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Author Topic: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon  (Read 8094 times)

Minh Nguyen

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Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2012, 01:37:31 PM »
Best wishes on your Grand Canyon trip. You renting or buying that 17-40mm?

I rented the 10-22mm EF-S a few times and hated it. For almost the same price as a 17-40 it wasn't nearly as sharp. Maybe it was the copy I had. On a 5DmII or mIII you might find that the 17 end of that lens isn't bad for such and expansive landscape. It'll be fun to see the results. Keep us posted.

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Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2012, 01:37:31 PM »

Adam Schallau

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Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2012, 03:33:07 PM »
I'm a photo guide and workshop instructor at the Grand Canyon. I also lived there for a short time many years ago.  You're going to be visiting during a great time of year! The crowds have begun to diminish and there's plenty of low-angle light to take advantage of!

Your gear list looks fine and I expect that you'll get the most out of the 24-70/2.8L and 70-200/2.8L lenses. My most commonly used focal lengths at the canyon are 24mm, 45mm, and 90mm. I also love using the telephoto focal lengths to isolate areas of strong light & shadow or interesting patters in the landscape.

An ultra-wide zoom is handy to have along, but consider that they can also have an effect of minimizing some of the finer features in the landscape. I tend to use a 16-25/2.8L or Nikon 14-24/2.8 when I capturing the night sky, including the Milky Way, as Northern Arizona is a great place to do this type of photography. Depending on when you visit, and the weather you experience, you may be able to get some shots of the canyon illuminated by the moon.

As for filters...be careful with the polarizer on a wide-angle lens. It's very easy to over polarize or have an uneven polarization effect across the sky. Neutral density grads will come in quite handy with a 2-stop soft edge and 3-stop hard edge being my most used grads at the canyon.

On to shooting locations. You've already received many great suggestions here on CanonRumors.com. Ths is time of the year the points at the east end of the park are great. I love Lipan Point and Moran Point for sunrise. Desert View and Navajo Point can be great at sunset. On the Hermit Road at the west end of the park there are several good points including Powell Point & Memorial, and Hopi Point. No matter where you go, remember that you don't have to stay at the points. You can and should explore a bit!

I know several other members here have mentioned the weather at the canyon, but I'll add my 2 cents. It can get quite cold this time of year. We've already been down to 3 degrees Fahrenheit  once this fall and it's routinely getting down to the high teens in the morning. The wind has been blowing lately which makes the need for a good/sturdy tripod all that much more important. Dress in several layers and be prepared to add or take away as necessary.

If you're interested, you can view some of my Grand Canyon work on my website and Facebook page:


I hope you have a fantastic trip!

ahsanford

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Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2012, 03:37:40 PM »

Just got back, team.  Nice tips.

I've attached a few decent ones, shown here.  Comments to follow.

- A

ahsanford

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Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2012, 04:02:35 PM »
Okay, here were was my experience from the trip.

1) Beautiful beautiful beautiful.  The GC is a gift to see and behold.

2) I used the 28mm prime (60%) and 70-200 (15%) a lot more than I thought I would.  The 24-70 got less use than I thought it would, perhaps the remaining 25%.  I didn't buy/rent the ultrawide, and I don't think I needed it.  Someone suggested to go pano on the tripod if I needed more width, and I only needed to do that 3-4 times.  Great tip.

3) Don't leave right at sunset.  The light immediately after sunset can ping pong off of clouds and do some great things.

4) ND grads are punishing to dial in when it's cold, windy and you are aching from leaning over a tripod setup for an extended period.  They also are hard to proof for correct placement, even at a 100% pixel playback on the 5d3's screen. Such a powerful tool needs a simpler implementation and verification, IMHO.  I'm sure I'll get better at using them, but that was the biggest fail of the trip for me.

5) I shot much more handheld than I thought I would.  The tripod only came out about a dozen times over the two days.

6) I brought the big stopper (10 stop darkener) and didn't use it on day one when I had great fluffy clouds.  Day two there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  So if you have the clouds, use it when you can.  :-P

7)  Simultaneous ND grad + panorama is the way to madness.  I'm only using ND grads on single shots until I get better at using them.

8 ) Though it's 101 photo stuff, don't use s--- filters.  I have B+W MRC UVs and CPLs for everything except my staple 77mm CPL (which was a mid-grade Hoya).  As it was my only 77mm CPL, I had to constantly switch it out from the 24-70 to the 70-200.  It unthreads, the two rings wiggle w.r.t. to each other, etc.  I was fed up with it.  [I just rectified that with a 77mm Kaesemann MRC CPL purchase, btw.]

9) Though I knew this would happen, the 24 end of the 24-70 and the 28 prime both demonstrated FOV-CPL-'pseudo-vignetting' from differing levels of sky darkness.  It goes away around 35mm and up from my experience.  I know you folks brought it up, and I have fought that for years with my old 10-22 EF-S lens.  But I did it anyway.  I just felt the sky would have been too bright if I didn't accept this tradeoff, and the CPL is 100x easier to use than the (more appropriate) ND grads.

10) A monstrous bull elk walked into the GC village behind my hotel, and in nearly complete darkness, I netted a proof-of-bigfoot level of usefulness shot of him at ISO 25,600 + handheld + fully open + IS on my 70-200mm F/2.8L IS II.  I saw details and colors in that shot that my naked eyes could not see.  Love my 5D3.   8)

More will hit me later, but I had a tremendous trip and learned even more about my love of photography in the process.  Would do it again in a heartbeat.

Thanks again for your copious tips and insights.

- A

ahsanford

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Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2012, 04:06:06 PM »

And one more thing, the first picture I linked could have been an epic keeper if I had only waited for the little warrior (tree) in front to get some sunlight.  Poor patience on my part.

I also should crop that into a more cinematic / pano aspect ratio.  3:2 doesn't serve such an interesting shot, IMHO.

- A

jsexton

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Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2012, 02:54:06 PM »
Beautiful shots, great post to bookmark as we're heading out there for 2 weeks in June 2013 and there's lots of good advice here.
4 Canon bodies and a bunch of lenses.

kubelik

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Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2012, 04:33:58 PM »
great shots, ahsanford!  looks like you had both an enjoyable experience and an educational one as well, that's always the best.

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Re: Landscape tips needed on shooting the Grand Canyon
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2012, 04:33:58 PM »