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Messages - Cali_PH

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Abstract / Re: Beautiful bokeh! Let me see yours!
« on: July 15, 2014, 12:47:51 AM »
I occasionally try to shoot humans, instead of getting them out of my landscape shots... :P

Fair, but it does confirm that the 7D replacement is coming in September...something that had only been CR2 until this point. And as we've learned with CR2's in the past, that could mean something is years away.

At least now we know when the forums will be flooded with people complaining

Actually, I interpret it as probably expecting the official ANNOUNCEMENT in September.  The product could be released shortly thereafter, or much later.  The 100-400 and 1DX come to mind...

I was just at a Canon Live Learning workshop this weekend where one of the instructors talked about how we might want to give up LR & PS because Canon's software always works on all Canon cameras, no matter what, unlike LR/PP.  He was talking about new camera models, but this is still funny timing. 

EOS Bodies / Re: More EOS 7D Mark II Talk [CR1]
« on: June 16, 2014, 01:41:34 PM »
We’re told the top plate has a noticeably bigger bump around the viewfinder than the current EOS 7D.
A hybrid viewfinder perhaps?  Or maybe the return of eye controlled autofocus?

I was thinking the same.

I was wondering is the bump was related to the rumored wifi and GPS...

Lenses / Re: Canon Working on Faster f/2.8 Ultra Wide Zoom [CR2]
« on: May 16, 2014, 10:38:31 AM »
might make more sense to focus on landscape who would probably prefer wider than 16mm and wouldn't care about front element size/shape.

A bulbous front element could matter to many that use filters, common in landscape photography. It would most likely be incompatible with the few existing holders designed for bulbous elements, meaning a potentially long wait for someone to come up with one for the new lens.  Even if it happens to work with one of the existing ones, they're expensive and require larger, very expensive filters. 

yea I'm glad I waited and was pleasantly surprised at the price.  I just pre-ordered.  now pondering the Lee setup and solving the vignetting issue... I'm hearing that even the Lee + 105mm adapter + B+W CPL will vignette wider than 20-ish?

Yes, vignetting becomes an issue around then. Fortunately there are UWA adapters that set the filters closer.

EDIT - you can find cheaper version on eBay but I've had mixed results, where the threading wasn't as clean as the LEE version, so YMMV

Fan-freakin-tastic, this is exactly what I was hoping for this year.  And specifically f4 for the lower weight and price, since I shoot landscape f8-f11 most of the time.  Already have the Rokinon 14mm for astro work.  I was just telling someone I wanted a new sharper 17-40 or 16-35 f/4 about 2 weeks ago, but expected it to be $1500+ if they ever made one. Can't wait to see some tests!

Photography Technique / Re: Photographs in the "Blue Hour"
« on: May 11, 2014, 05:00:21 PM »
Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, California.  I've been shooting variations of this around sunrise & sunset for the past 3 years.

Why are people complaining about innovation? Canon has more patents than the competition, so who cares about the products that make it into consumer hands?  ;)

There's also the new f-stop Kenti, with quick access ports on both sides.  I've been eyeing that model myself.

Photography Technique / Re: Advice for trip to Western USA
« on: April 04, 2014, 12:26:46 AM »
Sorry for the long post, but I used to live in the San Francisco area, currently live 60 miles from Yosemite, and have been on road trips to Utah/Arizona National Parks 4 (5?) times in the past few years.  I'd say 20 days for the parks you've mentioned is easily doable, if you're willing to spend a little more time driving to see more and stick to highlights.  As I recall, two of my longer trips were around 14-16 days and mainly included Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Monument Valley, Page, Coyote Buttes.  A couple of spots were only on one trip, not both.  Of course, many people would rather take it slower and spend more days in fewer locations to explore more thoroughly.  Plus, most of the spots you mention also have a lot of great locations nearby that may be lesser-known, taking up more time at fewer locations.

I don't recognize the magazine/newspaper you mention, but I'd highly recommend Photographing the Southwest: Volume 1--Southern Utah (2nd Edition).  Lots of good advice on the state, including photography-specific tips and tricks, and both popular and lesser-known spots.  The Arizona one is also great, but maybe not worth it as you may only hit the Grand Canyon there.  I was not impressed with the Northern California book (different author).

I probably have some good bookmarks on my home computer, but right now I'm on the road for work.  If you read German, or are willing to use an online translator, you may find this site informative.
The wife & husband photographers have visited the SW & California and have travelogues, describing their experiences in some of the locations, including directions, tips and topo maps for some spots.  They also have other sites with mainly just pictures (googling their last name brings them up).

Most the National Parks charge $15-25 entrance fees.  When you get to Yosemite (or whichever is first one you enter), get the America the Beautiful pass.  It's $80, and gets you into all the National Park for a year.  And if you're arriving in less than a month, I'd be a bit concerned about booking hotels near these places.  You're entering the tourist season and some of these spots (like Bryce) have limited options nearby, unless you'll be camping/sleeping in your car. 

Off the top of my head, here's a list of some of my personal favorite spots or ones I'd highly recommend on a potential travel route.  Well, at least these would be highlights, I could definitely recommend more but you wouldn't have the time, even at a brisk pace.  I also have dozens of spots in Utah/Arizona on a google maps custom map I've used for route planning; if want a link to it, send me a pm.

SF down to Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur/Point Lobos area.
Yosemite  (Personally, I'd skip Sequoia, but that's just me)
Mono Lake
Down 395 (great views most of the way) to Death Valley/Joshua Tree
Through Vegas to Zion (I'd recommend swinging through Valley of Fire just north of Vegas)
Scenic byway 12 on the way to Capitol Reef, possible quick stops at Devil's Garden (not to be confused with the Devil's Garden in Arches) & Goblin Valley.
Canyonlands & Arches
Monument Valley
Page (Upper & Lower Antelope Canyon; you'll be able to see the popular beams, but I recommend the more expensive photography tours if you go; Horseshoe Bend).
Grand Canyon (note that the normal road between Page and the Grand Canyon has been closed for months due to a landslide, as was closed in early March when I was there.  I'm not sure if it will be open by May; if not, factor alternative routes in your plans).
Grand Canyon

I'm not sure if you're flying home from SF, or some other location like Vegas, so wasn't sure where to go after that.

Photography Technique / Re: California Travel Advice
« on: April 01, 2014, 10:42:04 AM »
Of course, the other problem is getting hotels last minute, which will be difficult in some locations.

Great point!  I forgot to mention this in my post, and could be a big factor.

When I travel throughout a state, seemingly at random, I either sleep in my truck, find a campground, or find a forest/area that allows dispersed camping.  I'm out all day adventuring, including many times hours after sunset for astrophotography, and up a couple hours before sunrise, so I would have very little time in the hotel, and it makes for what I deem a waste of money.

Granted, this is not for everyone, and I know some people who absolutely have to shower every day, or have to sleep in a bed every day.

If not though, you can fit in quite the adventure during your time for pretty much only the cost of gas :)

I kind of figured that you were doing that; I really wish I could too, but I'm definitely the type that needs a bed and shower!  ;D My friend and I just did Utah/Arizona a month ago, and a series of great storms rolled through.  It would have been great to just follow the systems where ever they went, but we only changed our plans for one day, because we could book a place in Moab.

@Tolusina, @SoullessPolack, @Cali_PH, thanks for your amazing advice (and to everyone else for your contributions)! We're going to book the flights this weekend (just under 3 weeks in CA), so then it gives us plenty of time to decide where we want to go and to plan a draft itinerary (without being too specific).

No problem, I travel a lot here for fun/photography and don't mind helping other people plan.  I usually end up doing most of the planning the trips for myself & photography friends, and I've gotten fairly familiar with a lot of the places I mentioned due to repeated visits. 

It's great you have almost 3 weeks; the itinerary I through out is doable with about 10 days, with some rushing & only hitting highlights; of course with more time it allows for more days at one spot and branching out, the possibility of including more spots etc. 

I almost hate to mention this, if I had that much time, I'd probably use a couple of days near Vegas to hit Zion, a little over 2 hours from Vegas.  And then if you're there, Bryce Canyon is less than 2 hours from there...  ;)  Never mind me, I think since I've spent most of my life in California, some of the things here seem almost 'everyday' things, while I've recently become obsessed with Utah & Arizona and I keep going on trips out there.  ;D

I'd recommend the forums for general travel help & advise (hotels, restaurants, etc.).  Just be advised that the Destination Experts there are like 'experts' on any site; most are nice & friendly but a few are kind of obnoxious.  Still, I use it a lot while planning trips for locations I'm not that familiar with.

Photography Technique / Re: California Travel Advice
« on: March 31, 2014, 10:02:58 PM »
I would second the recommendation of an UWA lens, rental or purchase, unless you know that's not your style. Personally, I use my 17-40 & 14mm quite a bit shooting around California.  I'd still definitely bring the other lenses too. 

How long is your trip, and how comfortable are you driving long distances?  As others have mentioned, CA is larger than some countries, so that may factor into your travels.  In September, you'll experience cooler weather in the mountains, possibly enough for frost overnight; and then mid 90's (F, not C) in the central valley, between Yosemite & SF.

My preferences are similar to SoullessPolack, where I'll travel long distances if I must to see all the places I want to, and rest later; short cuts on my phone link to webcams of various areas to I can check weather conditions.  I've done parts of the Grand Circle several times in the past few years and every time I try to whittle it down to fewer stops, I end up changing it.  My last trip originally left out Arches & Canyonlands, but weather wasn't cooperating where we were, so we chased dramatic clouds and ended up in Arches anyway.  Of course that's not for everyone, but since you're coming from so far, though, this may be your only chance, or at least first for while, to see what you want, so I think it's worth considering.  You can sleep on the long flight back ;)  Of course, the other problem is getting hotels last minute, which will be difficult in some locations. 

Without knowing more about your preferences I'd suggest something like the following, which is close to other SF-to-Vegas/Vegas-to-SF itineraries I've seen on other sites.   

- Vegas to/from Grand Canyon.  Consider stops at Valley of Fire and maybe Red Rock Canyon on the way to California.

- Death Valley - Will likely be very hot, potentially over 100degF during the day, but still worth considering at least a morning drive through for many.

- Drive up 395 to Mono Lake for the tufas; possibly swing by Bodie ghost town.

- Take Tioga Pass into Yosemite, to Yosemite Valley.  Beautiful drive, many visitors only see the valley but I really recommend Tioga Pass.

- Leave Yosemite via 120.  If you're dead set on Sequoia, head south, but there are stands of sequoias in Yosemite, and near San Francisco.  As I understand it though, the ones in Sequoia are more impressive.  Problem is the distances there are large and speed through the mountains slow and will eat time. 

- Head to bay area.  Probably via 580 if you're just headed to the SF area, but I'd REALLY recommend taking 152 to the Monterey/Carmel, one of my favorite areas for a weekend.  Big Sur & Point Lobos are must-sees in the area.  From there, I'd drive up PCH/Highway 1; lots of nice little towns along the coast as others have mentioned.

Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.  I probably can dig up some more info on some locations like Big Sur & Point Lobos.

Portrait / Re: Post photos of other photographers in action
« on: March 24, 2014, 01:40:59 AM »
Sunrise at Death Valley last month.

I recently bought some Think Tank Red Whips.  They're made for cable management, but I mainly wanted something to add to my tripods; I use it to strap down my camera strap and shutter release when it's windy to prevent them from swinging around and causing vibrations.

Would you know if Red Whips are strong enough to hold up a flash? There are times when I'd like to put flashes in places where I can't use a light stand and no flat surface for the flash to stand on but plenty of bars/branches/whatever to hang from.

I just tried strapping a Yonguo 560 II with batteries to a tripod leg and it was fine, even with some up & down shaking.  But there are probably some caveats. I've added foam covers to my tripod legs, which gives it some friction.  I'm not sure how it would do if you strapped it to a vertical smooth metal bar, for example, I could see a larger, heavier flash slide down a pole.  Also, I put both the leg and flash THROUGH the loop before tightening, but you won't always have that option, and one of the whips isn't long enough to loop around a thicker object and a flash; in that case, you'll need to hook 2 whips together (the package I bought has 10).  Not a big deal, they're so small and light you won't notice the weight of a pack in your bags.

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