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Messages - ray5

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1
Photography Technique / Re: Lee Filters
« on: February 26, 2015, 08:23:04 PM »
I have the 0.3, 0.6, 0.9 ND grads in both soft edge and hard edge. I don't think I ever used the soft edge, the edge is just too diffuse. With wide angles, be sure that you get the recessed wide-angle adapter as otherwise you can get vignetting. On my Zeiss 21 mm with 82 mm front thread, I can use a single slot plus the polarizer without vignetting on the FF 5dmkii.

The 0.9 ND grad cuts three f-stops, which is a lot. I frequently use the 0.3 and 0.6, and if need be, they can be combined (remember multiplication [not addition] of extinction factors). In digital that is not too much of a problem, but shooting LF film, you better get your filter factors right. If I remember correctly, the set is cheaper than the individuals.
You can also use the pol filter as a solid ND 0.6 filter. You don't have to cut reflections out, so depending how you turn it, you can get specular highlights, if desired. The ND grad have sufficient large ND area to use them as a solid ND filter (without gradation). If you do not use -10 stops too often, you can combine ND and Pol to get close to -10 stops. You get additional surfaces, but if budget is a concern, give the combo approach a try.

Last but not least, consider getting a compendium hood. Added filter surfaces invite reflections to creep in. Hood and Pol cannot be use together. In that case, I use a piece of cardboard to shade the lens. I haven't looked for a 105 mm hood.

Have fun!

Thanks.

2
Photography Technique / Lee Filters
« on: February 17, 2015, 05:02:06 PM »
HI,
I have been toying with the idea of getting Lee for a long time. After a lot of reading and some good recommendations from you guys here is the list I came up with.

Lee FK Holder
Lee 77mm Wide Angle Adapter Ring
Lee 82mm Wide Angle Adapter Ring
Lee Front Accessory Ring
Lee 105mm Landscape Polarizer
Lee 4x4 ND 0.9
Lee 4x6 Grad ND 0.9 SE
Lee Big  Stopper

I mainly do recreational landscape and cityscape photography and anticipate a trip to the Southwest US this summer( Page,AZ, Monument Valley, Lake Powell area).
I think I might drop the solid ND for now but thought I'd ask you folks what you think?
Thanks,
Ray


3
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 12, 2015, 01:09:37 PM »
[quote
The Luminescence Landscape has a nice video for sale/download about Upper Antelope that I recommend.
[/quote]

Could you send me a link to this? Thanks

4
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 12, 2015, 01:07:32 PM »
1. Monument Valley is not part of the National Park system. Your National Park card wil not get you in. Monument a Valley is a Navajo Nations park.

2. Monument Valley is a  must do.

3. Take a morning guided tour. gouldings (nope no relation) is the place to arrange that thru. Then later take the self guided drive (warnining, a bit rough on the car)

4. Google both for the Navajo Nation website,   http://navajonationparks.org/htm/monumentvalley.htm And  Gouldings Trading Post website.  http://www.gouldings.com

5. Take two body's with different lenses, if the wind comes up, you will not want to change lenses in the sand filled air.

Good suggestions. I plan on renting a second body, don't know which one yet. Will rent it a few weeks before going so I can get used to the controls a bit. Am a little undecided about the different tours for monument valley. Since they are expensive have to be rational, so far the Hunt's Mesa tour looks attractive, perhaps will do that and shoot the iconic view of the three buttes in different times of the day from the visitors center.
Thanks

5
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 12, 2015, 01:03:24 PM »
I spent a few days late Oct/early Nov 2014 in Page. And, I've been to Monument Valley before.

Can you push out your trip after Labor Day? The tourist crush at Lower Antelope Canyon will be like a very long line at Disneyland/world inside a tunnel two feet wide.

This was my first time at Antelope Canyon and have very mixed feelings. I took a photo specific tour that was suppose to allow you to set up a tripod and other gear...but, there is zero coordination between the tour outfits, so, regular tourist tours were sandwiched before/after photo tours...and there is only one way in for both entrance and exit, causing a continuous traffic jam.

Next time I will go to Upper, which is across the street and you can just drive yourself.

I stayed at the Best Western that overlook the lake, and recommend. I've heard good things about the Marriott across the street.

I second/third the recommendation to stay at The View in Monument Valley. It is an incredible, incredible place.
When I stayed, at 3am there was a BOOM, and the clouds opened up, then the winds came. It was my first desert thunder storm. I just opened the drapes and watched the wonderful show.

As for the Wave, access is via lottery. I've tried 6 times and haven't made it yet. I think there is also a very limited number of day of tickets at the Fed's Wave office. Someday....

The Luminescence Landscape has a nice video for sale/download about Upper Antelope that I recommend.

Rather than trying to find a bunch of sites in a limited stay, consider reducing the number of places to give you time to photograph them before sunrise and after sunset.

have fun
Pushing it down is not possible besides I want to catch the light beams that I am told are seen only between the months of May-Aug.
I have read about the mad rush as well. Don't know if there is any way out of that, perhaps weekday might be marginally better than weekend? Will find out. Will definitley plan on the photo tours in both upper and lower.
As many of you have pointed out perhaps I will stick to just Page and MV. And come back again for Arches, Canyonlands etc. I have enough time to do Horseshoe bend and Lake Powell this way.
Thanks

6
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 11, 2015, 08:18:57 PM »
Goulding's Lodge. I bumped into a tour by Moose Peterson when I was there last :)
WOw! Thats quite the coincidence! Thanks

7
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 11, 2015, 03:07:43 PM »
It's a standard National Park I believe, ie even when the "gates close", you can get in. Put it this way, the distance from the gate to the visitors centre is only a short distance, maybe 500m or less IIRC. I also think the visitors centre is also a hotel. Either way, I was taking shots pre-dawn and post sunset in Feb and never had any problems so you should be good.

I think therefore, that it's not covered by the All Parks Pass that you can buy, but I dont recall it being too expensive either.... I chose to stay across the road (I can find the name if you're interested)...
That's good. I also want to take predawn, after sunset and perhaps deep late night shots as well. This helps as I wasn't sure if I could do that without staying at the View hotel. Please do send the name of the hotel if it's not too much trouble. Thanks

8
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 11, 2015, 01:38:39 PM »
Is the visitor center open all the time, or at least the vantage point part of the center from which the iconic picture is taken? I thought there are gates before the center that close at a certain time? I wanted to get the iconic but well photgraphed image of the three buttes from the visitors center at and after sunset. I called the enter but they weren't ver helpful about it. The Hunt Mesa overnight camping is looking attractive but expensive.

9
Photography Technique / Re: The Southwest
« on: February 11, 2015, 10:41:21 AM »
I was in the Lower Antelope Canyon last year. Half way through the trip came a sand storm. The wind was blowing so hard that my face hurt. I was glad that I listened to some advice and bought a rain cover, which kept out the sand quite completely. Even if you don't run into a sand storm I'd still recommend using rain cover or at least a plastic bag. Better be safe than sorry.

Can't decide storms are good or not, as if I have a choice!! Ha Ha. Seens some awesome images of monument valley during a strom, wow!!
But won't be pretty in the slot canyons. Am planning on bringing rain covers. Thanks for your note.

10
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 11, 2015, 10:38:52 AM »
Everyone shoots from the visitor center, it's not that interesting. Book a sunrise tour who will bring you to Totem Pole (you are not allowed there going on your own) and make some nice sunrise images from there. When you have more time, you also could consider a short trip to Teardrop Arch and a longer overnight camp on top of Hunts Mesa. That brings in more spectacular images from Monument Valley than shooting from the visitor center, although for all these tours you need to book a Navajo guide too.

Good luck and have fun.

Nope, both times I've done monument (once in the snow) I've done the drive around the valley which is free.... 2nd time I did it I was there pre-dawn. Visitors centre doesn't close, but one entrance to the drive round the valley is so take the exit instead...

I'd also seriously consider the lower antelope as well as the upper. Upper gets the crowds, and yes they do try to regulate the other tours but you don't get much time to compose and shoot. I've done upper 3 times and lower 3 times and I prefer lower - you go at your pace. Alas they introduced time limits on lower as well, so negotiate longer as you never seem to complete even half in 2 hours. Lower is cheaper than upper.

Personally, if you don't think this will be your only trip to the area I would focus on 1 section and the locations therein  rather than see all the iconic places in a whistle stop tour. I've been lucky to have been there half a dozen times, still not seen all I want to, and I'm a Brit  ;D

You bring up good points. TBH, it started with only planning for Antelope Canyons and then crept. That area is so rich that it's horribly tempting! And terrible to accept  "will do it next time"  :-\
But you are right. This will not be my only visit but it will be one for a while. So I am thinking Page,AZ, Monument Valley and perhaps Arches.

11
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 11, 2015, 10:35:51 AM »
Everyone shoots from the visitor center, it's not that interesting. Book a sunrise tour who will bring you to Totem Pole (you are not allowed there going on your own) and make some nice sunrise images from there. When you have more time, you also could consider a short trip to Teardrop Arch and a longer overnight camp on top of Hunts Mesa. That brings in more spectacular images from Monument Valley than shooting from the visitor center, although for all these tours you need to book a Navajo guide too.

Good luck and have fun.

Nope, both times I've done monument (once in the snow) I've done the drive around the valley which is free.... 2nd time I did it I was there pre-dawn. Visitors centre doesn't close, but one entrance to the drive round the valley is so take the exit instead...

Could you expand on that please?

12
Photography Technique / Re: The Southwest
« on: February 11, 2015, 10:33:20 AM »
HI,
Preparing for a photography visit to UT/AZ in August this year. Questions:

1) I am told that there is a lot of sand/dust suspended and dropping in the slot canyons. What would you suggest for simple, cheap camera covers to slip on inside the canyons. Obviously I am planning not to change lenses in there.

2) August will be bright sunshine and long days. So to be able to shoot with good soft light I plan to do most during dawn and dusk. But those days are long and I want to make use of the rest of the day as well. I have never used ND filters, would they be useful for landscapes during this time? I have thought of a 3 stop graduated ND which is likely to be useful but am wondering if a solid ND(non graduated) filter be useful as well to get some more drama into the picture rather than bland pictures at noon etc. And if yes, what stop should I be looking at at?

I have the 5D MK III and might rent another one but don't know which one yet. Lenses: 16-35 F4, 24-70 F2.8L II, 70-200 F/2.8L II

Thanks,
Ray

Ray

As mentioned, grads are good for the mornings and evenings when you get significant differential between the sky and the earth. During the day, this differential goes unless you are shooting in locations where your foreground is dark. In slot canyons, grads are not much benefit as they are regular, whereas the rocks are not, and you're probably better off with blended exposures.

I've been there in July and the storms are excellent, but I'm not sure how august fares in that respect. I've done infra red during the day, but you need the right subject (vegetation helps). To be honest, a lot of the places you might want to get to take a few hours hiking or driving to, plus slots canyons are better during the brightness of the day. I tend to adjust my itinerary so I'm doing the vistas during the morning and the evening, and the day I will look for the slots and the like, with fall back options if there's a storm.

Returning to your question about filters - ND if you'll have water which you want to blur and get a 3 stop. For grads, if you only get 1 then get a 2 stop, if you can afford it then a 3 stop as well. I bought the 3 grad set from lee but rarely use the .3 (1 stop). Also they've just released a thinner circ pola, their previous 105mm vignettes on wide angle lenses...

Finally, if you've not got them, get hold of Laurent Martres' books on photographing the southwest. I take them every time, and use them to plan out locations (and then maybe use the internet to supplement). Have a great trip.

Hi,
Thanks for your help. I have been reading Martres' books for a few months already and kind of drawing up an itinerary. I saw the new Lee CPL, it costs an arm!! I have drawn up a list of Lee stuff to start with but already at $900 :o
I'll be going to the slot canyons as well.
Thanks, again.

14
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 03, 2015, 05:43:03 PM »
Everyone shoots from the visitor center, it's not that interesting. Book a sunrise tour who will bring you to Totem Pole (you are not allowed there going on your own) and make some nice sunrise images from there. When you have more time, you also could consider a short trip to Teardrop Arch and a longer overnight camp on top of Hunts Mesa. That brings in more spectacular images from Monument Valley than shooting from the visitor center, although for all these tours you need to book a Navajo guide too.

Good luck and have fun.
Please tell me more about the overnight camp. I haven't finalized my plans so am flexible about the time I have there. Thanks

I have booked a tour from this site: http://www.monumentvalley.com/Pages/english_homepage.html

See some images i took during that tour:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/16170207856/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/7073162101/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/6841391501/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/5862772096/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/5830707762/in/set-72157626811974598
Fantastic photos!! Did you do the overnight camping tour? Thanks

When you want to do Hunts Mesa you camp ALWAYS. All the other tours you can do at sunrise or sunset.

Thanks. PM sent.

15
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: February 03, 2015, 01:29:18 PM »
Everyone shoots from the visitor center, it's not that interesting. Book a sunrise tour who will bring you to Totem Pole (you are not allowed there going on your own) and make some nice sunrise images from there. When you have more time, you also could consider a short trip to Teardrop Arch and a longer overnight camp on top of Hunts Mesa. That brings in more spectacular images from Monument Valley than shooting from the visitor center, although for all these tours you need to book a Navajo guide too.

Good luck and have fun.
Please tell me more about the overnight camp. I haven't finalized my plans so am flexible about the time I have there. Thanks

I have booked a tour from this site: http://www.monumentvalley.com/Pages/english_homepage.html

See some images i took during that tour:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/16170207856/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/7073162101/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/6841391501/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/5862772096/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henk-meijer/5830707762/in/set-72157626811974598
Fantastic photos!! Did you do the overnight camping tour? Thanks

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