Hey CR folks,
I'm pondering a few days at the Grand Canyon, and I'd love your advice on a host of things.
WHERE/WHAT I WILL BE DOING
I'm game for level day hiking around the rim, but I'm unlikely to walk/mule the descent into the Canyon itself. I'm sure I will also get a good look at Sedona, the Page/Lake Powell/Antelope Canyon area, and possibly even Monument Valley.
Generally, I will be shooting landscapes (day and night). But street/walkaround stuff (in the touristy places) and handheld macro work (cacti, flowers, etc.) will likely happen as well. I have no desire to go after birds/wildlife unless I stumble across something (please note that I've spared myself the burden of owning huge glass -- madness that way lies, IMHO).
WHAT I WILL BRING
Since I'm driving to this, it will be easy to over pack.
Body + Lenses
24-70 2.8L (Mk I)
28 2.8 IS
100 2.8L IS macro
70-200 2.8L IS II + 2x III
Hoods for everything
UV and CPL for all of the above
ND grad 0.6 Hard + 0.9 Hard + Big Stopper only for the 77mm dia lenses above (the two zooms)
Tripod, ball head, Arca plate, level, remote shutter, batteries, backup cards, etc.
QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS
Now, all that said, here are the questions:
1) Should I consider renting an ultrawide prime or zoom? Given the wide open spaces, one might think I am missing 16-24mm on the list above. Rent a 16-35? Rent a 14 prime?
2) I don't own a flash (no, I'm not kidding), but I can get my hands on a friend's 430 EX II -- how essential is a flash with landscapes? In your answer, please consider that I'm only capable of doing rudimentary flash work at this stage (no trick shot / off-camera / radio stuff). I will learn that someday, I'm sure, but this isn't likely to be that moment.
3) I've never done star trail work but might give it a go one night. I'll read up on how, settings, etc., but is there any specific gear above what I'm bringing needed to do that? Is the weight of my bag enough (15-20 lb loaded up), or should I build/buy some heavy stabilizing weights?
4) For those who have been to the GC, assuming the North Rim is closed this time of year, where is the best place on the South Rim to shoot? I've heard that Lipan Point is a good spot shooting the Colorado from East to West, but I'm game for other great vistas if you know of any.
5) Will I have any flat horizons to use the ND grads against, or will I largely be bracketing for HDR to capture everything I am seeing? I am opposed to HDR just for HDR's sake, but I recognize that with any bright sky I will have to make some tough exposure decisions. Depending on my orientation to the sun, a CPL can only do so much to rein in the sky. Have any thoughts on how to manage this best?
As always, I am in your debt. Your advice is appreciated to no end.