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Messages - ray5

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1
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: Today at 11:27:14 AM »
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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.
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Can I shoot sunset and predawn or late night from the visitor center or is it closed off?

2
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: January 25, 2015, 07:11:38 PM »
Quote
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.

Wow! You are a guide book on your own! I am madly making notes. Thanks

3
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: January 25, 2015, 06:30:05 PM »
Hi,
Planning a trip this summer. Any suggestions to time of day, tours, spots, anything photography related to this beautiful place? Thanks,
Ray

So it is a challenge to find a BAD spot.... A bit west of Page AZ 

Paria Plateau - North or South Coyote Butte - Permits needed, get them at the BLM office in Kanab UT. 
North has "the wave" and is often over subscribed, South not so much and is unique to itself.  There is also White Pockets, Wire Pass, Buckskin Gulch.  I would describe these as "around the corner" from Page AZ.

Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon is not far away.  I did Zion, South Coyote 2 summers ago - really want to go back.

your favorite photo sharing website and do a search

Happy clicks
You are right. It's like a kid in Toysrus, no place you can't see and drool.
The reason I had picked summer primarily was the light beams in Upper Antelope. I know I will be killed with the crowds but intend to get all photo tours which I read come with some decent crowd control.
Would love to do Coyote North as well sometime but am too impatient to hinge that on my luck(which isn't great anyway ::))

4
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: January 25, 2015, 06:25:29 PM »
"When" is an important question.  Winters terms can bring freezing temperatures and in the summer it gets hot.  By August, the monsoon season brings spectacular cloud formations against a blue sky, but also the risk of storms and flash floods.  The Lightning can be amazing (but also potentially dangerous).

I'd really consider a guided tour of Monument Valley. You can do it on your own but a guide in their vehicle is easier and they have some local knowledge (things change in terms of wildlife, washes) not in any guidebook.  Last time I visited, I did not do a photo-centric tour but I am sure the various companies can help you.  Plus, this does support the local economy.
August beginning. I changed plans partly because of convenience and partly because I do want the rain showers for the shot! But then I am not sure I really want showers at the wrong time, when seeing Antelope Canyons!! :-\
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?

5
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: January 25, 2015, 06:22:02 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

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!

6
Photography Technique / Re: Monument Valley
« on: January 24, 2015, 10:04:03 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?

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

7
Photography Technique / Monument Valley
« on: January 24, 2015, 05:37:36 PM »
Hi,
Planning a trip this summer. Any suggestions to time of day, tours, spots, anything photography related to this beautiful place? Thanks,
Ray

8
1D X Sample Images / Re: Anything shot with a 1DX - Page 2
« on: January 21, 2015, 09:51:59 PM »
Edward,
We still waiting for your Safari photo books ;)

Thanks Dylan, Yes, I need to stop travelling about taking Images and spend more time at Home, on the other hand, need to start packing again   :)
May I suggest organizing a Safari for us? I bet many folks would sign up at once!

9
1D X Sample Images / Re: Anything shot with a 1DX - Page 2
« on: January 21, 2015, 06:46:37 PM »
Thank You Gentlemen, this particular Male was entrancing, the eyes I have never seen this bright before on any Lion, and I've Photographed a few, he is the Alpha Male of a coalition of 3 Brothers in the Mashatu Plains area, on this particular morning he was on his own & was following vultures in the sky hoping they would lead him to a fresh kill, so he was constantly looking upward and the light was just about perfect.

Another day in Paradise.
Eml
Your images are mesmerizing! I have no words to describe the story it tells. It's painful to return to look at mine!
Thanks for sharing

10
1D X Sample Images / Re: Anything shot with a 1DX - Page 2
« on: January 20, 2015, 06:13:03 PM »
1Dx 400f/2.8 II

Sunrise, Mashatu.
WoW! Amazing as usual.
Ray

11
Software & Accessories / Re: Bag for tripod?
« on: January 08, 2015, 06:15:28 PM »
I used it when my Tripod was new, once it got used(banged) a bit, I stopped using it. Now that I have upgraded my tripod, I am using it again! ::)

12
Photography Technique / Re: Critique: NYC Images
« on: January 08, 2015, 08:24:57 AM »
There are a variety of tools and techniques you can apply.  I guess the key question is what would make the image "pop" for you.  We might each have a different answer to that question - "I'll know it when I see it" ;)

Here's a couple of quick attempts with DxO Optics Pro and FilmPack.  The Optics Pro version uses the B&W Low Key preset.  The FilmPack version set the film rendering to Ilford Pan 100 and dropped the red to -50 in the channel mixer to eliminate some brightness in the sky while preserving the reflections on the water.  That's similar to the effect of shooting b&w film with a red filter to increase contrast and reduce haze in my film days.  No other fancy processing required.  The possibilities are end less.
Nice. I like the sky from the top one and the rest in the bottom one. I am sure you can achieve that too. The endless possibilities is what might be good but also overwhelming. I guess that's a problem or asset, depends on how you look at it.
I have been suggested either the Nik software or the DXO  filmpak before. Might play around a bit but time is so limited that so far I have been concentrating on the composition and being very lazy at editing! Thanks

13
Photography Technique / Re: Critique: NYC Images
« on: January 07, 2015, 02:14:06 PM »
Can someone tell me the different things that LR offers compared to PS? I want to make life easier. And LR is reasonably cheap. So to keep my life easy and use only one program like LR what does it offer that PS doesn't? I assume it is much easier to use and since I don't spend enough time on editing anyway, can I make it my default program and not miss much? With a student discount it's only $79.
Thanks,
Ray

14
Photography Technique / Re: Critique: NYC Images
« on: January 06, 2015, 12:32:10 PM »
I liked what f1rstx did to the sky, but it made the bridge too dark loosing detail
one swing of the brush, here you go :D Also, try Lightroom instead of Ps, rly easy to work with it!
Nice. I have been toying with getting LR. I bought CS5 4-5 years ago with a  lot of enthusiasm but quickly got discouraged between lack of time and complexity. Have picked it back up a few months ago but going slow.

15
Photography Technique / Re: Critique: NYC Images
« on: January 06, 2015, 11:19:26 AM »
Used just one of the presets in NIK's Silver Efex Pro 2. You could get better result working on original file.
Now, this I like! The thing that I was missing in mine was though the color had the pop the monochrome was a bit flat. The tweaks in PS made it too dark for me but what you did is not too dark but adds a brooding look.

I find Silver Efex an excellent plugin for PS, I haven't had a need for any other app for BW conversion since I started using SFX. Breeze to use, just start with a preset and work the sliders, it shows the adjustments in real time.
Sorry, this may sound silly. How do I get it? Is it a separate program to use in which I tweak the image after PS or does it work in PS?

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