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Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?

  
 
phuviano
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


Hi everyone. I will be going to the grand canyon in a few months. I want to take some astro photos. I've never been successful in taking astro photos. I'm not sure if its me, or just too much light pollution from where i've tried. Anyways, the grand canyon should be a place where the light pollution levels are low, is that correct?

I currently have the 16-35 GM, should it be good enough for astro? Or should i buy a 14mm GM or 24mm GM? Fyi, i'd liked to stick with sony GM lenses.

I'm thinking of buying a used 14mm, but is 14mm a bit too wide for the grand canyon? Or should i just stick with my 16-35mm GM?

I probably won't make much use of the 14mm or 24mm afterwards, if i do buy one or both of these. This is why i'd go the used route, and most likely sell afterwards.

Also going to horseshoe bend, upper antelope canyon, monument valley, and sedona on the same trip.

Any tips on shooting astro or focal lengths to use?



Aug 23, 2022 at 04:21 AM
RS Photo
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


I'm not an expert at Astro but you definitely need the 24mm or the 14mm. I'm heading to Yellowstone next week and I'm bring both so I can give you a better reply in about a week. I assume others with tell you what you need to know. Watch some YouTube videos and learn the 500 rule. With software like DxO PureRaw, you can raise the ISO but the 14mm and 24mm allows you to keep the ISO somewhat lower. Good luck!


Aug 23, 2022 at 09:03 AM
sbay
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


By astro do you mean the milky core in a landscape? If so the 16-35gm is excellent for that purpose. I would not buy the 14gm until you've had some experience and decided that you really need it.

phuviano wrote:
Hi everyone. I will be going to the grand canyon in a few months.


In a few months the Milky Way season will be over or almost over. Check with stellarium-web.org and make sure that the direction of core matches up with your viewpoint and desired composition. It will be in the S or SW which won't work if you are looking north across the canyon.



Aug 23, 2022 at 11:07 AM
grahamgibson
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


You can absolutely use the 16-35 GM. Sure an f1.8 or f1.4 prime would be a bit better, but f2.8 is sufficient. I've taken single image milky way shots at f4 and f4.5.

I think your time and energy is better spent learning. Watch videos or read articles about the whole process. Try to figure out what went wrong when you've tried before. Plan your night(s) and look up the moon phases. Do some testing/practice at night before you go, even if you can't get the milky way due to light pollution. And if you want to really improve your image quality, stacking is FAR FAR more powerful than any lens.



Aug 23, 2022 at 11:26 AM
phuviano
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?




sbay wrote:
By astro do you mean the milky core in a landscape? If so the 16-35gm is excellent for that purpose. I would not buy the 14gm until you've had some experience and decided that you really need it.


Doesn't have to have the milky way core in the photo. As long as there are stars in the sky.



Aug 23, 2022 at 01:39 PM
AZHeaven
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


phuviano wrote:
Hi everyone. I will be going to the grand canyon in a few months. I want to take some astro photos. I've never been successful in taking astro photos. I'm not sure if its me, or just too much light pollution from where i've tried. Anyways, the grand canyon should be a place where the light pollution levels are low, is that correct?

I currently have the 16-35 GM, should it be good enough for astro? Or should i buy a 14mm GM or 24mm GM? Fyi, i'd liked to stick with sony GM lenses.

I'm thinking of buying a used 14mm,
...Show more

I live 2 hours south of the Grand Canyon South Rim and an hour from Sedona. The Grand Canyon is a IDS designated area. And the yearly Star Party is held near the visitor center. My advice is to check with the Rangers on where best to go. If the road is open at night? I'd go to one of the points off of Hermits Rest Rd. I like Powell Pt. That point does have excellent views of the north, west and east skies, and somewhat of the southern sky. As does Hopi Pt. Just be aware. It does get cold at night since you are at near and over 7,000 feet. So pack accordingly!

I think you will be just fine with the 16-35 f2.8. What other lenses do you have?
I went on a camping trip with my son in law last year to the North Rim of the canyon (Point Sublime, a 90 min drive west) and southern UT. I specially used a rented Sigma 14-24 f2.8 for my astro and landscapes.

Just be aware of the crowds at Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. You may want to consider the less crowded Lower Antelope Canyon. And don't expect to see much water in Lake Powell! Last I read it's at 22% of full.

Monument Valley. Not sure if the Navajo opened the 11 mile loop road to tourist vehicles. Last I heard you had to have a guide to be on that road. As for the Mittens? There is an area you can set yourself up at to view the Mittens, etc. They are right there! Also across the street from the View Hotel is another hotel, Gouldings Lodge. There is an interesting film history museum there. And don't forget the Forest Gump Overlook! And not too far away is Mexican Hat and Gooseneck State Park.

Sedona. Do you have a place to stay? My cousin rented a place at a B & B with phenomenal views of the Sedona area. I can get you the info if you like. Also be aware of the crowds in UPtown (don't dare call it downtown Sedona!) and pretty much everywhere! You can drive up to or through Oak Creek Canyon and Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte but go early. If you want a less crowded view of Cathedral Rock? Go down Red Rock Loop Rd. to Red Rock State Park.

That's a start! Hope I wasn't overwhelming!



Aug 24, 2022 at 07:51 AM
phuviano
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


AZHeaven wrote:
I live 2 hours south of the Grand Canyon South Rim and an hour from Sedona. The Grand Canyon is a IDS designated area. And the yearly Star Party is held near the visitor center. My advice is to check with the Rangers on where best to go. If the road is open at night? I'd go to one of the points off of Hermits Rest Rd. I like Powell Pt. That point does have excellent views of the north, west and east skies, and somewhat of the southern sky. As does Hopi Pt. Just be aware. It does get
...Show more

Yeah I've read about the weather at night. I'm going mid October, so I'm not expecting hot weather at all. My other lenses are the 55 f1.8, and batis 85. I read somewhere on google that they re-opened the 17 mile drive sometime earlier this year for self driving. I've many photos of both upper and lower antelope canyon, and the lower photos just don't do it for me. I'm more impressed by the all the upper canyon photos I've seen. I don't mind that it might be crowded. I'm actually staying at Gould's lodge, and yes I will be trying to take an astro photo at Forest Gump point. I have an airbnb rented in Sedona, I forgot which viewpoints its close to, but its walking distance to some of the view points in Sedona.

I will check out the other places you suggested. Thanks for the suggestions, greatly appreciate it.




Aug 25, 2022 at 01:32 AM
osv2
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


no doubt you've heard about fire in the southwestern u.s.; the smoke fills up canyons and ruins visibility, if you are downwind of a big plume it'll be difficult to see stars thru the smoke even from 7000 ft. elevation.

i'd expect that the worst of it should be over in october, but these days you never know, here is a place to keep track of fires: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/



Aug 25, 2022 at 01:40 PM
Gandalf2401
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


There's a cheap solution for longer shutter speeds without star trails. It's fully mechanic, light weight, no batteries required. Don't know if it's available in the US.

https://www.omegon.eu/de/fotomontierungen/omegon-montierung-minitrack-lx-quattro-ns-set-mit-kugelkopf-polhoehenwiege-/p,71927



Aug 26, 2022 at 12:23 AM
kimknapp
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


I'm on my way to that area. Astrophotography in Monument Valley starting Sunday for a few days. I'll let you know how it is.


Aug 26, 2022 at 08:23 AM
 


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AZHeaven
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


kimknapp wrote:
I'm on my way to that area. Astrophotography in Monument Valley starting Sunday for a few days. I'll let you know how it is.


Good luck and have fun! Starting Sunday it looks like we are getting a break from the monsoons for several days. And don't forget Forest Gump Pt. on the highway, Mexican Hat and Gooseneck State Park if you have the time.



Aug 26, 2022 at 08:37 AM
AZHeaven
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


osv2 wrote:
no doubt you've heard about fire in the southwestern u.s.; the smoke fills up canyons and ruins visibility, if you are downwind of a big plume it'll be difficult to see stars thru the smoke even from 7000 ft. elevation.

i'd expect that the worst of it should be over in october, but these days you never know, here is a place to keep track of fires: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/


There has been one small fire on the North Rim. But that is out now. And during summer the prevailing winds in AZ are mostly from the south or south west. The only thing with the canyon being obscured is those "rare" (, they are not that rare!) cloud inversions.



Aug 26, 2022 at 08:41 AM
AZHeaven
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


phuviano wrote:
Yeah I've read about the weather at night. I'm going mid October, so I'm not expecting hot weather at all. My other lenses are the 55 f1.8, and batis 85. I read somewhere on google that they re-opened the 17 mile drive sometime earlier this year for self driving. I've many photos of both upper and lower antelope canyon, and the lower photos just don't do it for me. I'm more impressed by the all the upper canyon photos I've seen. I don't mind that it might be crowded. I'm actually staying at Gould's lodge, and yes I will be
...Show more

Our weather in AZ gets "boring" after mid September. Mostly clear and sunny days and nights. Oh, and nice and easy in the canyon and Sedona. The canyon elevation is average 7,000 feet. Sedona is average mile high.



Aug 26, 2022 at 08:47 AM
osv2
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


AZHeaven wrote:
There has been one small fire on the North Rim. But that is out now. And during summer the prevailing winds in AZ are mostly from the south or south west. The only thing with the canyon being obscured is those "rare" (, they are not that rare!) cloud inversions.


the only reason it's not burning right now is because of an abnormally wet monsoon season, so in that sense it could be a good time to go... what i'm referring to tho is average years, and it's now much worse than average: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/western-megadrought-is-the-worst-in-1-200-years/

i shot this in august of 2018, if you think that's good visibility i'd suggest that you get your eyeglass prescription renewed








Aug 26, 2022 at 09:29 AM
AZHeaven
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


osv2 wrote:
the only reason it's not burning right now is because of an abnormally wet monsoon season, so in that sense it could be a good time to go... what i'm referring to tho is average years, and it's now much worse than average: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/western-megadrought-is-the-worst-in-1-200-years/

i shot this in august of 2018, if you think that's good visibility i'd suggest that you get your eyeglass prescription renewed

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52312692854_80eabcb5ef_h.jpg

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52312691474_1c87f8193a_h.jpg



The only time I've seen the Grand Canyon obscured by clouds was once during a "rare" cloud inversion and one other time by a "controlled burn" that got out of control on the North Rim. Hazy a couple of times like in your photos. But again, rare. I wish I could get up there during monsoon season to catch a rainbow in the canyon, which happened twice but I wasn't into photography then.



Aug 27, 2022 at 08:12 AM
kimknapp
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?



AZHeaven wrote:
Good luck and have fun! Starting Sunday it looks like we are getting a break from the monsoons for several days. And don't forget Forest Gump Pt. on the highway, Mexican Hat and Gooseneck State Park if you have the time.


Don't worry, I always have a great time in southern Utah! Most of the night photography is going to be in the Indian territory in and around Monument Valley, but we are all staying in Bluff. Hope to be not too sleepy during the day to get out and about in my favorite places around there.
Kim


Edited on Aug 27, 2022 at 07:01 PM · View previous versions



Aug 27, 2022 at 08:30 AM
osv2
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


AZHeaven wrote:
The only time I've seen the Grand Canyon obscured by clouds was once during a "rare" cloud inversion and one other time by a "controlled burn" that got out of control on the North Rim. Hazy a couple of times like in your photos. But again, rare. I wish I could get up there during monsoon season to catch a rainbow in the canyon, which happened twice but I wasn't into photography then.


i'd really like to see a rainbow in the canyon! and get some lightning pics as well... my point is that fire in the grand canyon is normal, this is prime fire season and it's about smoke not clouds, so people need to think about a plan "b" if the canyon view is obscured by smoke, as i showed in those pics:

"This study documented fire history using cross-dated tree wedges and master chronologies developed from the montane mixed-conifer forest in the Grand Canyon National Park to assess occurrences of natural fires prior to Euro-American settlement. Fire frequency was determined along an elevation gradient from the lower to the upper eco-tones of the mixed-conifer forest and along a temporal gradient from pre-Euro-American settlement to the present. Mean fire interval generally increased with elevation, especially during the pre-Euro-American era, representative of the natural fire regime. Pre-Euro-American settlement fire intervals (prior to 1870) were longer than the settlement era (18701919) intervals, but shorter than the suppression era (19201995) intervals. Seasonality of burn was determined by detecting the position of each fire scar within the annual ring. The majority of fires occurred in late summer, coinciding with the July-August peak of the Arizona monsoon circulation (and lightning activity) in this region." https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02723646.1998.10642637

https://grandcanyon.com/news/smoky-skies-over-the-grand-canyon/




Aug 27, 2022 at 09:16 AM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


Thinking in a few months it's going to be more the winter milky way in the north.


Aug 27, 2022 at 11:23 AM
kimknapp
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


kimknapp wrote:
I'm on my way to that area. Astrophotography in Monument Valley starting Sunday for a few days. I'll let you know how it is.


A little late, sorry. Here are a few.
It was partially cloudy the first night, but still got some good shots. The other couple nights were clear.




  ILCE-7RM4    FE 24mm F1.4 GM lens    24mm    f/1.4    100s    1600 ISO    0.0 EV  






  ILCE-7RM4    FE 24mm F1.4 GM lens    24mm    f/1.4    20s    2500 ISO    0.0 EV  






  ILCE-7RM4    FE 14mm F1.8 GM lens    14mm    f/1.8    10s    2500 ISO    0.0 EV  




Sep 23, 2022 at 10:45 AM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Astrophotography in the grand canyon (south rim) any advice or tips?


Looked, it's still more summer milky way. But that's in the south, more Cassiopeia in the north and Cygnus overhead. November might be a bit late though for Sagittarius area Cygnus might be lower in the west though


Sep 23, 2022 at 11:20 AM







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