It is a gorgeous day and you want to wander a bit farther from the car than you might have in the past. A few scenarios present themselves. What lenses would you carry for each? What filters? Let's assume that tripod and cable release are a given but, if you do not believe that they are, mention it and say why you think that to be the case. Also, feel free to describe what techniques you would expect to use and what you might look for en route or on-site.
Scenario 1: One mile (each way), pre-dawn hike with increasing elevation of 600 feet. Hike is on rocky ground with no expected water features. Shoot will be into the rising sun and will be a valley with mountains behind. Sky is clear with wispy clouds. Temp is 45 with slight haze and dew on exposed surfaces.
Scenario 2: Short walk to a pond. No appreciable change in elevation across high plains with occasional full overhang of foliage. Streams will be small and frequent. Temps are in the low 70s but, dropping rapidly. Sky is clear and you will shoot through sunset with the option of staying until well past sunset and shooting the night sky.
Scenario 3: 1.3 mile (each way) hike to a cascading falls. Mid-day sun with hazy clouds. One mile of walk is along a river (level terrain) with numerous feeder streams and small falls along the way. .3 miles are in woods with uphill grade and full canopy. Temps are in the high 60s along the river but, lower in the forest.
Interested so see what pictures each would expect to get and what gear you would bring to make your vision come to fruition.
1. I am going to carry my 70-200mm and my wide angle. The first to pick out items in the valley that I want to isolate and the second for broad vistas. Definitely going to carry a split ND to control the light of the sunrise without losing the detail of the valley.
On that note, do you all still use split NDs or are you all shooting one shot for the sky and one for the valley and doing HDR in post-prod?
2. For this shoot, I am bringing the kitchen sink. I want my long lens to isolate detail, my mid for items along the way and my wide for the big picture. I will bring my warming polarizer to start shoot early and I want my heaviest tripod for the long exposures. I might even want to weight for the tripod. Split ND is probably coming with for the daylight shooting.
Question there: do you use a split ND when shooting starlight to keep the residual light at the horizon from making an appearance (even when you may not pick up on it) or go for it once it is no longer apparent? I see star shots, from time to time, with a very bright horizon and wondered if that was just par for the course or can/should be avoided.
3. Wide angle and mid on this shoot. Circular polarizer to cut the glare from all of the moisture is a must. I will also want a variable ND to slow the water.
For #2, I am wearing my full backpack but, for the other two, I am just wearing my Lowe Pro harness system. 1 and 3, I am probably going with my hiking boots but, just using hiking shoes for #2 .
Do any of you skip filters entirely due to comfort with and confidence in your software? Are there filters that you have abandoned for this reason?
What about lenses? Have any of you abandoned some lenses due to higher MPs and some cameras ability to magnify?
I always have a circular polarizing filter with me and I use it often. I like how it removes the glare and saturates the colors. I also carry a 5 stop neutral density filter. Even in the brightest light, I can usually shoot waterfalls or cascades with a half second exposure using that filter. I have never used a split ND filter. If I need that effect, I'll use the Nik graduated neutral density filter Photoshop plugin. When shooting sunrise and sunset shots, I set my aperture to f-16 in an effort to capture a sunburst as the sun reaches the horizon.
I rarely do HDR photos. I prefer to make composites. It gives me much greater control than I get when using HDR software.
On starlight photos, you shouldn't use any filters. They can cause flaring and you don't want to block out any light, Light pollution is a fact of life when it comes to night photography. When I was shooting the Grand Canyon at night, the photo included light pollution from Las Vegas which is 175 straight line miles from the south rim where I was. I've come up with a way to handle that problem. I make a composite using one long exposure for the foreground and a 25 second exposure for the sky. With the sky layer selected in Photoshop, I use the transform tool to scale the sky layer until the part of the sky with the light pollution is below the horizon on the foreground layer. Here's a link to my blog entry that explains how I did the composite using this technique. http://goldimagesphoto.blogspot.com/201 ... -glow.html
I've not abandoned any lenses. I have most of the spectrum covered with a 24-70, 70-200 and a 400 fixed. I also use a 1.4x multiplier which can take my 200mm to 280mm and my 400mm to 560mm. I also have a 21mm and a 14mm for night photography.
Thank you and that was exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping to get.
I don't think that is crazy at all. Honestly, I rarely end up leaving my main lenses behind. I have enough cases on the harness to carry three lenses. That allows me to carry my 11-16 (2.8f), 28-75 (2.8f) and my 70-200 (2.8f) along with an 18-270 (3.5 - 6.3). I have other lenses but, the first three are my main lenses and I carry the camera with the 18-270 for the flexibility of shooting whatever I see without swapping.
I do have a massive Ape Case backpack hat I would carry for shorter distances but, with tougher climbs (rocky ground, slick ground, darkness and/or unfamiliar places). I am willing to leave a few things in the car. I like to climb pretty aggressively and I don't like the way that a heavy backpack changes my center of gravity under the conditions mentioned. The harness system spreads the weight across my torso and keeps the load closer to my center of gravity (and also doesn't try to slide around on me when I go off axis - start to fall).
That said, for the normal hike to a spot, totally agree that "less is more" is the wrong way to go as, I find, the odds of you needing something are always correlated to its distance from you.
I have CPs for each lens (two are 77mms and have to share) and I use the Moose Petersen Warming Polarizers. I find that they allow me to take shots in colder light than I had previously been able to do. I always carry my variable ND for the same reasons you mentioned.
I have the Nik software and have not used the composite but, I will have to. I can never get my HDR software to get a sufficiently "naturalistic" feel for my tastes. I shall shoot some raw material and work on it at home after this trip.
Thank you very much for the insights on both sunset/sunrise and night shots. Very valuable. Great idea on the composite. That is a much better solution for that issue.
Great to get your thoughts and thank you, again, for the responses.
You are shooting a photo of a valley from one of the sides. You can only shoot from this particular location due to foliage coverage across the valley.
The valley is a semi-circle so, I can shoot pre-sunrise, sunrise with sun in shot, sunrise with sun to the left at about 90 degrees and sunset with the sun at about 90 degrees. Both sunrise and sunset will illuminate good portions of the valley. Sunset a bit more so than sunrise.
Which shoot would you choose: 1) pre-rise and sunrise or 2) sunset?
Dean, I don't think that way. I identify places I want to photograph and let the conditions dictate when and how. If I see fog in the valleys or what looks like it could be a colorful sky, I go to the place where I think I can make a really nice photo. Because I will have scouted my photo locations, I will know which ones will work with those circumstances. The same goes for late afternoon and early morning light. I go to the location where I can shoot the light.Which shoot would you choose: 1) pre-rise and sunrise or 2) sunset?
Unfortunately, I will not be able to scout the locations as I usually would. I am scouting this one via the Photographer's Ephemeris. This is due to my short schedule in Vermont, this year.
There is a body of water in the valley so, I am hoping for morning fog and plan to shoot it then for that reason. My only concern is that I will be shooting into the sunrise so, I will be shooting for raw material.
In the end, this may end up being a scouting shoot and I will plan for next year.
Thank you for the insights,