April 26, 2018, 08:19:53 AM

Author Topic: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone  (Read 4240 times)

Random Orbits

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2018, 09:55:27 AM »
I never remember a time at Yellowstone that I thought "hey... I wish I could zoom down to 200mm with my 500mm it is just to long".  I do remember the times that a 2x was barely enough to get a decent picture of a sheep, or that only by zooming to 100x I could actually make out the mountain goat on the side of a mountain.

The versatility of a zoom's range argument just doesn't hold up for wildlife. To make the point further, I have a 100-400mm and often when I am traveling a relative or the wife is using it. I never remember a time that I asked them to hand it to me because I just needed a shorter length to take a picture of a buffalo.

It depends.  During a hike in Glacier National Park, the sheep were crossing the path.  For Yellowstone and Custer State Park, the buffalo are like that.  300-400mm for a single buffalo.  100mm to get a calf with its mother.  The problem with long primes is that you have to move far to change the framing.  Having a long prime and a shorter zoom maximizes the chances of getting the compositions you want.

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2018, 09:55:27 AM »

takesome1

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2018, 10:31:47 AM »

Also consider talking to the rangers to find out where the wolves are active in Lamar Valley.  They hunt early (5-6AM), and Yellowstone is a big park so you'll have to get up early.  That was one of the things I would have loved to see and get a photo of, but our hotel was in West Yellowstone on the opposite side.

When the wolves get to close to the road they are run off by the Rangers with shot guns shooting bean bags. Same with Grizzly. If you want pictures of the big carnivores you need the longer lens. The majority of the time you will not be that close. 


stevelee

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2018, 11:36:16 AM »
I've not been to Yellowstone, but around Jasper, I didn't need a long lens for wildlife. These were shot with my S120 or S95, whichever I had at the time:





At Glacier National Park I saw grizzlies using the same trails as hikers as I looked across the side of a mountain. I didn't have a digital camera back then. I was shooting negative film with a compact 35mm camera. I don't recall whether I tried to get a shot of that. I hope some day to go back through those pictures and scan in the negatives of the best shots. If I had wanted a picture of just one bear, I would have needed a long lens. To show the bears and people on the side of a mountain, my guess would be something in the 100mm to 200mm range would have been about right.

bholliman

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2018, 11:57:04 AM »
I understand the goal of going beyond 400mm. I think the Canon 300mm F2.8 IS ii + 2X teleconverter would be better than the Tamron 150-600mm G2. See comparison at the digital picture lens image quality tool: https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=739&Camera=979&Sample=0&FLI=2&API=2&LensComp=1079&CameraComp=979&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=5&APIComp=0

Thanks, I'll look into that.

The 300 f/2.8 II is excellent with extenders.  I haven't been able to talk my wife into agreeing to me buying a 500 f/4 II or 600 f/4 II (yet), so all my wildlife photography is with the 300 and 1.4x and 2.0x III extenders - 80% of the time with the 2x for birds.  Mine is very sharp with a 2xIII, roughly as good at 600mm f/5.6 as two different 500 f/4 II's I rented at 700mm with a 1.4x III (minus 100mm).   Auto focus with the 2x is good, not great for birds in flight, but fine for slower moving subjects.  I imagine AF with the 2x is better than with the 3rd party 150-600's but I haven't' done any testing.  This might be a good question for Alan F!
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wsmith96

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2018, 12:37:56 PM »
When I went to Yellowstone I took my 10-22, 17-55, and 70-300 for my crop camera.  For you, I would think you could do well with your 16-35, a 24-105, and a 150-600.  My experience was that I used my 17-55 most of the time.   I was able to photograph some bears and a wolf pack with the 70-300 but I admit that additional reach would have been nice.  I would think a 100-400 on a crop would do well there, but you've got a 5D, so go for the 150-600.

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2018, 02:06:20 PM »
One of the things that makes Yellowstone unique is the long sight lines. Its not uncommon to spot some of the larger mammals when they are several miles away so it's a bit frustrating no matter what glass you bring. Far is far and no lens can make a sharp image over those distances. I often revert to video in those cases as I find it is more forgiving of a loose crop and Canon's video crop ratios become an advantage.

As far as lens choices, it really depends on what you hope to photograph. Grizzly bears, wolves and moose generally require as much glass as you can muster although if you put the time in you can occasionally get pretty close to those with reasonable safety. Black bears, elk, deer, fox, coyote, sheep, etc you can often get quite close to and a 100-400 or 150-600 can yield some very nice frame filling shots. I'd probably recommend going with one of those and and 1.4x extender as that will provide the most flexibility. Yellowstone is huge and you are going to have to be on the move to see much of it in a few days.

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2018, 03:11:32 PM »
The last time I went, all I had was my 70-200 f/4L IS with TC's.  To shoot wild life, I added a 1.4X TC, but it was woefully inadequate to fill the frame with a eagle in the top of a tree at the edge of the parking lot.

On the other hand, the 24-105mm was not quite wide enough to get a good photo from some of the board walks that are right on the edge or even partially over the geologic features.  I think my 100-400 with 1.4X or 2X TC and live view DPAF might make it.  I'd not want to pack a really big lens thru the July Crowds, I went in the fall to avoid them, but there were still a lot of people.  I had my 70-200mm lens set at 70mm to shoot old faithful, a mistake, I could not get it all in the image and did not want to wait for the next event to put a wider lens on.

I doubt that I'll be going back soon, even though its a day or less drive, but I'd want ~12-24 or 16-35, 24-70/24-105, and 100-400 plus TC's.  Both my crop and FF DSLR's have DPAF and I'd use that a lot, since my 5D MK IV will AF even with stacked TC's if focus is already close.

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2018, 03:11:32 PM »

scottkinfw

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2018, 04:07:33 PM »
Since you have years of experience with Canon's 100-400mm, I would suggest you rent one of those. If you are committed to a prime, I can say that my transition from mainly using a 100-400 for wildlife to a 300mm F2.8 IS ii with a pair of teleconverters was pretty easy. I am very happy with the results I get from the 300mm F2.8 IS ii. I can also recommend that you enjoy your trip, prepare for the unexpected moments, and don't stress too much about the gear your taking. The Eastern Screech Owl was taken with the 300mm F2.8 IS ii about 15 min after sunset with ambient light. The Elk + Old Faithful was taken with a 35mm film point-and-shoot circa 1986.

Oh there will be no family along with me, this is all about geeking out on photography and trying something new. I never owned anything longer than 400 and renting is a great opportunity to try that yet I want to do it realistically and perhaps not get a giant prime which challenges me in the field with time constraints. Thanks.

You are brave!

Getting a great shot always challenges me regardless of lens or camera.

I'm going to look into the 500L.  It might be worth the $, as I never know when and if I will ever get another chance.
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scottkinfw

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2018, 04:08:53 PM »
What are some great lenses, focal lengths that have served you well in Yellowstone?

We visited Yellowstone NP for 5 days back in 2012.  At that time I had a 550D, EF-S 18-55 and 55-250mm.  250mm on a crop (400mm FF equivalent) was definitely not enough reach for wildlife.  I cropped most of my wildlife shots pretty heavily.  Yes, you will get some close-up wildlife encounters as well, but most will be fairly distant.  You will use your EF 16-35mm f/4 IS quite a bit, but will probably need a normal zoom as well, 24-70mm or 25-105 in addition to a long tele for wildlife.

Your long tele choice depends on your budget.  A 500 f/4 II would be my preference, but renting for a week will be expensive.  The Sigma C 150-600 and Tamron 150-600 G2 are both very well respected.  Auto focus will not be as good as one of the big whites, but autofocus requirements for shooting distant bears, bison, elk and moose is not nearly as demanding as BIF.



My question to anyone who has been there, should I rent a longer lens?
I will bring a 5DIII and 1DX II.  Would it be worth it to rent a 5dSR?


A 300 f/2.8 II is my longest lens as well.  I use mine all the time for wildlife with the 1.4x and 2.0x III extenders and it performs pretty well, but AF struggles a bit with the 2x.  For a trip like this, I would probably rent a 500 f/4 II or 600 f/4 II.  I would think your current cameras are certainly good enough unless you really want maximum resolution for large prints.

Anyone use Canon with the CPS benefits to "borrow" a lens?
Scott
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scottkinfw

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2018, 04:14:22 PM »
What I used in Yellowstone last year:  16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 II, 100-400 II (plus extenders).

I went with my family, so a lot of it was driving and hiking.  The 16-35 and 24-70 got used a lot as walk around lenses.  A lot of the more sensitive geological areas restrict foot traffic to boardwalks and it's handy to have a UWA lens (i.e. Grand Prismatic).  If you're planning on going to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area, the 100-400 is a must as a landscape lens in addition to the shorter focal lengths.  I had two camera bags with me, I carried what I thought I needed at the moment, and left the rest in the second bag in the car.

The 100-400 II is an excellent lens and it's portability is a major asset.  I'd rather walk around with a 100-400 II with the extender in the backpack rather than a 150-600.  That said, I would have loved to have a long supertele in the Lamar Valley.  We were taking pictures of an osprey family (2 young chicks), and that was the only time I felt I needed something longer.  I had both extenders with me and the resulting pictures were good.  but then a serious amateur/pro came by and asked what we were looking at.  I showed him the shots that I got of the nest, and he liked them, so he went back to his vehicle and brought back a D4/5, the Nikkor 500mm, extenders, tripod and a chair.  My family watched the ospreys for about half an hour.  He was there for over 2 hours (he was still there after we had gone to see the bison in Lamar Valley and passed the osprey nest on the way out).  He was returning from Alaska after shooting bald eagles.  I was looking for something good for memories.  He was looking for something great (ospreys taking off and returning in flight).  My tripod was in the car because I didn't know how long my family would let me stay; he was camping out waiting for a moment that might never occur.  Besides the two of us, I saw only one other camera with a long zoom.  Nearly everyone else had cell phones.  We passed binoculars around to let them see what we were seeing/taking photos of.

If I were going to do it as a photo trip exclusively, I'd bring both the 100-400 II and a 600.  600 instead of the 500 for the birds with monopod and tripod.  The bison get close to the road but those are not the best opportunities because of the background.  They are spread out over a wide area so you can walk a bit toward the river while keeping adequate distance and use a long lens to get the shot you want.  Don't forget to bring the wider lenses.  Telephoto shots of the large animals are great, but there is also a great quality for panoramas showing these large animals in a large expanse of nature.

Also consider talking to the rangers to find out where the wolves are active in Lamar Valley.  They hunt early (5-6AM), and Yellowstone is a big park so you'll have to get up early.  That was one of the things I would have loved to see and get a photo of, but our hotel was in West Yellowstone on the opposite side.

Hi Random

I just made reservations for the Western enterance of the park.  Any recommendations for must visit places in that neck of the Park?

Thanks.
Scott
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dawgfanjeff

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2018, 06:38:09 PM »
Here's my advice :)
I was there last September, and I'd recommend the longest zoom you can get (300mm should be a minimum), and without a doubt, rent a 10-22.  You'll be walking along boardwalks and standing literally 3 feet from open thermals, "pots" and geysers that have so much visual interest you'll feel like there is no way to frame it without sacrifice, so go wide.  I'd also leave the macro lens at home, instead bring a tripod and a polarizer for the 10-22. 

A few other tips...you're going to see lots and lots of bison.  Unless they are really close, don't stop to photograph the first ones you see.  The opposite is true of moose and elk, but especially bear and wolves.  I struck gold on wolves, but no bear.
When in Teton, visit the best visitors' center I've ever seen, the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and take the short hike to Phelps Lake.   

The park is huge, so you'll be driving alot, so will everybody else so get out there EARLY and try to catch wildlife and avoid alot of traffic.  There are hiking trails everywhere, but really do heed the warnings on bear. 
Lastly...you cannot possibly see everything you want to but you'll want to check off the snake river overlook that Ansel made famous, Old Faithful and without a doubt, spend some time in Lamar Valley.  I bought a couple of photo related guidebooks for kindle and read them on the plane ride, it helped out.  Enjoy!

IMG_1102 by dawgfanjeff, on Flickr

IMG_1648 by dawgfanjeff, on Flickr


Lamar Valley Wolves by dawgfanjeff, on Flickr

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reef58

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2018, 07:16:51 PM »
I've not been to Yellowstone, but around Jasper, I didn't need a long lens for wildlife. These were shot with my S120 or S95, whichever I had at the time:





At Glacier National Park I saw grizzlies using the same trails as hikers as I looked across the side of a mountain. I didn't have a digital camera back then. I was shooting negative film with a compact 35mm camera. I don't recall whether I tried to get a shot of that. I hope some day to go back through those pictures and scan in the negatives of the best shots. If I had wanted a picture of just one bear, I would have needed a long lens. To show the bears and people on the side of a mountain, my guess would be something in the 100mm to 200mm range would have been about right.

You don't want to try and shoot bears and bison with a short lens.  You are inviting disaster.

takesome1

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2018, 08:37:59 PM »
Go to this website and see what everyone else is using.
https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/viewanim.htm
Also, 100 yards from bears and wolves.
If you feel like taking a shorter zoom lens and moving in closer by all means do so. I like the cell phone shooters, they give an added layer of protection between me and a bear.


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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2018, 08:37:59 PM »

timmy_650

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2018, 09:47:05 PM »
I might go with the 150-600, I have only shot it at a demo at a Zoo but I was pretty happy with the quality. The 200-400 and 400 were better.  Why I would say the 150-600 is cost and transporting it. If you rent a 500 you probably want to a bag too, so you have some way to carry it.
When I was at Yellowstone a few years ago, I saw wolfs in the morning on the boardwalks. If I rented a 500 I wouldn't been carrying it with me.
If you where going to Alaska to shoot bears, then I would say a 500 would be worth it. But it sounds like you want to shoot everything at Yellowstone.   

stevelee

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2018, 12:30:04 AM »
You don't want to try and shoot bears and bison with a short lens.  You are inviting disaster.

I was in a small bus when I took the picture of the bear, so fairly safe. It was a sad story. Traffic was backed up, and we soon saw why. A small skinny bear was in the middle of the road begging for food from cars. I didn't see that anybody was giving him food, but maybe some had. He apparently had become dependent upon humans for food rather than gathering his own, and it wasn't working out well, judging from his appearance. There was little chance that he would make it through the next winter. By the time we got close, he was heading back into the woods on our right. That was when I took the picture. I don't know how safe it was to be that close to the sheep or goats, whichever they were. They were walking by us, so not spooked by our presence.

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Re: Advice for renting a lens for Yellowstone
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2018, 12:30:04 AM »