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Big Lens Question for Yellowstone

  
 
ahamp
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


I will be going to Yellowstone the third week in May. I haven't been there for decades! I would love advice about whether to bring the 500 f/4. Or, would the 200-500 VR suffice? I plan to bring both a D500 and a Z6II for bodies. I have photographed bison and elk in lots of different locations. So, they wouldn't necessarily be my main targets. I appreciate any advice from those who have visited more recently.


Apr 23, 2022 at 03:35 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


I have never been there but heading there a few weeks after you. And I am planning to take my 600/4 alongside my 200-600. Based on all I have seen/heard, 200-500 should be good enough for bison, elk, and such, but if you are lucky enough to come across wolves and bears (or birds for that matter), there is a good chance that even 500 may not be long enough, and you would want to use TCs which of course work a lot nicer with the prime. At least that is my justification for carrying the extra weight, not to mention the extra hassle!


Apr 23, 2022 at 03:44 PM
dmcphoto
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


Wildlife is out at dawn and dusk, and that's also when the light is nice and soft so you'll get the best photos without harsh shadows. I've always used a 600 f/4 there, often with a 1.4x teleconverter when there's enough light to shoot F/5.6.


Apr 23, 2022 at 04:13 PM
shibutg
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


You have a very good chance of seeing Grizzlys at YTNP, I strongly recommend going here too.
I highly recommend taking both lenses, taking 500 prime lens is totally worth.
You may see moose and black bears too, if you are lucky foxes too.

Shibu



Apr 23, 2022 at 09:19 PM
bflood
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


My wife and I took a couple of snow coach tours in Yellowstone in February 2008. On each tour, someone asked the coach driver for his recommendation for the best time of year to visit the park. Both gave the same very specific answer of the third week in May. Asked why, they said that it was late enough in spring that the hibernating animals will be out of hibernation, hungry, and therefore feeding a lot, most but not all the year's newborns will be born, making for lots of little ones to see, the risk of snow won't be zero, but the risk of vacation-ruining big snowfall was so small that it shouldn't be an issue, and it's before Memorial Day, so schools will still be in session, limiting the crowds. I don't know about the school schedules these days, but I went the third week in May 2012, days after I retired. I saw and photographed more bears on that trip than on all 6 other trips to the park combined. I photographed an elk calf being born, walking minutes later, and swimming across the Madison River and hour later. You are definitely going at the best time!

I recommend taking both lenses. I have a Cotton Carrier holster that I can hang one camera on while carrying the other on a tripod over my shoulder. I'd put the 200-500 on the D500 for the more distant subjects, and the 500/4 on the Z for best low-light shooting around dawn/sunset.

I can't imagine leaving either lens at home while I'm in Yellowstone.



Apr 25, 2022 at 09:56 PM
ahamp
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


Thanks for all the advice. I now plan to take both lenses. They fit easily in my old Gura Gear Kiboko. My landscape kit takes up less space and can go in a small backpack (I know I won't be comfortable with a shoulder bag). I'll carry one of the longer rigs on a sling depending on the location.
We purposely planned our week to arrive before the true "season" starts. I am fortunate to be available at this time this year.



Apr 26, 2022 at 04:26 AM
MRomine
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


ahamp wrote:
So, they wouldn't necessarily be my main targets. I appreciate any advice from those who have visited more recently.


That being the case I would take that 200-500 zoom. I love that range for picking out landscape details. I rented one last fall for our trip to CO to photograph the turning Aspens. Loved that lens and I ended up suing it more than I thought I would.




Apr 29, 2022 at 10:39 AM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


I would want the 500mm f/4 and the TC-14 teleconverter. Legally one is supposed to stay 100 yards away from the bears and with a mother with her cubs it is a good idea anyway in terms of personal safety. An 80-400mm is great for the bison and elk and the 200-500mm is good for the small rodents and bird life in the park.


May 14, 2022 at 02:50 PM
Abbott Schindl
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


Depending on how you shoot, both lenses would be helpful to have along. A 500 or 600 f/4 with a TC would be better for larger wildlife, especially early and late in the day. The 200-500 is more versatile and I've found a similar one (I shoot Canon, so 100-400 or 100-500) great for shooting landscape details and even some closer detail (of course it's good for large mammals and birds as well).

Whenever I go to Yellowstone, both lenses are with me, sometimes one on each camera I bring so I can swap quickly.



May 15, 2022 at 10:37 AM
 


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Scott Stoness
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


100-400 and 600f4/1.4x

100-400 when you are car shooting mid day.

And 600/1.4 is needed lots when the wolves are not near - most of the time.

There is a camera store in Bozeman that rents lens.

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1751115/0#15911122 would not have worked with 500mm.



May 16, 2022 at 01:57 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


But I am curious, how do you guys carry two big lenses around?!

For my upcoming trip to YNP, I am planning to take both Sony 600/1.4 and 200-600. I'll have 600/1.4 on my A1, and 200-600 on my A9II. I do have Boris IV backpack which is very nice and fits both cameras with lenses attached. But, man, the bag would be too damn heavy to carry on my back for long. And of course, for security reasons, I would not want to leave any of the two cameras back in the car when we go on any hikes (which would all be short given our kids).

I had the same setup in another recent weekend getaway, and I used this to carry the backpack around:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0916NLJRW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It worked OK on smooth/paved walkways, but I am not sure how it will work on trails and boardwalks in YNP.

So I am curious, what you guys do if you have two big lenses with you?

Thanks



May 19, 2022 at 02:10 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


With the 500mm lens a TC-14 III is a good addition to provide you with a 700mm f/5.6 lens. A 700mm focal length increases the image size by 96% over the 500mm alone. The subject in an image is magnified by 40% in both height and in width.


May 24, 2022 at 01:43 PM
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


cambyses wrote:
But I am curious, how do you guys carry two big lenses around?!

For my upcoming trip to YNP, I am planning to take both Sony 600/1.4 and 200-600. I'll have 600/1.4 on my A1, and 200-600 on my A9II. I do have Boris IV backpack which is very nice and fits both cameras with lenses attached. But, man, the bag would be too damn heavy to carry on my back for long. And of course, for security reasons, I would not want to leave any of the two cameras back in the car when we go on any hikes
...Show more

I bring only one lens and usually not a big one when hiking. It is rare to get close enough to wildlife when hiking and even if you can, its not advisable.

I use 600/1.4 near my car with a monopod. And If I hike; I bring my 100-400 (but rarely does it work because I make noise to scare off grizzlies and even if I found a grizzly close enough to shoot at 400mm, its not safe). Big animals are best from a shelter for safety. But if I was shooting a pica I would leave the 100-400 behind and carry my 600.in a backpack.

Get insurance and stop worrying. Whats the point of having a $10,000 lens if you are afraid to leave it in your car.




May 24, 2022 at 05:29 PM
ahamp
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


I took both lenses. Ended up not doing much hiking due to weather and an injury sustained on a hike in the Tetons days earlier. Weather could be classified as mostly winter during our 3 days in the park. Snow, heavy at times, several times per day. Many facilities still closed along with a couple of roads/sections of roads. We even had thunder sleet!


May 24, 2022 at 08:47 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


Scott Stoness wrote:
I bring only one lens and usually not a big one when hiking. It is rare to get close enough to wildlife when hiking and even if you can, its not advisable.

I use 600/1.4 near my car with a monopod. And If I hike; I bring my 100-400 (but rarely does it work because I make noise to scare off grizzlies and even if I found a grizzly close enough to shoot at 400mm, its not safe). Big animals are best from a shelter for safety. But if I was shooting a pica I would leave the 100-400 behind
...Show more

Yes, thanks...

I asked the question about hiking at this time of the year in some Yellowstone FB groups, and based on all the comments/responses I have received, I think I have decided to pass on any hikes, and limit it to only short walks on the boardwalks around geysers. Given the apparent bear activity at this time, and our young kids, I feel it may not be very safe even on the trails. So, perhaps except for the private wildlife photography tour I have booked, I expect all my photography to be done from near my car on the pullouts and such. So yes, I'll probably leave the 600 in the car for those very short walks, and carry both A1+200-600, and A9II+35-150 on my shoulder.

Thanks again...



May 25, 2022 at 12:14 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


ahamp wrote:
I took both lenses. Ended up not doing much hiking due to weather and an injury sustained on a hike in the Tetons days earlier. Weather could be classified as mostly winter during our 3 days in the park. Snow, heavy at times, several times per day. Many facilities still closed along with a couple of roads/sections of roads. We even had thunder sleet!


Thanks for the update! So how were the wildlife opportunities from the roads though? Did you manage to get any good shots?



May 25, 2022 at 12:15 PM
ahamp
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Big Lens Question for Yellowstone


cambyses wrote:
Thanks for the update! So how were the wildlife opportunities from the roads though? Did you manage to get any good shots?


Lots of wildlife from the roads. Many far away. Several closer opportunities with bears, moose and foxes. Few great keepers, though. It snowed so frequently it was hard to see much through the blowing snow. We saw over a dozen grizzlies, about a dozen moose, 2 foxes, 6+ osprey, and a couple of distant bighorns. Bison and elk too numerous to count. We spent about 3 days in the park and stayed there until dark each day.



May 25, 2022 at 01:27 PM







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