes on a long mountain hike.  Why two bottles?  I have gotten sick then last two times I have had water out of a “pristine” mountain glacier stream. 
  • Gerber Scout Knife: Last year a male wolf came into our campsite and sniffed my head through the tent.  The wolf was between my axe and myself and all I had was this knife.  I like to think that if it came down to it I could have defended my kids with it but I have watched The Grey and know it would probably have won.  Luckily the wolf hadn’t watched The Grey and went back into the woods.
  • Adidas Saskatchewan Roughriders Receiving gloves:  I had some lightweight Nike jogging gloves for hiking but these are tackified in the fingers and palms giving you a firm grip on your camera.  If they are good enough to make the game winning catch, they are good enough for me to hang on to my camera.  They have been one of my best purchases of 2017. 
  • Niteize Carabineer light.  I have one of these on all of my camera bags.  If we are out too late or something goes wrong, I want to be able to be seen in the dark.  I also have one on my all black dog so I can see her at night.  It’s another one of those things that brought all sorts of people by our campsite who had children that wanted to check out the “blinking dog”. 
  • Panasonic HX-WA02 Camcorder: If I am going to shoot some video in the backcountry, I use this.  For this summer, I plan to upgrade to a Nikon Keymission 80 camera which is both lighter and smaller but has some really great features for hikers.
  • 52-Inch Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod: For taller photographers, there seems to be only two alternatives.  The one is to carry a medium duty tripod so it is tall enough or carry a lightweight tripod on the trail and have to crouch over or kneel down when using it.  I prefer to crouch down.
  • Primus Classic Stove and Fuel: I carry one of this with me on cooler days and long hikes.  There is nothing better than stopping on a long hike and a cool day and cooking up a box of Three Cheese Kraft Dinner.  To save space, I toss the box and keep it in a zip lock bag.  It is the same amount of food as the the macaroni and cheese MREs but is about 15% the cost.
  • Clif Bars: They are easy to eat on the trail, give you a boost, and are edible even if not my favorite thing in the world.
  • Mess Kit: It’s not the best quality mess kit out there but it is lightweight and can cook the above mentioned Kraft Dinner.  Since contracting giardia twice in Banff over the years, I tend to boil up some water during that time.  If we are eating near a creek, I tend to boil the water up, pour it in the Nalgene and then put the entire bottle back in the glacier water to cool it back down. 
  • Nikon 10×25 binoculars: I have found myself hiking through alpine meadows that are frequented by grizzly bears.  Scouting it out works for me.  It saved me big time last year as I was able to see a grizzly feeding right in the middle of a trail I was about to walk down.
  • Ricoh WG-4 Ruggedized Camera: I look at this two ways.  It’s an addition camera battery and there times when I want a waterproof camera that can take high resolution files.   With the carbineer, I keep it clipped to the front of my pack.
  • Business Cards: I don’t know why but everywhere we went in Banff and Yoho National Parks people wanted to meet, pet, and take selfies or family portraits with my dog.  This generally led to them wanting to email me the photo or stay in contact with them. I gave out a ton of personal business cards and got some photos back of strangers with my dog.  Some said it was the highlight of their trip.  I don’t get it at all. 
  • Magellan eXplorist 110: There isn’t a lot of cell coverage once you leave the highways in the National Parks.  I have needed a GPS before but it is nice to check to know how much farther we have to go.   The last thing I do when I leave work on a trip is pick up a pack of Energizer Lithium batteries.  There are devices you want to have the best batteries on the market in them.  This is one of them. 
  • Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies.  This guide book is broken into multiple different books.  The big book is used at home for deciding on which hikes we want to go on.  Then we take the smaller and lighter trail guides which have the trail maps in them on the hike.   If there is one book that I recommend every hiker owns, it is this one.
  • A Lighter:  I get asked by friends if I have an alternative fire starting method like some fire steel or maybe a bow and rope to make fire without a lighter.  The answer is no.  I just carry another lighter.  I have never understood the principle of backing up a really effective method of starting a fire with a far less effective one.

A lot is going on here

Jordon Cooper

First of all, thanks to Mark for the photo.  I generally hate photos of me being taken which is why I am always behind the camera but the problem with being a part of a family of photographers is that they have cameras as well.

Now you will notice the pockets in my shorts being wet.  It has just poured and was cold so I put my hands in my pockets.  This resulted in them looking like this.  You win some, you look like an idiot in others.  Thanks to Mark for capturing the essence of what it means to be a dad.

I am off to find my cool, from this photo it looks like I lost it.

Christmas Gift Guide: My Wishlist (Christmas ideas for a father of two great kids) | 2009 Edition

Update: 2010 Christmas Gift Ideas for All of the Men in Your Life by Wendy is now online.

I do most of the Christmas shopping in our house which leaves Wendy to get my gift.  I generally update my Amazon.com wishlist and use their universal wish list button to create on central wish list for her and Mark.  Our goal is to be done Christmas shopping by December 1st every year and we finished everything up last week so we are good.  Since I started posting the Christmas Gift Guides, people have asked me how many things I was asking for Christmas and the answer is I don’t want that many things but here is a short list of things I asked Wendy, Mark, Oliver and Maggi to get me for Christmas.  Since they are done their shopping by now, I feel fine in posting this.

In case none of these gifts strike a chord with you, check out my Christmas Gift Guide for the Emotionally Distant Father.

A new Swiss Army knife :: I bought one for my groomsmen and myself from MEC 12 years ago and it is showing it’s age and needs to be replaced.  This year might be a good year to do it.  While I really like my multi-tool, a lot of days, I just want a pocket knife in my front pocket.  I still have the worn out pocket knife that my grandfather had and a pocket knife in my pocket not only is handy but reminds me of him.

I couldn’t help but notice this Pathfinder watch from Casio.  Is there anything this watch can’t do?  It includes a digital compass, altimeter, barometer and thermometer.  It’s altitude measurement up to 10,000 meters in the air and 100 meters under water.   For a lot less money, this version from Casio has a thermometer and digital compass in it.

I am still a fan of Timex Atlantis 100 watches which you can give with the stainless steel or the more traditional polyurethane strap.  Timex also has put out these really nice looking NHL team watches.  Not that I am biased but I think this one looks the best.

This is more for the cabin but I thought these dynamite fire starting sticks from Cabelas were a lot of fun. Though the contents of this sturdy wood crate will not move mountains, they will start your fireplace. One look at the realistic “dynamite” crate will have family and friends looking twice. Each cedar wood crate contains 20 fire-starter sticks. They are made of paraffin and sawdust for a long, hot burn. Each stick will burn approximately 30 minutes setting ablaze even the most stubborn wood.   Plus, Cabelas sent me a $20 gift certificate a months ago because I responded to a question on Twitter for them and I need to spend it on something.

Snowshoes and Solitude :: We are a big fan of the show Survivorman around the house but one of the questions I always have is how we he do if his isolation lasted longer than 7 days.  According to some friends who have seen the DVD, Snowshoes and Solitude goes a long way in answering that question and I am told it is worth watching and owning.

Survive! by Les Stroud :: This is a huge best seller in Canada and is by the creator of Survivorman.  It’s a gift not only for me but will be fun for years to come as I hike with Oliver and Mark.

The Pod :: I have a camera and about four tripods.  This is a great addition to the list because it is what happens when you combine a camera mount with a bean bag and it’s a lot easier to pack along on hikes.

Saskatchewan Roughriders: Welcome Sign :: If I get this, I plan to hang it in the cabin but it would also look good at home.  I also am hoping for a Saskatchewan Roughriders water bottle and a Saskatchewan Roughriders magnet.  The water bottle is for our house.  The magnet is for the Reimer’s front door which they painted Rider Green while at the same time still being Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans.

Harmonica :: While I still can play the alto saxophone (or as I and Homer Simpson prefer to call it, the Saxomaphone, I really don’t have the desire to get the rust off and I never learned to play by ear.  The other night I suggested to Wendy, “I want to play the harmonica.” which threw her for a loop.  After waiting for the punch line, she asked me why I would want to.  At least it’s not the bagpipes.

The SAS Survival Handbook :: Mark and I are planning to do some hiking this summer and I think it would be fun to teach him some of the stuff found in this book and Les Stroud’s book Survive!.  Mark loves watching Survivorman and I think we will have a blast learning this stuff together.  Plus, Mark has already said he was going to eat a grasshopper kabob after watching this episode of Survivorman and wants to learn how to make a fire to cook them on.

NCAA 2010 for the PSP :: While I love the NFL, there is something about college offences and the ability to run a triple option attack is fun.  Plus, I now know that Notre Dame can’t stop it.  That being said, Madden 10 would be pretty cool and I can see if I can do more with JaMarcus Russell than Tom Cable can.

LittleBigPlanet for PSP :: I was over at my brother Lee’s place and he has it for the PS3.  Mark was enthralled, Wendy had fun and even Lee was enjoying it.  It looks fun, Mark will borrow the game, and I can see Wendy killing some time with it.  Good enough for me.

I couldn’t help but notice these great customizable Denver Broncos shirts from NFL Shop.com.

I am not a big Bocce ball kind of guy but I know we would have a lot of fun playing this as a family at the cabin.  It may in the end be a better Father’s Day kind of gift because of the weather in Saskatchewan, if you live in a warmer climate, it may be a fun gift for your father.

There you go, it’s not a big list but it doesn’t really matter what I get for Christmas but I thought I would post it to give some ideas in case you know of someone who is as insane as I am.

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.

The Life of an INTJ

I recently did a personality test again and I came up as an INTJ which is slight change as I used to be an ENTJ.  So what does it mean to be an INTJ?  Well, we are referred to as the Masterminds so ego is not in short supply.

From Similar Minds

loner, more interested in intellectual pursuits than relationships or family, not very altruistic, not very complimentary, would rather be friendless than jobless, observer, values solitude, perfectionist, detached, private, not much fun, hidden, skeptical, does not tend to like most people, socially uncomfortable, not physically affectionate, unhappy, does not talk about feelings, hard to impress, analytical, likes esoteric things, tends to be pessimistic, not spontaneous, prone to discontentment, guarded, does not think they are weird but others do, responsible, can be insensitive or ambivalent to the misfortunes of others, orderly, clean, organized, familiar with darkside, tends not to value organized religion, suspicious of others, can be lonely, rarely shows anger, punctual, finisher, prepared

Personality Page sees me this way

INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning. They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they continuously strive to fulfill. To a somewhat lesser extent, they have similar expectations of others.

INTJs are natural leaders, although they usually choose to remain in the background until they see a real need to take over the lead. When they are in leadership roles, they are quite effective, because they are able to objectively see the reality of a situation, and are adaptable enough to change things which aren’t working well. They are the supreme strategists – always scanning available ideas and concepts and weighing them against their current strategy, to plan for every conceivable contingency.

They also see this in us INTJs

Other people may have a difficult time understanding an INTJ. They may see them as aloof and reserved. Indeed, the INTJ is not overly demonstrative of their affections, and is likely to not give as much praise or positive support as others may need or desire. That doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t truly have affection or regard for others, they simply do not typically feel the need to express it. Others may falsely perceive the INTJ as being rigid and set in their ways. Nothing could be further from the truth, because the INTJ is committed to always finding the objective best strategy to implement their ideas. The INTJ is usually quite open to hearing an alternative way of doing something.

Typelogic describes me as this

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of "definiteness", of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

This part drives my boss crazy

INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers.

Many of our conversations start with, “I may have overstepped my boundaries…”

Personality Page mentions that I am socially challenged which is fair enough.  I have struggled with deep and dark feelings of loneliness my entire life (bet you didn’t know that) that I am just kind of resigned to.  I also think it’s why I enjoy having a dog around and why I love to read.  Weird.

I love how it describes my feelings

Feeling has a modest inner room, two doors down from the Most Imminent iNtuition. It doesn’t get out much, but lends its influence on behalf of causes which are Good and Worthy and Humane. We may catch a glimpse of it in the unspoken attitude of good will, or the gracious smile or nod. Some question the existence of Feeling in this type, yet its unseen balance to Thinking is a cardinal dimension in the full measure of the INTJ’s soul.

First of all, this is all wrong, I have only one feeling and I often leave it behind.

Keirsey sees me this way

All Rationals are good at planning operations, but Masterminds are head and shoulders above all the rest in contingency planning. Complex operations involve many steps or stages, one following another in a necessary progression, and Masterminds are naturally able to grasp how each one leads to the next, and to prepare alternatives for difficulties that are likely to arise any step of the way. Trying to anticipate every contingency, Masterminds never set off on their current project without a Plan A firmly in mind, but they are always prepared to switch to Plan B or C or D if need be.

Masterminds are rare, comprising no more than, say, one percent of the population, and they are rarely encountered outside their office, factory, school, or laboratory. Although they are highly capable leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once they take charge, however, they are thoroughgoing pragmatists. Masterminds are certain that efficiency is indispensable in a well-run organization, and if they encounter inefficiency-any waste of human and material resources-they are quick to realign operations and reassign personnel. Masterminds do not feel bound by established rules and procedures, and traditional authority does not impress them, nor do slogans or catchwords. Only ideas that make sense to them are adopted; those that don’t, aren’t, no matter who thought of them. Remember, their aim is always maximum efficiency.

Well back to work…

In their careers, Masterminds usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are dedicated in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither their own time and effort nor that of their colleagues and employees. Problem-solving is highly stimulating to Masterminds, who love responding to tangled systems that require careful sorting out. Ordinarily, they verbalize the positive and avoid comments of a negative nature; they are more interested in moving an organization forward than dwelling on mistakes of the past.

Back in 2005, I took the Enneagram for the first time and I was an investigator

Enneagram Type 5 Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

Of course that is too nice to be true.  Apparently we are the way we are because we are insecure.

Behind Fives’ relentless pursuit of knowledge are deep insecurities about their ability to function successfully in the world.

In case you are wondering, Wendy is an INTP and blogs about it here.

My Personality (or lack thereof)

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I find I have become more introverted since I started working at the Centre.  Others who work there tell me the same thing happened to them.  I am not saying it is a bad thing but I notice that Wendy on vacation is much more extroverted than the same Wendy who works at Customer Service all day at Safeway and is just looking for a quiet place to decompress in.  I suppose work has a strong influence on how introverted and extroverted I feel.