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Messages - Cali_PH

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Software & Accessories / Re: Backpack Suggestion
« on: March 02, 2013, 02:11:24 AM »
+1 on the F-stop Loka. 

Lot's of versatility because of the different sized ICU's (inserts) that can be placed within.  And, FWIW, I've carried this in some pretty harsh terrain / environments and can attest to the comfort with a load.

I also have a Kata 3-n-1.  It works well but cannot carry as much nor is it as comfortable if you are carrying all day.

x2 on the Loka, that's what I use.  Awesome bag.

Me too, been using mine for years on many trips and still going strong. Ergonomics are great too, for when you're carrying a heavier load.  If mine eventually wears out, I'll probably buy another Loka, or newer F-Stop pack

Why aren't more backpacks designed like the Lowepro Flipside series? Walking around in a Flipside backpack in an urban setting provides a little more peace of mind against theft in crowds with the zipper on the "inside" to protect your equipment. Also on rural trails when you put the bag on the dirt ground to open it, you get the outside dirty instead of the side you put back on your back!

Is there any other brand that has a bag like this besides Lowepro?

F-Stop's Mountain series of backpacks does, such as the Loka several of us have.

EOS Bodies / Re: New DSLR at the End of March [CR2]
« on: March 01, 2013, 03:58:54 PM »
This is more of general topic question, but if you the 70D does get wifi/gps, what does that actually mean? What are the features of wifi on a dslr?  Can you post right to facebook/instagram?  Do your photo's auto import/sync to your computer?  Is it really anything that great outside the social media benefits?

I'm trying to think of the advantages of having wifi and I can't think of anything more that what i mentioned above.  It doesn't seem like a necessary feature on a DSLR, at least for people who take photography to a step above "point and shoot."  I would imagine for a point and shoot camera WIFI is probably mandatory these days because rarely are people doing post production.  I'm sure these points have been beaten to death but just looking for some advantages of wifi on my dslr...

What about sending your pictures straight to the computer, which will show them "instant" on a big (TV) screen. People like to see themself on big screens during an event  8).

That's good for people shooting with clients watching.  I'm not a pro, but I've seen fashion/portrait photogs say they'd like to use it for that. 

Also, monitoring star trails or similar shots while your warm and comfortable in your car/house/etc., easier focusing and framing when getting yourself in a shot (you can change some settings like aperture, ISO, focus etc. with the canon app); easier to get a difficult angle shot (camera low and pointed up, or high and pointed down); some animal photogs have said they'd use it to set up a camera somewhere and monitor from further away in a blind to shoot.

Lenses / Re: 4 weeks Trip around California
« on: January 03, 2013, 08:50:17 AM »
I live in California and visit Yosemite several times a year.  I'd say I use the 24-105L & 17-40L the most, followed by my 70-200.  You may not go beyond 24mm often, but it's useful at times.  For example, the most heavily visited area is the valley, where you'll be at the foot of tall cliffs, probably shooting up, trying to include as much as possible (waterfalls, granite formations etc.).   Many locations will force you to be closer, because of trees, cliffs, and other natural barriers; you can't simply back up a bit.   There will also be wide vistas you'll probably want to shoot.  Of course, you can attempt to merge shots together.

The roads are windy and a bit narrow through the mountains, so I'd highly suggest renting as small an RV as you can, especially if you're not used to driving a large vehicle.  Plus you'll be in unfamiliar territory. 

From what I've read on TripAdvisor forums, a lot of visitors will visit the Big Sur/Monterey/Carmel area in between San Francisco and Yosemite.  It's one of my personal favorite areas to visit, and I'd highly recommend it.  Big Sur has stretch of highway along some very beautiful, dramatic coastline, some waterfalls (McWay Falls), beaches, etc.   Carmel's 17-Mile drive is beautiful, Monterey has a lot of tourist things to do such as a great aquarium, and Point Lobos preserve is a beautiful spot with lots of amazing hikes.

I'm not sure what roads you'll be taking from Yosemite to Grand Canyon/Vegas, but consider leaving Yosemite by Tioga Road.  There's lots of nice things to see on the way.  Even if you don't get out and go for long hikes, there are still some great viewing spots right off the road.  Also, after you exit Yosemite, you can stop at Mono Lake for a bit before heading south.  If you're interested, there's also the old ghost town of Bodie a few miles north. 

There's supposed to be some other great stops along there south of Mono Lake but I've never headed that way myself. 

Pricewatch Deals / Re: Massive Nikon D600+24-85VR Deal - $1996
« on: December 14, 2012, 01:17:38 AM »
Hmm...hopefully Canon will respond with a deep discount on the 6D or 6D+24-105L.

Lenses / Re: Kit for travelling around the world for 2 years!
« on: November 17, 2012, 01:51:24 AM »
Wow, I'm very envious!  I'd love to do what you're doing.  Best of luck on your trip! 

My first instinct was to say consider a Gitzo Traveler or other lightweight carbon fiber tripod, especially for such a long trip, but you say weight isn't an issue, so I'll pass on that. 

If you can't get the lenses you want...perhaps a 1.4 or 2x teleconverter?  If the slight reduction on IQ is acceptable.

As far as a bag, I have limited experience, but I've been extremely happy with my F-Stop Loka.  Removable padded camera bag, with a pouch for water/laptop, lightweight, easy to clean ripstop material, MOLLE straps for add-on pouches, and specifically designed to fit requirements as a carry-on.  F-stop makes larger packs too, if that's what you need.  Two years of abuse and still going strong.

Lenses / Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« on: November 14, 2012, 01:33:54 AM »
I'll link to an earlier response I made to someone else asking about the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon areas.  If you want me to email you the mini-Antelope Canyon guide I mention there, feel free to PM me.  I may even be able to fit it into a PM, but it was a bit long.

Yes, you should have some nice flat horizons from the rim to use your ND grads on.  Keep that CPL handy, it'll help with the haze commonly found there.

As far as other locations in the GC area, you may want to consider Havasupai for the falls, although I'm unsure of the water flow at this time of the year (assuming you'll be going sometime soon?).  And if you did go, I'd also suggest paying for the helicopter ride, instead of the 8 mile hike to the village, and then more to the various falls.   ;)

I'd also really encourage you to include Monument Valley if you can fit it into your schedule; it's a special place.  The View hotel is a bit expensive but it's worth it to me. All the rooms face one direction, towards the classic Monument Valley view, and it's an easy stroll to the viewing points for sunset/sunrise shots.  It's also supposed to be a pretty good star trail location.  You can shoot right from your balcony if you wanted.

Lenses / Re: Canon Announces New Lens Caps!
« on: November 06, 2012, 08:46:14 PM »
It would be nice if, one day, someone produced lens-specific caps with the focal length printed on them. Four of my lenses, with identical 58mm caps, would be hard to tell apart in my camera bag were it not for the white stickers I've put on the caps, on which I've written the focal length.

BlackRapid does make some nice REAR caps for some of the more common focal ranges, I think they look pretty slick.


Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Rented a D600
« on: October 08, 2012, 01:01:41 AM »
Hmmm... can't say that I noticed anything really wrong with Live View for manual focusing.  After zooming in past a certain point the framerate drops, which is odd... but doesn't really affect the slow precise focusing I'm doing on a tripod.

I really like that I _can_ zoom in further than on my 7D.

I suspect that it is a personal thing though... I bet the Live View isn't much different on the D600 than it is on the D800 (but I don't personally know).

Can you explain more about what was off for you?  Maybe I just wasn't paying attention...

I would describe the issue as having more 'noise' or the image being 'muddy/blotchy.'   
Here's a video on youtube Small | Large
that compares the D800 vs. the 5DmkIII, which is exactly what I experienced.  I'm guessing part of the issue is that it zooms in more than the Canon.  I was still able to manually focus with it, but I didn't trust it at the maximum zoom setting.

I'm now regretting not renting a D600 for my trip starting this Saturday...I need to try that camera out sometime.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Rented a D600
« on: October 07, 2012, 11:54:54 PM »
But yeah... I'm not one of those guys that is expecting miracles from my gear!  Beyond a 2 stop (0.6) Lee soft ND grad it was also shot on a sturdy tripod, ISO 100, Av mode, 3 second shutter delay (mirror lockup), manual focusing using zoomed Live View at feature that approximated the hyperfocal distance (I estimate the distance, pick a feature at about that distance then manually focus on that feature).

How did you find the Live View for manual focusing?  I rented a D800 for some landscape, and found the Live View as bad as the reports have said, which I had read was due to it being an interpolated display.  Definitely not as nice as the 5DmkIII or my 60D, but I think it does zoom in more.  I've been wondering if the D600 Live View was the same or not.

And I sympathize with your problems with the ergonomics, I found myself constantly stumbling through the buttons and menus too.  Oh, and don't get me started on changing lenses!  ;D

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 6D Specs Leaked?
« on: September 14, 2012, 10:07:23 AM »
Looks a bit fake, but in some ways makes sense.  If Canon made the specs stronger, most of us would expect a price greater than the D600.  Maybe the somewhat weaker specs were deliberate so they could price it lower.

As for the SD slot, I'm guessing this is geared more towards Rebel/60D owners looking to move up to FF cheaper than a 5DmkIII, so they've got SD cards already.  They won't have to worry about buying a new body PLUS relatively expensive CF cards.

I wonder if the new sensor was so that they could address banding and/or DR in some way.  And I'm curious about AFMA, which would be nice. 

EOS Bodies / Re: Is a 46mp Canon EOS-1 on the Way? [CR1]
« on: September 10, 2012, 10:40:29 AM »
In my opinion, if Canon does not launch an cheaper model around 2500-3000€ with 35+MP, they will loose a lot of photographers.

Are they 'losing a lot of photographers' to the D800 now?   ::)


I don't know how many they've lost so far, but if this rumor turns out to be true, I'm guessing they'll lose a few more.

I'm a landscape guy, and often end up chatting with other landscape shooters in the field, for example waiting at a spot waiting for sunset.  I've had about half a dozen people in the last few months tell me they were seriously interested in getting the D800, but were first waiting to see what Canon came up with.  Plus I've seen the same comments from other landscape people on forums. 

If this EOS-1 is the only high MP camera announced any time soon, and if it's priced as high as some of us suspect, it'd be interesting to see how many actually switch.  I sure some will, especially to use with Nikon's 14-24.  But some will change their mind once they factor in having to buy Nikon glass and accessories.  Obviously I'm simplifying things, as there's a bunch of other factors that like ergonomics, which lenses these individuals have vs. Nikon equivalents etc.

Although it's looking like the 'Canon glass is cheaper' argument isn't as valid anymore for the top new lenses, given the latest prices (e.g., 24-70 II).  It'll be interesting to see what older L-glass performs well with that kind of resolution; I've read arguments on both sides, but don't have the technical background to know which side is true.

No problem, glad some of it helped!  I've done a ton of research for that area over the past year, plus I travel a lot for work & pleasure, so I'm glad all that effort helps others too. 

A friend and I will be in the Zion/Bryce area around 10/15-10/16, so maybe we'll spot you.  At 6'4" you should stand out.  ;)

BTW, emailed you again.  I sent a PDF you may find useful.  Just wanted to give you a head's up, it's not a virus or anything.

Thought I'd share a couple of sites I ran across doing research for Valley of Fire before:

Synnatsche's Secrets of the Southwest - Website of a German couple that are talented travel/landscape photogs.  They have travelogues of some of the southwest's most interesting places; it's in German, so most people will need to use Google translate or something like that to read it.  Or just look at the pretty pictures ;) I used the website to discover some places I'd never heard of before; the gallery includes other parts of the US too.

The page I linked to has some fantastic shots of Valley of Fire.  There are also links on it to the Valley of Fire travelogue, as well as their eGUIDE about Valley of Fire.  Great pictures and lots of locations with GPS coordinates, tips, if the location is a sunrise/sunset/afternoon location, etc.  Well worth the $5 or so IMHO.

Sunset Cities Valley of Fire Info - Has a lot of good basic info on the park (directions, fees, etc.) and lots of pictures about various parts, but the picture quality isn't great.

If you're there around sunset, don't be surprised to see a wedding or wedding photoshoot, seems like a lot of people drive up from Vegas for that.

EDIT - for the car rentals, if you can, check more than one discount site (Hotwire, Travelocity, Kayak etc).  Not sure which ones you might have access to if you're in China.  Usually they're all relatively close to each other, but sometimes one will give you a great deal.  For example, when I've gone to Oahu the past couple of years, most the sites would quote me basically the same prices but Hotwire was ridiculously cheaper for some reason (two times I got a mid-size car for $9.95).

EDIT 2 - A friend asked me to help with directions to the Fire Wave in Valley of Fire, so I threw something together on google maps.  Thought I'd put it here too, in case it helps anyone. 

Fire Wave map

Antelope - I don't think I mentioned it in the email I sent, but I shot mostly with a 10-22 on a cropped body my first time, and 17-40L FF the next, typically near the wider end.  Different people have different styles though.  But because of the wind and dust in there, you don't want to be switching lenses if you can avoid it.  If you bring your backup body on the trip, consider having them both ready to go with different lenses. 

Yosemite - I know you had just said it's out, but since you did mention it at first and others are suggesting it, I thought I'd chime in.  I do think it's definitely a place everyone should see at least once.  The problem is your limited time, and desire to see other locations further away.  How badly do you want to see it compared to other locations, and what are the chances you'll return again?  FYI, it's been a hot dry year, and from what I hear the falls have less water than typical for this time of year.  Yosemite falls is mostly dry (a quick view of the Yosemite webcams confirms this).  Unless there are some storms, they'll be even drier in October.  Yosemite is so much more than waterfalls, but I thought it worth mentioning in case those are important to you, and you think you'd come back and see it another time. 

IF you did go from LA to Yosemite, and then maybe Utah/Arizona, you'll want go through Tioga Pass, which closes in winter, but almost never before November.  You could swing by Mono Lake and see some of the beautiful Eastern Sierras along the drive.

EDIT - Also, finding lodging in Yosemite this close to your trip could be difficult; if you find something it'll probably be pricey.  The same could be said for most of the places you want to see, since they're all popular.

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