January 26, 2015, 05:52:40 AM

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Messages - Cali_PH

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1
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: January 25, 2015, 07:04:22 PM »
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Oh Man! Please don't fuel the fire!! I have been intermittently reading the Arizona edition of the book you mention and just ordered the Utah one yesterday. "The Wave" would be awesome!! Don't know much about it but heard it's not an easy hike and even harder to win the the lottery. I'll pm you for more details. Thanks.
My plan was end May but moved it to early August. I think to do this justice I will keep Bryce/Zion for next time.
I am currently planing on two full days in Antelope Canyon. Covering the Upper twice and a night tour as well. Sunrise shoot at the Horseshoe Bend. Lake Powell was a recent addition as it is close, but not an absolute must. Perhaps, I'll forego that for now and focus on Arches and Canyonlands. And do Monument Valley on my way to them.
How are Arches and Canyonlands different? They are pretty close, aren't they? Let me know. Thanks again!

I'm sure the book will be enough for that.  "Oh, this place looks awesome.  Oh, it's only an hour from this other place...which is only an hour from this other place..."  That's why the main loop (often called the Grand Circle) is very popular.  Two days in Page definitely gives you more of a chance to get good shots.  Especially because when I've gone, for Lower anyway, you get to go ONCE a day.  The first time I shot so much I didn't get half way through before my two hours were up; back then you could pay an extra $20 and continue shooting, but 2 or 3 years ago they cracked down.  Had to go back the second day to hit the rest of it.  Not sure about the current rules.

If you're going to spend at least 2 full days there, the Bigthumbs have access to nearby Owl and Rattlesnake canyons.  Not as good as Antelope (so I hear), but then it won't be as crowded either.  Hopefully you can get beams inside Upper in August; not sure.  Lionel Bigthumb enjoys photography himself and last I talked to him would make custom tours for you, such as possibly taking you out to Gunsite Butte or Dead Horse Point.

http://www.navajoantelopecanyon.com/about.html

Canyonlands - Of course you need to do Mesa Arch at sunrise; there are many obvious pullouts for views.  False Kiva is a beautiful location that I've heard the rangers won't help you find, but there are somewhat decent directions in the book.  The hike is more difficult than I expected, very steep and rocky/slipper down and then back up to it, and then again back.  Hard to describe but it's difficult to see until you're right on it.  The most interesting locations in Canyonlands are difficult to get to and very remote, requiring high clearance 4WD vehicles.  Assuming you don't do that, many people go through in one day and spend the rest of the time in Arches.  Moab will probably be your base for these two parks.

Arches - one of my fav NP's, lots to see and do.  If you're not afraid of some scrambling, try the iconic sunrise shot of Turret Arch through one of the Windows Arches.  Delicate Arch is a must-do of course (take flashlights/headlamps if you go for sunset; I saw tons of people unprepared, making the long hike back stumbling around with their phones to light up the largely unmarked path); the hike out to Landscape arch is nice. 

Speaking of NP's, you may want to invest in an America the Beautiful pass if you don't have one and may visit other NP's in a year.  Most charge $20-25 to get in, and the pass is $80 for access to all NP's for a year.

Coyote Buttes North and South - I could be wrong but I'm guessing your chances are better in August than May due to less crowds.  It's only $5 or $7 to apply, so not a big loss if you don't win.  It does make it difficult to plan though.  North is a bit dangerous, and people have died out there, but I think it's generally been due to exposure (not taking enough water) and one guy a few years back stayed out until dark without lights and fell into a canyon.  It's fairly safe if you go prepared, but I've paid local guides to make sure.

Anyway, not that I have any control over this. Cali_PH's suggestion about arriving early afternoon and do sunset and sunrise is a good one. Most pictures I have seen are taken from the visitors center itself, is that a good place for the iconic look? Any other suggested places/spots?

The main shot of the 3 buttes is from the hotel parking lot/visitor center.  Along the main loop there are many nice shots to be had; there are many obvious pullouts and viewing spots along the route.  There are definitely some locations you can only get to from a paid tour.

2
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: January 25, 2015, 06:25:58 PM »
Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon is not far away.  I did Zion, South Coyote 2 summers ago - really want to go back.

Just an FYI, in Feb 2013 highway 89 had a bad landslide, and the section just south of Page has been closed (you can still get to Horseshoe Bend).  Last I heard they were hoping to open up the road by summer 2015.  There are detours, but I was told some aren't great roads, some not paved, and will add some time between Page and GC.  Anyway, be prepared to factor that into your planning if you do try to visit GC and 89 isn't open by the trip. 

3
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: January 25, 2015, 12:16:08 PM »
Well, this plan started with Antelope Canyon and then is creeping….. ;)
My primary goal is still that but am assessing what else I can manage within 6-7 days. So far I had thought that the Antelope Canyons, Lake Powell, Horseshoe bend and on my way back possibly squeeze Monument Valley. I realize that there is so much to see in this area and it should/will take multiple trips to do it justice. I have to be also careful to not enjoy all this from behind the viewfinder. Let me know what you think is doable. Thanks for the link,
Ray

Hahaha, I know the feeling well!  You're in danger of falling down the same rabbit hole I have.  in 2011, I went to Zion, Bryce, Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley in 5 days.  Loved it and immediately planned a trip the next year.  I bought "Photographing the Southwest" Utah and Arizona editions (highly, HIGHLY recommended, especially the Utah one), and my 2012 trip went from 10 to 20 days, with a 2nd trip later in the year.  I've gone back for 1-2 trips each year since, and will be going back this April.  There's just so much to see there it's amazing, and I still haven't been able to hit all the spots I want to, let alone in ideal conditions for the perfect shot.

In 6-7 days, you can hit quite a bit; Page can be done in a 1-2 days, assuming you don't have bad luck and get rained out of the slot canyons, and depending how much of Lake Powell you plan on exploring.  You can explore a decent amount of Monument Valley in half a day (most casual tourists do this), but I'd recommend something like arriving in the late afternoon, shoot sunset, stay overnight, shoot sunrise, with driving the main loop or joining a tour of it either day. 

As with my first experience, you can still squeeze in Zion/Bryce to get a feel for them, or Arches/Canyonlands.  In face, I once did Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches, Monument Valley, and Page in 6 days, but it was extremely rushed and NOT my schedule. 

When you're in the Page area, consider a quick easy trip to the Pariah Rimrock Toadstools  http://theworldinlight.com/thumbnails/the-toadstools-photos.html#.VMUb_C7rTuw

What month are you planning on?  If it's at least 3-4 months away, I'd also suggest looking into Coyote Buttes North (where the famous Wave is located) and Coyote Buttes South (which I consider more interesting and diverse) for another couple of 'bucket list' locations.  It's too complicated to fully explain here, but each section basically gives out 10 tickets per day, 4 months in advance, and another 10 the day before (in-person lottery in Kanab).  North is a lottery, South is first-come-first-serve; both open up their processes the first day of each month, and May is about to open up on Feb 1st.  Both are a bit hard to get to, so I'd recommend hiring a guide to take you and show you the best parts ($150-$175 a day).  If you go to CB South, you can also consider adding White Pocket, since it's free and in the area.

If you're going in May and decide you want to go and be prepared to be at a computer Feb 1st; I think the South tickets start at 9AM PST.

Read up more here:  http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/arolrsmain/paria/coyote_buttes/permits.html

The info on the ticket system can be a bit overwhelming and confusing, so if you decide yo want to try for one or both areas, feel free to pm me and I can help walk you through it.  I can also recommend guides, who I've used 3 times and will use again in April.  Sorry for babbling on too much, but obviously I love exploring Utah.  ;D

4
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: January 24, 2015, 08:00:08 PM »
I'd suggest sunrise and sunset for classic views of the Mittens/Merrick's Butte from The View's parking lot.  And I personally don't mind splurging for a stay in The View hotel, as opposed to the few other nearby locations. 

A lot of people tell you they wouldn't take their own cars down the main tourist loop, but I've done a couple of times without incident as opposed to taking one of the paid tours.  It can get rough, especially after a rain parts can get washed out, so you'll have to decide that yourself.  Note that if you're driving a rental car, your contract may restrict you from going off paved roads, so if you do have a car problem down there, it could get expensive.

You might want to consider a paid tour to get access to locations off the public loop, such as Hunt's Mesa.  The only time I had reserved a spot for that, there was a thunderstorm that night and we cancelled; figured we didn't want to be up there if lightning struck.

For a list of guided tour providers:
http://navajonationparks.org/htm/monumentvalleytours.htm

Have fun!  Are you planning on other spots in the area, such as Antelope Canyon or Arches/Canyonlands?

5
Post Processing / Re: Choose a Monitor?
« on: January 20, 2015, 04:44:18 PM »
If you're willing to go up to say, $700, you could get that in a 27".  Dell P2715q.

Some people shun Dell, and go toward Eizo or NEC or whatnot.  But that's out of your budget.  Dell makes a decent middle of the road (but still far better than standard) monitor, in my opinion.

Been doing some shopping myself lately. Just noticed the P2715Q is on sell for $524.99, so I jumped on it yesterday.

Wait, where?

Edit - nevermind.  Wow, straight from Dell, who would have guessed.  A good $100 cheaper than online retailers.

Yeah, sorry about that, wrote it a bit too quickly while eating lunch.

Anyway, I run a dual monitor setup so I figure worst case, if I'm not satisfied with the Dell I'll use it for my secondary screen when I buy something pricier/better.

6
Post Processing / Re: Choose a Monitor?
« on: January 20, 2015, 03:37:42 PM »
If you're willing to go up to say, $700, you could get that in a 27".  Dell P2715q.

Some people shun Dell, and go toward Eizo or NEC or whatnot.  But that's out of your budget.  Dell makes a decent middle of the road (but still far better than standard) monitor, in my opinion.

Been doing some shopping myself lately. Just noticed the P2715Q is on sell for $524.99, so I jumped on it yesterday.

7
Technical Support / Re: LG 27MB85Z-B
« on: December 05, 2014, 04:16:30 PM »
Currently Dell  U2713H is $680. I just ordered one myself

The Dell P2715Q has just been released for $699...wondering how these would be for photography work.

8
Landscape / Re: Give me your Mountains...lol
« on: November 14, 2014, 07:41:29 PM »
See if you can guess its name.

I know it, but I recently got back from a 12-day trip to Oregon, so I'll see if anyone else knows.  ;)

9
Canon General / Re: seeimpossible.usa.canon.com?
« on: October 06, 2014, 11:11:44 PM »
I thought the rather grandiose title sounded vaguely familiar and it was perhaps related to a recent Canon ad I'd seen online, but I was wrong; the ad was "To the Ends of the Earth," but still a cool watch if you haven't seen it yet:

To the Ends of the Earth Ad

10
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I wonder if the low shutter speed issue will always exist. It is probably the single biggest issue...once you get down to 1/30th of a second or slower, it really has a major impact on the EVF frame rate. I got down to 1/4 second at one point...and WOW. I figured the camera would simulate exposure, but it actually seems to really do the exposure you've chosen, even for slow shutter speeds. It really kills the user experience.

Doesn't behave like that for me, surely you must have set something somewhere in the menus.

I agree with msm, mine doesn't act like that either; I just pointed it at my TV figuring that would make the effect even more obvious, but I didn't notice any issues with EVF frame rate.  I'm wondering if I'm just not noticing it, since above I saw you discuss how you may notice things others don't?

11
Normally I stay out of these convo's as people tend to get childish and borderline rude, as well as I don't think people's opinions are going to change, right or wrong.  But I wanted to correct a few things I noticed:

the shutter was noisy and vibrated significantly. put anything long than 100mm lens and the images blurred from this.

From what I read the issue is limited to a certain range of slower shutter speeds ( only around 1/50 or something?), but I haven't tested it since I mainly use 14-50mm on my A7r (landscapes).  I just put my 70-200 F/4 on my A7r for the first time to test this and shot from my tripod at 200mm, F4, 1/320, iso100.  Results were sharp (well, as sharp as can be expected when I  can visibly see heat shimmer coming off the roof I focused on).

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A simple example is I do use the EVF panel at 10 times magnification on the DSLR to get focus on landscapes.  the A7R won't do this unless you use Sony branded lenses

I bought the A7R for landscapes too, and in my experience this is not true.  Note that I mainly shoot landscape, so my typical setup is on a tripod, zoom in, manual focus, hit the shutter release, which is what you describe.  Technically, you're right, it won't zoom in at 10x with Canon lenses; it zooms at 7.2x and 14.4x ;)  I just tried it; you DO have to remember to flip the autofocus switch to manual if your lens has one.

And since I wondered if there were brand-specific issues, I also just grabbed my Rokinon 14mm, Sigma 35A & 50 1.4, and I could zoom in on all of them.  Note that I have the Metabones adapter (VIII I think), so it could be possible there's some issue if you used a different brand or version adapter.

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no remote shutter easily available so make your own etc etc.

Here in the US Sony's RM-VPR1 remote shutter release is readily available on Amazon, Adorama, B&H etc. I'm not sure about outside of the US.  Granted, it's expensive and basic, similar to Canon's.  A quick glance at Amazon.com shows me there's some cheaper third party ones too.   There's also the built-in wireless option, but I'm sure that would reduce the already bad battery life.

12
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Favourites of Photokina: Peak Design
« on: September 20, 2014, 02:48:15 PM »
Just did the test, 3 of my 4 springs failed on the slide...not too happy, but glad I found out before I put them on my cameras, unlike the unlucky people that actually had their cameras drop.  I hope PD is paying for any repairs necessary.

13
Landscape / Re: Post your light painting landscapes
« on: September 20, 2014, 01:58:25 PM »
Hi Cali.
Very nice, bet the models love those sparks dropping on them!  :o
Thanks for sharing.

Cheers, Graham.

Thanks very much Graham.  I'm actually the model in the shots as no one else wanted to try it.  I had another shooter stand in place so I could manually focus on the spot, and then would have someone press my shutter release for me as I spun.  I did end up with a little hole in a jacket from the Utah shoot, and try to use hats/hoodies etc. 

14
Landscape / Re: Post your light painting landscapes
« on: September 16, 2014, 01:41:02 AM »
You did say you'd define it 'loosely,' so does steel wool count?  :P  ;D

This past weekend in Morro Bay, California:





Earlier this year in Utah:


15
Canon General / Re: Who's on Instagram?
« on: August 08, 2014, 08:56:30 PM »
When Instagram first came out, I thought it was pretty lame and was just a way for mobile photographers to add filters to make their lousy photos look better.  A while back, I signed up and was surprised to see National Geo and others posting real (i.e. not mobile) photos.  After realizing that you can upload your own photos, I began doing so and just uploaded my 99th photo today.  I don't like the square format - I don't like 4:3, either, I'm definitely a 3:2 or wider guy, but I'm having fun with it.  I like seeing others photos and sharing my work with people from around the world. 

First, I applaud you for having an open mind and checking it out despite your initial assumptions/reservations.  Judging from many posts on this forum and other photography-themed ones, it seems to me many photogs tend to be a bit close-minded and not likely to change opinions on many subjects.

I haven't used Instagram in over year, mainly due to it being a big time-suck if I let it (not only browsing other's photos, but I tried to respond to each and every person's comments on my pics, which led me to start dreading posting...haha).  That, and having several pictures 'stolen' with other users posting them as their own pictures. Not that I sell my work, but just having them stolen was frustrating and annoying.

Other than that my experience was extremely positive, probably partly because I joined before it blew up into a selfie/celebrity popularity contest.  I actually had pics hit the popular page a number of times before it became full of selfies and had a few thousand followers, most of whom were actually interested in photography.  That's not any big statement on my pictures or ability as I'm still just an amateur, I'm just saying things were different a couple of years ago.

Instagram is different things to different people, but there are serious photographers on there, pros and amateurs.  I used to get feedback on my work which drove me to try to get better (at least a little ;))  and to connect with other photogs, just as it sounds like you're doing.  My interest is mainly landscape, and after I got past the fear of meeting potentially psychotic strangers, I joined a few photo meetups and even led a couple (California coast and Antelope Canyon).  Along the way I've been extremely fortunate to have made some great friends, one of whom plans 1-2 trips a year with me with no end in sight as we're trying to check things off our bucket lists.   ;D


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