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Author Topic: Yosemite in the wintertime  (Read 5187 times)

Niterider

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Yosemite in the wintertime
« on: February 25, 2013, 09:13:34 PM »
I just came back from Yosemite. I have to admit that February is now my favorite month to visit that region. The valley floor is still a bit busy, but the hiking trails are pretty quiet. I was not able to see the Horsetail Fall's Fire Fall due to it being cloudy when I went to watch it. There were well over a hundred photographers there waiting to catch a shot though! Anyhow if you have the option too, I would highly recommend staying a weekend in Yosemite during the month of February. Just don't wear tennis shoes!!!

I did notice that about 80% of photographers were walking around with a 70-200 F2.8 (canon/nikon/tamron/etc.). For the life of me, I could not figure this out! For my entire trip, I was constantly reaching for my 14mm uwa lens. If that was not on the camera, the 50mm was. I only put my 70-200mm on my camera 3 times over the course of the trip.

I do understand wanting that focal range for the waterfalls when observing from a distance, but these lenses were everywhere. Does anyone know why everyone in Yosemite has that lens attached to their camera 24/7???

Anyhow, here are a couple pictures from the trip. Hope you like them!
Also, feel free to critique the photos. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Mirror Lake Trail by Live By The Night, on Flickr


Vernal Falls by Live By The Night, on Flickr
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 09:16:36 PM by Niterider »

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Yosemite in the wintertime
« on: February 25, 2013, 09:13:34 PM »

Menace

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 02:39:37 AM »
Interesting fact re 70-200s - did you notice what those photographers were shooting in particular? Were they carrying tripods / monopods?

Personally, I'd take the widest lens I have plus filters and my sturdiest tripod  :)

Lovely shots btw.
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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 04:40:46 AM »
Wait a minute , the 70-200 2.8 can come OFF the camera?!?  I thought it was permanent...well at least the I use it haha.

Jkjk, I can see bringing it, but I would think I'd have our 14, 17-40 or 16-35 on most of the time.


CarlTN

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 04:45:50 AM »
Niterider, I like your pics.  Show more if you have any others.

Yes, it's a lovely park, someday I will visit.  It sounds like there's no shortage of people shooting pics there, though...and there's also no shortage of pictures of the park done by well known photographers.

The reason people walk around with a 70-200 f/2.8, is because they don't look like a big shot photographer unless they have one.  They see the photo press on tv, all of them have one, so they buy one.  I assume they are there to shoot wildlife, or else to take some of family or friends while with them...or something.

Every time I visit the parks in my area (such as the Smokey Mtns), there are people with wide angles, and people with 70-200's.  I usually go with a wide zoom and some exotic medium prime lens.  What did not surprise me last year (via part of the Blue Ridge Parkway), were the billions of extremely loud Harley Davidsons piloted by gray haired couples, complete with micro dog in the wife's purse or backpack.  Every stop possessing fresh grass and picnic tables, smelled like horrible tiny doggie poo! 

What did surprise me was the multitude of people shooting standard wide angle landscape shots in the daytime, on tripods.  I fail to see the logic of this.  If they're shooting macro, or wanting to participate in the "stream water as smoke" fad, with long exposures and ND filters, that's one thing.  Or if it is late afternoon light, then yes I can see needing a tripod.  But if they are not doing long exposure, there's no reason for a tripod in mid afternoon light, in my opinion.  It certainly limits the total number of shots you can take, to constantly move around a tripod and set it up, and aim the camera, etc.  I had rented a 1D4 with 24-105 IS.  I shot about 1400 pictures over a day and a half.  With the IS, I was able to close the lens down to f/16 or 18 at times, to try to minimize CA at the wide end, and still got sharp shots handheld even if the speed was less than 1/100.  I felt like a bigshot with the big 1 series around my neck, but nobody really seemed to notice!   

When I visit Yosemite, I think it will take me several visits to figure out what's been least photographed, but still is worth shooting.  Ideally I would do night photography of the comet later this year (assuming it lights up like they say), but I have a feeling something or some park ranger would try to stop me...stuff like that always happens ("sorry folks, the park closes at 5pm, it's time to go home").  If I can't do it there, there are other parks and other nice places.  There won't be a shortage of other people shooting the comet, either...will be kind of hard to stand out from the crowd...or rather impossible.

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 06:25:02 AM »
I did notice that about 80% of photographers were walking around with a 70-200 F2.8 (canon/nikon/tamron/etc.). For the life of me, I could not figure this out!

Does anyone know why everyone in Yosemite has that lens attached to their camera 24/7???

Shooting around dawn/dusk and not the typical midday (when it's less touristy) you'll find most of the "not-so-serious" photographers back indoors and the serious ones out with their tripods and non-70-200 set up. Thank goodness for this as it weeds down the # of photographers on the popular vantage points in the valley during these times.

What did surprise me was the multitude of people shooting standard wide angle landscape shots in the daytime, on tripods.  I fail to see the logic of this.  If they're shooting macro, or wanting to participate in the "stream water as smoke" fad, with long exposures and ND filters, that's one thing.  Or if it is late afternoon light, then yes I can see needing a tripod.  But if they are not doing long exposure, there's no reason for a tripod in mid afternoon light, in my opinion.  It certainly limits the total number of shots you can take, to constantly move around a tripod and set it up, and aim the camera, etc.

If we are talking midday lighting (non-overcast) it's going to be a high dynamic range environment. One reason could be HDR shots or multiple exposure (as you need the images to align up) and then in post-processing mask/layer/blend in parts of the scene where there are harsh shadows or blown out highlights. Regardless of HDR or not, I always like to bracket my landscape shots. In fact I prefer having a tripod and carefully selecting my scenes, composing the shots, making sure the shots are leveled, and shooting through live view magnification to get critical focus to minimize the work in post process and going through thousands of images trying to narrow them down that end up hogging up hard drive space that probably won't ever see the light of day. In the case of using live view to shoot to get that perfect focus, I find myself using a tripod nearly 99% of the time regardless as you don't  have your face pressed up against the viewfinder to support/balance the camera. Another reason I would use a tripod midday is when I'm shooting with my tilt shift lens with live view as it helps compose the scene easier.

"Best aid to composition is a tripod."
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 06:44:29 AM by Canon 14-24 »

dilbert

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 06:37:48 AM »
I did notice that about 80% of photographers were walking around with a 70-200 F2.8 (canon/nikon/tamron/etc.). For the life of me, I could not figure this out! For my entire trip, I was constantly reaching for my 14mm uwa lens. If that was not on the camera, the 50mm was. I only put my 70-200mm on my camera 3 times over the course of the trip.

And when I look at your photos, what do I see? Uncorrected lens distortion.

Where does lens distortion come from?

UWA lenses that people don't know how to use.

Your photos are a great example of why lots of people don't use wide angle lenses in Yosemite Valley.

Best lens for the Yosemite Valley is arguably 24-70. It would be 24-105 except that the 24-105 is rubbish wider than 28mm.

dilbert

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 06:48:23 AM »
What did surprise me was the multitude of people shooting standard wide angle landscape shots in the daytime, on tripods.  I fail to see the logic of this.  If they're shooting macro, or wanting to participate in the "stream water as smoke" fad, with long exposures and ND filters, that's one thing.  Or if it is late afternoon light, then yes I can see needing a tripod.  But if they are not doing long exposure, there's no reason for a tripod in mid afternoon light, in my opinion.  It certainly limits the total number of shots you can take, to constantly move around a tripod and set it up, and aim the camera, etc.  I had rented a 1D4 with 24-105 IS.  I shot about 1400 pictures over a day and a half.  With the IS, I was able to close the lens down to f/16 or 18 at times, to try to minimize CA at the wide end, and still got sharp shots handheld even if the speed was less than 1/100.

And what ISO were you shooting with f/16 at 1/100? Somehow I doubt it was ISO 100, with a polariser and ETR.

To give an example, a photo I've taken from an almost cloud free day at Yosemite overlooking the Nevada Falls is 1/25 at f/8.0 for ISO 100 (zoom of 25mm). In the interest of seeking to maximise my chances of the photo being sharp I use a tripod even if it is borderline ok for handheld with IS.

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 06:48:23 AM »

CarlTN

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 07:25:33 AM »
And what ISO were you shooting with f/16 at 1/100? Somehow I doubt it was ISO 100, with a polariser and ETR.

To give an example, a photo I've taken from an almost cloud free day at Yosemite overlooking the Nevada Falls is 1/25 at f/8.0 for ISO 100 (zoom of 25mm). In the interest of seeking to maximise my chances of the photo being sharp I use a tripod even if it is borderline ok for handheld with IS.

No, I was a bit above ISO 100.  I wasn't using a polarizer.  If I had used one, then yes, I can see why you would want a tripod.  However, on a clear sunny day in fall, unless you are shooting extremely bright clouds, or again...water falls...I don't see a reason to use a polarizer or ND filter.  Some of those people I saw, were indeed shooting water...but I was referring to the ones that were just shooting landscape with a lot of bright sky, mountains, etc.

The weather on the day I was referring to, was cool, with clear blue sky, few clouds.  There was haze compared to Arizona I suppose, but you could only see it from mountain tops, toward the horizon.

Here are a couple shots I did, cropped to web size.  (No the Corvette isn't mine...I was in a Bugatti Veyron...not!) 

Many of the landscape shots didn't turn out all that well, compositionally (I've not spent much time going through them yet).  We were very rushed to cover a lot of ground in a short time.  However, quite a few did turn out ok that I shot through the car's windshield (I was passenger).  On their own, sure they're compromised and mundane, but not if you consider they could be made into a photobook that would be a tour of that part of the parkway.

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 07:51:11 AM »
And what ISO were you shooting with f/16 at 1/100? Somehow I doubt it was ISO 100, with a polariser and ETR.

To give an example, a photo I've taken from an almost cloud free day at Yosemite overlooking the Nevada Falls is 1/25 at f/8.0 for ISO 100 (zoom of 25mm). In the interest of seeking to maximise my chances of the photo being sharp I use a tripod even if it is borderline ok for handheld with IS.

No, I was a bit above ISO 100.  I wasn't using a polarizer.  If I had used one, then yes, I can see why you would want a tripod.  However, on a clear sunny day in fall, unless you are shooting extremely bright clouds, or again...water falls...I don't see a reason to use a polarizer or ND filter.  Some of those people I saw, were indeed shooting water...but I was referring to the ones that were just shooting landscape with a lot of bright sky, mountains, etc.

...
Many of the landscape shots didn't turn out all that well, compositionally (I've not spent much time going through them yet).

... and you wonder why everyone isn't using a UWA lens on their camera.

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 08:11:54 AM »
Often when I would be in Yosemite I would have my 70-200 on for wildlife encounters.  The landscapes typically didn't run away so I would have time to setup my tripod, change lenses, polarizer, compose my shot and shoot.  Well that and I just wanted to look nerdy cool with my "big white lens"  ;) .  Some great shots. Too bad there wasn't much snow.   

I need to go back there soon! 

Keep on shooting!

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 08:52:38 AM »
But if they are not doing long exposure, there's no reason for a tripod in mid afternoon light, in my opinion.  It certainly limits the total number of shots you can take, to constantly move around a tripod and set it up, and aim the camera, etc.     

I think limiting the total number of shots you take might be the greatest advantage of using a tripod for many photographers.  :)

Quote
When I visit Yosemite, I think it will take me several visits to figure out what's been least photographed, but still is worth shooting.  Ideally I would do night photography of the comet later this year (assuming it lights up like they say), but I have a feeling something or some park ranger would try to stop me...stuff like that always happens ("sorry folks, the park closes at 5pm, it's time to go home"). 

Yosemite is a 24 hour party so you don't need to worry about them closing early.

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 09:12:23 AM »




... and you wonder why everyone isn't using a UWA lens on their camera.

Not sure what you mean by that?  I wasn't the one wondering why everyone wasn't shooting UWA, the OP was.  I took the 300 f/4 IS with me on that drive, but never took the 24-105 off the camera. 

24 hours huh?  Good to know.  They need to have some 24 hour parks over here.  Of course, my state isn't $100+ billion in debt yet...like CA is.  Not sure how the funding is divided up regarding Yosemite, though.

There are times when limiting your number of landscape shots can be good, I suppose.  If it's somewhere I haven't been before, I prefer to do as many as possible, rather than getting locked into just a few.  Otherwise I feel I may miss out.  And I have more to choose from when it comes time to decide which was best.  The time to consider and compose, is when it's a familiar place...or there's only a handful of primary landmarks to shoot.


Niterider

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 11:14:51 AM »
Niterider, I like your pics.  Show more if you have any others.

Yes, it's a lovely park, someday I will visit.  It sounds like there's no shortage of people shooting pics there, though...and there's also no shortage of pictures of the park done by well known photographers.

The reason people walk around with a 70-200 f/2.8, is because they don't look like a big shot photographer unless they have one.  They see the photo press on tv, all of them have one, so they buy one.  I assume they are there to shoot wildlife, or else to take some of family or friends while with them...or something.

Every time I visit the parks in my area (such as the Smokey Mtns), there are people with wide angles, and people with 70-200's.  I usually go with a wide zoom and some exotic medium prime lens.  What did not surprise me last year (via part of the Blue Ridge Parkway), were the billions of extremely loud Harley Davidsons piloted by gray haired couples, complete with micro dog in the wife's purse or backpack.  Every stop possessing fresh grass and picnic tables, smelled like horrible tiny doggie poo! 

What did surprise me was the multitude of people shooting standard wide angle landscape shots in the daytime, on tripods.  I fail to see the logic of this.  If they're shooting macro, or wanting to participate in the "stream water as smoke" fad, with long exposures and ND filters, that's one thing.  Or if it is late afternoon light, then yes I can see needing a tripod.  But if they are not doing long exposure, there's no reason for a tripod in mid afternoon light, in my opinion.  It certainly limits the total number of shots you can take, to constantly move around a tripod and set it up, and aim the camera, etc.  I had rented a 1D4 with 24-105 IS.  I shot about 1400 pictures over a day and a half.  With the IS, I was able to close the lens down to f/16 or 18 at times, to try to minimize CA at the wide end, and still got sharp shots handheld even if the speed was less than 1/100.  I felt like a bigshot with the big 1 series around my neck, but nobody really seemed to notice!   

When I visit Yosemite, I think it will take me several visits to figure out what's been least photographed, but still is worth shooting.  Ideally I would do night photography of the comet later this year (assuming it lights up like they say), but I have a feeling something or some park ranger would try to stop me...stuff like that always happens ("sorry folks, the park closes at 5pm, it's time to go home").  If I can't do it there, there are other parks and other nice places.  There won't be a shortage of other people shooting the comet, either...will be kind of hard to stand out from the crowd...or rather impossible.

Yes, everyone had tripods and most had them set up for long exposures of the waterfalls. In terms of the long lenses, I had the feeling it was a bit of an insecurity thing. I did have a lot of people talk to me about gear and very few talk about lighting, composition, etc. I did do a bit of night photography while I was there and the rangers are totally cool with it. I also hiked some trails at night and no one stopped me.

The places that have not been photographed like crazy are definitely the places you have to hike miles to get to. I did not see a single photographer when I hiked up to Nevada Falls or going to the top of upper Yosemite falls, but saw hundreds around the valley floor. After hiking 15 miles one day with all my camera equipment, snow gear, and water & food on my back, I dont blame most photographers for sticking on the valley floor.

Hopefully you make it to Yosemite soon! I'll try to upload some pictures of the less photographed places when I can.

I did notice that about 80% of photographers were walking around with a 70-200 F2.8 (canon/nikon/tamron/etc.). For the life of me, I could not figure this out! For my entire trip, I was constantly reaching for my 14mm uwa lens. If that was not on the camera, the 50mm was. I only put my 70-200mm on my camera 3 times over the course of the trip.

And when I look at your photos, what do I see? Uncorrected lens distortion.

Where does lens distortion come from?

UWA lenses that people don't know how to use.

Your photos are a great example of why lots of people don't use wide angle lenses in Yosemite Valley.

Best lens for the Yosemite Valley is arguably 24-70. It would be 24-105 except that the 24-105 is rubbish wider than 28mm.

I would happily argue that the best lens for Yosemite is a 24 or 17mm tilt shift lens, but everyone has their preference. The distortion is corrected for as best I could (using a lens profile), but that is definitely the downfall of the Samyang 14mm. I am sure I could have done a better job correcting the distortion, but I have not figured out how. If you have any advice feel free to share!

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 11:14:51 AM »

catfish252

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 11:15:54 AM »
Because carrying their EF 800mm 5.6 tires them out too quickly. Real nice shots - love to see more. Thanks for sharing

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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 12:09:08 PM »
@ CarlTN:  "24 hours huh?  Good to know.  They need to have some 24 hour parks over here.  Of course, my state isn't $100+ billion in debt yet...like CA is.  Not sure how the funding is divided up regarding Yosemite, though."

Yosemite is a National Park - not a California State park - so I don't think California's budget problems are having any direct impact on the park. How the federal government's budget problems will affect the National Park system remains to be seen. Also, I might be mistaken, but although Yosemite is "open" 24 hours a day for those who are staying/camping there, I'm not sure about the ability of someone to enter the park after hours and leave during the night; that is, I'm not sure that there is an entrance booth that is manned throughout the night, or that there's an alternative place to check in during the night. However, if you're checked in during the day, you can wander around freely throughout the night (subject to the bears, of course!).


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Re: Yosemite in the wintertime
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 12:09:08 PM »