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Archive 2012 · Yosemite gear/filter questions
  
 
allstarimaging
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p.1 #1 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


Hello,
I have planned a trip to CA for 9 nights the beginning of June. I'm from Massachusttes and this is my first trip to California. I'll be in Yosemite for four nights, Napa for two and San Francisco for three. Family trip but I plan on having plenty of time to shoot. Hoping for some snow to get the waterfalls going. For gear I will be bringing:

Nikon D7000 + A Nikon full frame body ( not sure which one. Hoping for a D800 )
Nikon 14-24
Nikon 24-70
Nikon 105 VR Macro.
Tripod

The only filter I own right now is a CP for the 24-70. If you were going to add one or two filters for landscapes witht the 24-70 which would you suggest? Any other suggestions as well? Thank you.

Jack



Jan 15, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Two23
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p.1 #2 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


The only filters I've ever used there were the polarizer, a HiTech 2-stop hard edge ND, a HiTech 2-stop soft edge ND (both in Cokin P mount.) Really, that's it.


Kent in SD



Jan 15, 2012 at 04:55 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #3 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


First, let me acknowledge that a lot of this is a matter of personal preference related to style.

I shoot in Yosemite a lot. (I'll be there this evening and then tomorrow.) I shoot from the road and I also shoot from the trail in the backcountry. When carrying the whole kit, I cover 17mm to 400mm on full frame, and I use all of these lenses regularly. I could shoot there with your kit, but I would want a longer lens, too, for my purposes.

As for filters, there are only two types that I carry. A CPL (circular polarizer) can be useful for a number of purposes, ranging from the usual control of reflections and heightening of sky/cloud contrasts, to working as a sort of quick and dirty neutral density filter. Speaking of the latter, I do carry a neutral density filter, too. I find it useful for shooting creeks and waterfalls since I can lengthen the exposure time to get some motion blur in the water even in daylight.

I'm personally not a fan of graduated neutral density filters - I shoot from the tripod, so I prefer exposure blending methods.

Enjoy the park!

Dan

allstarimaging wrote:
Hello,
I have planned a trip to CA for 9 nights the beginning of June. I'm from Massachusttes and this is my first trip to California. I'll be in Yosemite for four nights, Napa for two and San Francisco for three. Family trip but I plan on having plenty of time to shoot. Hoping for some snow to get the waterfalls going. For gear I will be bringing:

Nikon D7000 + A Nikon full frame body ( not sure which one. Hoping for a D800 )
Nikon 14-24
Nikon 24-70
Nikon 105 VR Macro.
Tripod

The only filter I own right now is a CP for
...Show more



Jan 15, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Bruce Sawle
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p.1 #4 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


Jack you would consider a longer lens option 70-200 or 70-300. Surprisingly I find the long focal length get used more the you would think. On two resent trips one to Patagonia and the other to Pinnacles in Northern California I used my 70-200 at least 75% of the time. For me I would take either the 14-24 or the 24-70. My preference would be the 14-24. This would be for DX or FX. The macro may come in handy depending on the time of year. If Nikon does release the D800 with 36mp you will have some choices to make but for me one body would be what I would take. I wanted to limit the amount of gear weight I was lugging around. Lastly you will find a CPL most useful followed by a ND. I use the ND filter for shooting water and streams whee I want a longer exposure.


Jan 15, 2012 at 06:57 PM
millsart
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p.1 #5 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


Bear in mind of course that the 14-24 doesn't take filters (easily)

Perhaps consider instead a lens like a 17-35 for both wide and semi normal plus a lighter tele like a 70-300 VR

unless your a really die hard macro shooter as well, a close up filter can often work quite nicely for the typical plants/rocks etc type of near macro shooting. Not knocking a macro lens, but really unless your doing stuff near 1:1 they just seem a bit pricey for something that most people use for a handful of shoots.

I'd add a ND as well for any streams/lakes/rivers/waterfalls you might want to shoot

I'm not a huge fan of ND grads though do have a few filters (lots of cheap filter holders on Ebay and HiTec isn't too bad for little money) but really don't use them a lot, so quick and easy to blend digitally these days and I find I hardly have flat horizons for smooth transition zones anyways.



Jan 15, 2012 at 09:13 PM
allstarimaging
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p.1 #6 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


Thank you to all for your insights.. looks like I'll be adding a ND to the kit.
Jack



Jan 16, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #7 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


I agree on the idea of an ND and a longer lens. There should be a fair amount of water in June and lots of opportunities. Lots of roadside creeks along the Tioga and Wawona Roads that will have plenty of water early in the season.

A 70-200 or 70-300 (or even longer) will be handy for wildlife. Yosemite's not as wildlife heavy as Yellowstone but deer are common in the valley and coyote aren't all that infrequently seen. I've had limited luck with bears but they are there as well. I'd likely keep the long lens on one of the bodies pretty much all the time because I find that the best way to get an animal to happen by is to swap on the wide angles.



Jan 16, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #8 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


gdanmitchell wrote:
First, let me acknowledge that a lot of this is a matter of personal preference related to style.

I shoot in Yosemite a lot. (I'll be there this evening and then tomorrow.) I shoot from the road and I also shoot from the trail in the backcountry. When carrying the whole kit, I cover 17mm to 400mm on full frame, and I use all of these lenses regularly. I could shoot there with your kit, but I would want a longer lens, too, for my purposes.

As for filters, there are only two types that I carry. A CPL (circular polarizer)
...Show more

Dan,
How do you deal with windy conditions? I could never blend exposures where wind is a factor. In these situations, a gradual ND is helpful.
Fred



Jan 16, 2012 at 11:12 PM
lighthawk
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p.1 #9 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


This is not so much gear oriented, but logistics. Yosemite in June is very crowded. Driving around can be done, but parking is tough and you might find yourself sitting in traffic instead of being behind the lens.

We bring bikes to the Valley and they offer a quick way around pedestrians and autos. There is also the bus system. If you really want to leave people behind, you will need to hike. Early starts for popular trailheads are a good idea.

Have a great visit. Yosemite Valley is one of the wonders of the Earth.

Edited on Jan 18, 2012 at 04:49 AM · View previous versions



Jan 17, 2012 at 04:39 AM
mpmendenhall
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p.1 #10 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


In the miscellaneous advice section: make sure you have a good plan for keeping your gear dry. Many of the interesting trails can have sections with a lot of water spray from the waterfalls --- you should be prepared to pass through the equivalent of a moderate rainstorm. You'll want both a good waterproof pack/bag for your gear, and comfortable clothing that will dry out quickly after getting soaking wet. Packing a towel probably wouldn't be a bad idea either.


Jan 17, 2012 at 08:32 AM
 

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gdanmitchell
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p.1 #11 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


Good question, Fred.

I'm not sure if you are concerned about subject motion (e.g. - moving leaves) or a moving camera (with long lenses, this can be an issue even with a solid tripod), so let me deal with both.

Regarding subject motion, this rarely turns out to be a problem for several reasons. First, since I'm typically blending different areas from the two (or occasionally more) exposures, the objects within the areas usually come entirely from one or the other exposure. Take a surf shot, for example. One of the component exposures might include the water and the other exposure might include, say, the sky - so there really isn't a point in the frame where I get a doubly image with different points in the motion of the subject. In other cases, some care in where the boundaries are created can overcome any potential problems. With foliage - say a sunny section and a shaded section - I'm most likely to blend in a bit of the longer exposure in shaded areas, and I can either be careful about the boundaries, or I find that these areas include less motion. Also, it is good to keep in mind that it isn't always necessarily to completely stop motion - lots of fine landscape work has moving leaves, for example.

As far as camera stability issues go, I have a little live view trick that I use when wind is a concern. I frame the composition, focus, then leave the live view display zoomed in at 10X. If there is any vibration from wind I'll see it in the display - and I simply wait for a lull in the motion to make the exposures.

Hope I'm answering the right questions!

Dan

Fred Miranda wrote:
Dan,
How do you deal with windy conditions? I could never blend exposures where wind is a factor. In these situations, a gradual ND is helpful.
Fred




Jan 17, 2012 at 05:25 PM
ecidi
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p.1 #12 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


millsart wrote:
Bear in mind of course that the 14-24 doesn't take filters (easily)

Perhaps consider instead a lens like a 17-35 for both wide and semi normal plus a lighter tele like a 70-300 VR

unless your a really die hard macro shooter as well, a close up filter can often work quite nicely for the typical plants/rocks etc type of near macro shooting. Not knocking a macro lens, but really unless your doing stuff near 1:1 they just seem a bit pricey for something that most people use for a handful of shoots.

I'd add a ND as well for any streams/lakes/rivers/waterfalls you
...Show more

The Nikon 14-24 now can take 145mm filters with an adapter according to Fotodiox. They also released 145mm filters for the Nikkor 14-24. They are the CPL, ND and UV filters. All available at Amazon

http://www.fotodiox.com/product_info.php?products_id=1485&osCsid=002cbda3d936725cf824668ebd655ad4








Jan 18, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #13 · Yosemite gear/filter questions



As far as camera stability issues go, I have a little live view trick that I use when wind is a concern. I frame the composition, focus, then leave the live view display zoomed in at 10X. If there is any vibration from wind I'll see it in the display - and I simply wait for a lull in the motion to make the exposures.


That is an excellent tip Dan. I never thought about it but live view at 10x will give us the best wind forecast!
I was referring to foliage movement and though you were combing exposures automatically (via fusion or HDR). In your case, it's not an issue since you will be editing manually. (Which is the best way imo)
Best,
Fred



Jan 18, 2012 at 12:39 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #14 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


Fred Miranda wrote:
That is an excellent tip Dan. I never thought about it but live view at 10x will give us the best wind forecast!
I was referring to foliage movement and though you were combing exposures automatically (via fusion or HDR). In your case, it's not an issue since you will be editing manually. (Which is the best way imo)
Best,
Fred


Sounds like we're on the same page here. I don't really use the software-based more-or-less-automatic HDR approach. I do all of my blending manually, using masked layers in Photoshop.

On the other hand, I've been persuaded by some very fine photographers whose work does not at all scream "HDR!" that HDR-type techniques can be used in some subtle and effective ways, too. Eventually I need to look at this more closely.

Dan



Jan 18, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Roland W
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p.1 #15 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


Using live view at 10X to judge vibration of your support system is very useful, and has been discussed fairly often before. But using it for watching wind effects on your subject due to movement like leaf movement is a new technique for me. You actually get to watch for both things at the same time in the magnified live view, and can judge each independently. Subject movement matters for both single exposures and for combining multiple exposures, and finding lulls or judging how much movement you currently have is important for image sharpness, or for intentional local image blurring.

So of course I want more. Do we need to ask Canon or Nikon to provide for bringing up a second or even a third magnified live view window, all at the same time, so that we can judge focus, vibration, and movement, all in multiple places? Just a second live view window would be very useful for two point focus of a tilt shift lens. And while we are at it, why not include the option of a little mini histogram beside each live view window, so that we can quickly judge the exposures in the selected areas, and also quickly pick good bracketing exposures for HDR. As they say, it is all just software. Do you think they are listening?

And a back track on my big wish would be a smaller one, where we could get a mini or full sized histogram for just the single magnified live view selection we have made. Do any cameras do that yet?



Jan 18, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #16 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


allstar -- I think you'll find, despite most people's initial inclination, that UWA lenses are not as useful as you would think. Most of the scenic wonders are at a bit of distance, so you won't be right on top with a UWA. The 24-70 will be more useful than the 14-24. A slightly longer lens isn't a bad idea, but it's not my thing.

The towering grandeur of the rocks and trees of Yosemite is very much like photographing skyscrapers, and you won't want a lot of leaning distortion or empty sky and grass. I can get far more accomplished with a 24 TS-E lens and moderate wide ange like 35mm. If I had a 17 TS-E, 24 TS-E, and 24-70, I could pretty well cover everything from river bed to mountain top and all trails. Longer lenses like 35, 50, 85 can be used to stitch broad panoramas -- and this is exactly the place to make some panos from the meadows. A 60mm to 100mm macro would be nice for details and views through the trees while hiking around.

I wouldn't bother with the D7000, except as emergency back up. Yosemite is made for full frame (and larger!). You'll see what I mean!

Full frame, tripod, and a couple quality lenses (TS and macro would be two I'd want).



Jan 19, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #17 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


gdanmitchell wrote:
Good question, Fred.

I'm not sure if you are concerned about subject motion (e.g. - moving leaves) or a moving camera (with long lenses, this can be an issue even with a solid tripod), so let me deal with both.

Regarding subject motion, this rarely turns out to be a problem for several reasons. First, since I'm typically blending different areas from the two (or occasionally more) exposures, the objects within the areas usually come entirely from one or the other exposure. Take a surf shot, for example. One of the component exposures might include the water and the other exposure might
...Show more

I don't like the look of "tone mapping" and that is the heart of HDR...
HDR software has gotten better but based on your pictures, I don't think you would like it either.
However, you should try exposure fusion. Photomatix provides this option and in my opinion it's the best result you can get aside from manual layer work.
If you don't want Photomatix, you can use "Enfuse" for Lightroom, which pretty much does the same thing and it's free. (The creator only asks for a donation)
http://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php

As far as gear goes, I agree with Gunzorro regarding TS-Es
This could be an expensive proposition but the ideal gear would be 3 lenses and the 1.4x extender:

17mm TS-E,
24mm TS-E,
32mm TS-E,
70-200mm f/4L IS.

Don't forget to bring waterproof pants and boots.
Fred



Jan 19, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #18 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


"Don't forget to bring waterproof pants and boots."

Ha-ha! So true!

I'm going up tent camping in the valley the last week of March. I've never gone so early, and it may be downpours or snowstorms! At least I will be there, and I don't think Yosemite ever looks bad.

Fred -- Good point about the 1.4X extender -- it is recommended by Canon for both these TS-E lenses, greatly expanding their usefulness with almost imperceptable image decline. Some people buy the 17 and 1.4X to make it into a 24mm equiv.



Jan 19, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #19 · Yosemite gear/filter questions


Gunzorro wrote:
"Don't forget to bring waterproof pants and boots."

Ha-ha! So true!

I'm going up tent camping in the valley the last week of March. I've never gone so early, and it may be downpours or snowstorms! At least I will be there, and I don't think Yosemite ever looks bad.

Fred -- Good point about the 1.4X extender -- it is recommended by Canon for both these TS-E lenses, greatly expanding their usefulness with almost imperceptable image decline. Some people buy the 17 and 1.4X to make it into a 24mm equiv.


I will be there as well. First DeathValley.
I tried the 1.4x on the 17mm and didn't get good results even at smaller apertures. The 1.4x on the 24mm TSE II worked surprising really well. This is the 35mm TSE Canon didn't make.
Take care,
Fred



Jan 19, 2012 at 05:30 PM





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