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Messages - sunnyVan

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1
Lenses / Re: How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: March 01, 2014, 04:16:58 PM »
At one time or another I think that I've gone with all of the tour operators that have a tribal permit for Upper Antelope. I really like the guys at Overland Canyon Tours, check'em out and don't forget to make reservations well in advance:

http://www.overlandcanyontours.com/upperant

A few things to keep in mind are (in no rational order):

Don't freak-out over the crowds at Upper Antelope. I've seen pro-level photographers (who were not "emotionally prepared" for the throngs) curse their guide to the bone, throw gear in frustration, & storm out of the canyon.

Most all of the tour guides work together incredibly well. The "regular tour" guides do a great job of keeping their tourists moving quickly past the tripods on the "Photo tours." So well in fact that a 30-second exposure (standard stuff in the slots) will generally do a good job of making all the people disappear.

If you are still frustrated by John-Q-Public getting in your shot, just tilt your camera up a bit. Without the canyon floor in the shot, there will generally not be any obvious horizon or "proper" orientation, so just go ahead & tilt your camera in any way necessary to get Little Timmy out of the shot.

Remember, your basically taking pictures in a cave. Your eyes have adjusted, so you can see just fine, but it really is pretty dark. So under-expose accordingly. That's how you get the deeply saturated dramatic photos you see everywhere.

Don't forget Lower Antelope Canyon! It's smaller, tighter, and you don't have the "light-beams" of its big brother (the more famous Upper Antelope), but it's less crowded and more relaxed. Also, at Lower Antelope if you can convince the caretakers that your gear is "Professional" enough, you can be allowed to enter on your on without having to be part of a guided tour. And before you ask, I have no idea how they judge gear to be professional-enough. I'm generally dragging-ass with more than $20K of gear, while my wife is happily bouncing around with a 5-year-old Rebel, and we both have always been waived in without any problem.

Finally don't go just once and think that you've seen it all. The light in the morning, mid-day, and afternoon is dramatically different. Pictures of the exact same sandstone formation will look completely different taken at different times of the day.

Enjoy...


Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a detailed response.  Really appreciate it.  Hope it'll be a fruitful trip.

2
Lenses / Re: How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: February 28, 2014, 06:08:00 AM »
Quote
Bring a small hand towel... Bring a blower...[and] a soft but stiff brush...

Your quite correct mackguyver. I'll just add that on lens & filter glass, be sure to blow first, then brush if necessary, & finally wipe only if you must. While for camera & lens bodies it's "brush first" because you don't want to accidentally blow dirt into the tiny cracks & crevices...

Also, remember that the vast majority of the dust & sand is going to be on the ground...  ;) Your not going to be able to lay anything down without it getting dirty, so an extra pair of hands can often help... And once something like your daypack or your knees get dirty, just don't worry about it until you get back to the motel; your going to spend a lot of time on your knees taking pictures in the slots... And speaking of motels, avoid the "Page Boy" if you can...

Antelope Canyon is one of those truly unique & special places... If you've never taken pictures in a slot canyon before, I guaranty that you will be "totally lost photographically" on your first tour. So do yourself a big favor and before you spend the extra money on one of the tripods-allowed photography-tours, first visit Antelope as a part of one of the "regular" non-photography oriented tours just to get the lay of the land. The tours are short & cheap enough that you should be able to swing it, and you'll be that much more prepared to take some great pictures in the slots when you return with your tripod on a photography-tour...

Finally, if your really not going to change lenses, go as wide as you got... And if you can swing-it, the slots were made for the Canon 8-15mm... The fisheye would make for the perfect rental-lens for everything in Antelope Canyon except maybe the light-beams & the sand-waterfalls.

So don't worry... Be happy...
It's a dirty world, but someone has to take a picture of it...
Very helpful tips! ! Thanks.


Oh so regular tour doesn't allow tripod?  I thought the only difference between regular and photography tour is the amount of time allowed.

3
Lenses / Re: How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: February 27, 2014, 08:30:51 AM »
I've been to the Page, AZ area a lot over the years, and I'll just flatly state that I think the dust issues & concerns at Antelope (both upper & lower) are waaaaay over blown. By exercising just a little common sense anyone can safely use a camera and even change lenses without a problem. Now there are other slot canyons in the neighborhood, that are more "open on top" then Antelope, where falling sand can be a concern. Interestingly enough, I've found that the falling sand is at it's worst immediately after a big wind-event rather than during the dust-storm up-top. But even then, just the simplest of precautions have always been sufficient, and I am a stickler for sensor dust... So especially if the slot canyons are going to be a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity for you, I say don't be shy about your gear or even changing lenses, simply be smart about it. Basically just find a more sheltered corner in which to change lenses, be quick, and always use a clear/UV filter.

What you said is encouraging.  I don't plan on changing lens.  I only hope that the sand or dust doesn't get into the zoom ring and the camera buttons. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. 

4
Lenses / Re: How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: February 26, 2014, 05:46:30 PM »
You can't really. And this is someone who's shot at Burning Man which has the extremely fine, alkaline dust.

What you can do is try and use gaffer's tape at all the seams, including the lens/body interface. If you have a zoom lens...you'll get some dust in there, unless it internally zooms like the 70-200's, or 17-40 (after you add a front filter). You can try a plastic bag, or taping on plastic around the body and/or lens...but just resign yourself to the fact that if you are out shooting more than a few hours, you'll need to send it off to be CLA'd. Especially if you get caught out in a dust storm.

If, on the other hand, you keep it in a bag and take it out only when shooting, and you're not in a big dust storm, don't worry too much. And avoid changing a lens outside if at all possible. That's a great way for dust to get in the mirror box & mess up the mirror or get on the sensor.

Maybe I'll have to use my 17-40 more than my normal zoom then. I'm not too fond of the idea of mailing my lens to be cleaned. 

5
Lenses / How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: February 25, 2014, 03:03:49 PM »
I'll be visiting Antelope Canyon in Arizona in the summer.  I've heard that the red sand is so fine that it gets in the lens very easily.  For those who visited Utah and Az, any suggestions for protection?  I wonder if a clear plastic bag would be enough to keep the sand out. Thanks in advance. 

6
Landscape / Re: Grand Canyon, North or South Rim?
« on: February 22, 2014, 08:42:15 PM »
I've been to both - the first time was to the north rim. I was staying in Kanab (a long 80m - I think - drive away - so there was no getting there for sunset for me!). It is higher, colder, and completely different. The aspen trees are beautiful - I was there in June and they had their pale green new leaves. I wouldn't say either rim is better - just different. Probably fewer people on the north rim.

If I was going to go back, I'd probably go back to the north rim - I just preferred it.

+1  We visited the Grand Canyon on vacation in June of 2012.  We spent two days on the South Rim and a week later visited the North Rim for a morning.  I really enjoyed the North Rim more, maybe it was the lack of crowds or cooler, more densely forested terrain, but we really enjoyed it.  We also stayed at Kanab and had planned to arrive at the park in time to catch sunrise at Cape Royal.  However, that didn't happen.  I tried valiantly to drag my family out of bed around 4am, but finally gave up and went back to bed myself.  We finally arrived at Cape Royal maybe an hour or so after sunrise.  Overall, we really enjoyed the NR.  My wife and I decided that we wanted to come back to the North Rim and stay at the Lodge for some future vacation.

I included a picture taken near Cape Final but its nothing special.  As I review my North Rim photographs, I really don't find any that are particularly good, maybe due to the less than ideal light or maybe just lack of skill on my part.  Despite my lackluster photography, it is very beautiful.


We are bringing a two year old so I guess we won't even attempt to get up before sunrise.  I am so glad my wife and I did make it to see sunrise a few years ago before we had a baby. 

We reserved grand canyon lodge at north rim. The hope is that maybe I can try to shoot the stars at night. 

7
Landscape / Re: Grand Canyon, North or South Rim?
« on: February 22, 2014, 07:00:46 AM »
Hi,
I have been both too.  I remember the South as mainly hot and warm desert, with a lot of haze and a lot of people.. (in july - not the best moment to go).
Then, I wanted to show the Grand Canyon to my wife, and in our latest trip, we went North.
Not a lot of facilities, we slept at Page. Add 1h-2h car or a little more.
The North is populated with beautiful trees, is more green, and has a better environnement, with also a lot less people.  The Grand Canyon itself is a little less spectacular - from the north, we are not at the deepest/highest place, but you can surely make a lot of very nice shots.  You can see mine here : http://www.seb-closs.fr/voyages/voyage-ouest-americain-usa-parcs/#grandcanyon

The next time we go to USA, I wish to explorer the region of North Grand Canyon, with more time in this Kaibab-plateau and Kaibab-forest, also for wildlife..


Neat website.  Thanks.

8
Landscape / Re: Grand Canyon, North or South Rim?
« on: February 21, 2014, 10:37:46 PM »
I have been to both, and although they are both spectacular, the North Rim is special, mostly because there
are not so many people.  Only about 10% of all visitors to the Grand Canyon go to the North Rim.

Here is one shot I took about 15 month ago.  It is from the Roosevlet Point area.  There was a thunderstorm moving in and it was beautiful to watch.

Enjoy the trip!!

Not having too many people is a big plus. The south rim is simply too crowded.

9
Landscape / Re: Grand Canyon, North or South Rim?
« on: February 21, 2014, 10:35:41 PM »
Some of this depends on when you will be there and how you are getting to the canyon.  The North Rim is definitely special but more isolated.  Ane option, if the time allows, is to go to the South Rim, spend some time, then take a shuttle or drive to the North (it takes about 1/2 a day) and overnite at the lodge right on the rim.  That way you get the best of both worlds.

Remember that the north is closed about October to May.

We have only two days at Grand Canyon. Since we've been to South before, I guess this time we'll just concentrate on North.

10
Landscape / Re: Grand Canyon, North or South Rim?
« on: February 21, 2014, 10:34:19 PM »
Make sure you stop by the east side.  This summer we started on the south rim and drove around to the east side to catch the sunset.  It was a great place to watch it!


IMG_4704 by yorgasor, on Flickr


Nice. Makes me want to go right now.

11
Landscape / Grand Canyon, North or South Rim?
« on: February 21, 2014, 05:54:01 PM »
I'm not sure if I should post in this section.  Here's my question and request.  I've been to South Rim before and am considering the North Rim this year, but it seems that there are not many facilities available.  For people who have been to both, is the north side worth it? Which side in your opinion is more beautiful?   Could you show your best Grand Canyon shots, North and/or South?  Many thanks. 

12
Lenses / Re: Lee Filter Adapter Question
« on: February 21, 2014, 04:07:45 PM »
Thank you, JustMeOregon, wtlloyd, and sagittariansrock for your replies. They are all very helpful.

The Filter Dude Lee adapter did not seem to be available. Do any of you or the other readers know if the Lee Big Stopper will work in a Fotodiox 100mm filter holder?

I have a Fotodiox filter holder.  Regret buying it very much.  I can't compare it to other brands because this is the only one I ever tried.  It's a hassle to push the filter in. It tends to be stuck towards the middle and requires using two hands to get the filter past the middle portion.  Perhaps name brands are better?  What I learned is that it's much easier to hand hold or use tape when stacking multiple filters.  Anyway I just wanted to share my views on Fotodiox holder since there's not many reviews available

13
Lenses / Re: Sigma 35mm f/1.4
« on: February 06, 2014, 12:25:05 PM »
Love it too much that I don't think I could comment objectively.  I have 2470ii but I still carry the 35art with me all the time.  I have no issues with AF. But I still like to use MF sometimes.

14
I'm impressed.  I'm in my 30s and I don't think I could carry all that weight for long (nor would I want to. ) I limit my weight to under 15lbs. I admire your dedication though. 

15
A couple more things.

The larger the volume, the harder it is to deal with.  Don't go over 2TB unless you just love lots of stress and pain when it comes to failed backups and hours upon hours of worrying if it will finish successfully.  Even 2TB is pretty large, even with a fast transfer rate.

Optical Media uses dyes and will only be good for a few years.  Eventually, depending on the quality of the disc and the way its stored, it will fail.  Hard to say but a hard drive, SSD or flash media will outlast optical media so keep that in mind if the data is archived to store for a long time.

Good tips. Thanks for your help.  Buying a seagate 2TB tonight for $80.

Thought about burning a whole stack of dvds but I'm glad you mentioned that they don't last long. Plus it's too much work burning so many dvds.

Two 2TB HD will suffice for now. Will reevaluate later. 

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