Yosemite trip

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by Rtcjr, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Rtcjr

    Rtcjr Member

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    Hi All,

    I am going to Yosemite for vacation in a few weeks and wanted to ask advise on general setup as I don't have a lot of experience shooting landscape. My basic gear is a Nikon F4(35mm) with 24mm and 50mm primes. I know MF is ideal but all I have now is 35mm.

    I am thinking of getting a monopod for the trip to help stabalize - any suggestions here?

    Are there any recommendations on filters such as a polarizer? Should i use one? How about film? I have been using Ekatar 100 lately and plan on using it. Thoughts on other film? I would like to bring some b&w as well, any thoughts on type? Setup for b&w?

    Other tips for Yosemite?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Hi Rtcjr,

    Welcome to APUG. With the trip coming up so quickly I'd just go with what you already have. Maybe add a tripod - so you can catch slow shutter speeds and water (while keeping trees and rocks sharp). A couple filters for b&w may be useful, if only one; yellow or orange (Helps clouds show better against sky), then if you get another; green or red (options for occasional dramatic foliage or dramatic skies - don't overdo it).

    If you want you could treat Yosemite as a New York "street scene" and shoot people (no filters needed). You'll find tourists from everywhere on Earth, backpackers (thru-hikers on the John Muir Trail - ask them what their "trail name" is) and other photographers hard at work.
     
  3. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Visit the Ansel Adams Gallery in the Valley, and sign up for "Fine Print Viewing". If that doesn't get your landscape photo juices going, then I don't know what will.
     
  4. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I try to imagine when Ansel Adams was probably the only person on the property in his day. Sounds like Yosemite is like Mount Everest. I hear that mountain now is as crowded as Grand Central Station.
     
  5. whowantstoast

    whowantstoast Member

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    Definitely a tripod. The valley gets dark fast in the evenings but maintains a great glow, so you can do some of your best work with slow shutter speeds. Night photos are a great source of material too - bus stops, camp fires and public spaces. There are also a lot of places in deep shadow during the day. I would recommend a gradient filter if you feel like messing with such a thing - the exposure difference between sky and valley is drastic. The waterfalls are usually pretty low in August, but take a camera cover just-in-case. The Ansel Adams Gallery sells these, as well as filters and film. Their prices on film are actually really good. August is VERY busy in Yosemite, like NYC levels of people. Study a trail book before you go and spend time above the valley floor. Finally, mosquito repellent and gear for very hot weather. Have fun!
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Tripod and lens hoods. Two things that will greatly improve the negative quality from your 35mm.

    For B&W -- a yellow filter, perhaps a red. They'll see more use than the polarizer, which is still nice to have. Using the filters, slow film (for finer grain), getting some DoF (depth of field) and taking photos in low light all call for a tripod.

    And you might consider a longer lens or two -- those Falls and peaks are a long way away!

    Have fun!

    PS -- Yosemite Valley will be a crowded zoo, but you can still escape the crowds by getting up early. I do most of my visits in the winter, but you will have access to more of the Park. Up around Tenaya Lake, parking in a pull-out and wandering about can be nice (and private). The least crowded days in the summer are Tuesdays and Wednesdays (according to the shuttle bus driver I talked to -- he should know!)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2013
  7. gleaf

    gleaf Subscriber

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    Download ($4.95 or so) TPE (The Photographers Ephemeris) which will give you sun and moon rise and set angles and times for any date.
    That and a decent topo for terrain and your set to improve your use of light and shadow throughout the day.
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Ektar is a great all-purpose color negative film. You won't go wrong with it. For a faster color negative film, I'd look at Portra 400 or Fuji 400H. Each has their merits - Portra is less contrasty than the Fuji, and is more tolerant of odd lighting, but the Fuji has a somewhat more Ektar-like saturation and higher contrast, with really strong greens and blues. For a black-and-white film, you can't go too far wrong with Ilford FP4+ for a slow film, or Delta 400 for a fast film.
     
  9. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Definitely take a tripod, cable release, lens hood, and a polarizing filter. Keep your car clean of food/toiletries and drinks when ever you leave it parked up and use the bear boxes. Shooting early morning and late evening, you should miss the worst of the drive-by tourists, and if you can get off the main routes, plenty to shoot.
     
  10. mesantacruz

    mesantacruz Subscriber

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    +1 Tripod...
     
  11. Rtcjr

    Rtcjr Member

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    Thank you

    Thanks so much for all of the tips and advise. Can't wait....
     
  12. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Oh, and don't forget to take plenty of sun-cream, drink lots of water - Keep clear of pink or yellow snow :errm: if there is any left up there..
     
  13. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I just spent a week maybe 40 miles from there...

    Be prepared for weather in the mid-80's. If you see clouds/thunderstorms, take them when you can. The days are highly variable and you might have clear skies for 4 out of 5 days. Don't let the special days slip by.
     
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  15. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    My suggestion is to keep things light and use a backpack for your cameras if you can. Carry snacks and water.
     
  16. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Just don't be disappointed if you discover that Yosemite Valley can be smoggy, hot, and crowded in summer - not at all that postcardy stereotype people imagine. Forest fire haze can obscure the rim at times. Now the good news - just head uphill if conditions are not favorable
    down in the Valley itself. Summer is high country time, and by the time you arrive, the mosquitoes will have died off in Tuolumne Mdws etc.
    Make sure you always have a raincoat, sweater, and canteen in your daypack before venturing far from the road, however. The weather can
    change rather quickly with altitude - but that's what often makes great pictures! Ektar is an excellent film choice for color, but I'd personally
    want to supplement it with a light pinkish skylight filter for UV at high altitude, and an 81A for coolish overcast conditions, or an 81C for deep
    blue shade, esp in the early morning. The sky can be a much deeper blue at high altitude than at lower elevations, and this will affect film
    performance.
     
  17. JimO

    JimO Subscriber

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    only during rush hour:laugh:

    (if a walk/distance is required, that's the path to take... most people don't, and i've found it worthwhile - bring water.)
     
  18. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Ha! Yosemite Valley was a developed tourist destination long before Ansel Adams was even born. And there were famous photographers working there well before his time too. I grew up not too far from the south boundary of the park. We referred to it as the "city". My baby sitter as an infant claimed to be the first white woman to ever visit Yosemite. ... the timing is realistic, since she was 95 when I was born. Somewhere we've got some early photos where the Ahwahneechee Indians running around naked in front of bark huts. The Valley was inhabited all along. Perhaps the last surviving member of that specific dialect was 122 when I was 12; and I had to communicate through a Paiute translator, or more specifically, Western Mono. .. a man who himself crossed the Sierra barefoot as a teenager to trade obsidian, and recalled this particular individual as an aged man when he was a child! But as a bratty kid, I wasn't allowed to enter Best Studio, because they had all those little ceramic chipmunks etc set up right on the edges of shelving, so kids like me would knock them off, and our parents
    would be forced to pay for them. At that time AA sold prints there for four dollars apiece, though these were probably mass produced by his
    assistants. But there's way way more the Park than just the Valley. You can walk a week in some of the quieter areas without seeing anyone
    else.
     
  19. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    Fascinating story, Drew. I could share my story of growing up in The Bronx. :smile: But I didn't know any Indians and I suppose it was quite boring compared to your youth. In any case, I'd love for you to post some of those early pictures. They must be great.
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Most of my classmates entering grammer school spoke no English except a few choice expletives, and they started school late every Fall
    because they had to help their grandmothers harvest acorns (the major staple of Calif Indians) and materials for basket making. A number of
    really old ones were still alive, including one who still had a feud going with an old white neighbor of ours, because they had been shooting at
    each other in their youth! (The local Indian population was never exterminated or "pacified" like the tribes in the Gold Rush country slightly to
    the north, but was slowly assimilated thru intermarriage, trade, ranch employment, etc). Everything has changed. Most are now dead. Some
    have become casino multimillionaires (including the gal that was my square dance partner as a little kid), and a few have gotten their phD's
    and have returned to record the tiny bit of authentic traditional still left. One of my cross-country running friends has founded a language
    school for young Indian kinds to keep the local dialect alive. At this point in time, what Indian kids know about Indians is mostly from John
    Wayne movies. ... just stereotypes. So I feel grateful that I got to know some of the very last of the Indians who had grown up aboriginal,
    prior to any white contact. Somewhat later a book was published called Almost Ancestors, with early photographs of California Indians. I was
    surprised to see a couple of my mother's best friends in there (photographed as children, of course).
     
  21. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Member

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    Thanks Wiley, for sharing.
    That was cool.
     
  22. selmslie

    selmslie Subscriber

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    Slow film like Portra 160 or Ektar 100 will be good but the lighting ratios might overwhelm Velvia 50. Tripod for sure with the slow film since you will not need fast shutter speeds.
     
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket by making premature stereotypes about the lighting. Summer light in Yos Valley can often be bland
    due to haze or smoke. Right now there's so much forest fire smoke around that you might need some extra punch in the film. Higher up, hard to say from day to day. It's forest fire season. If in doubt, carry more than one kind of film and be flexible about subject matter and specific location.
     
  24. Rtcjr

    Rtcjr Member

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    Thanks Drew,

    "might need some extra punch"

    Any suggestions on film other than Ektar and Ilford FP4+?
     
  25. newtorf

    newtorf Member

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    I think right now if you don't shoot at sunset or sunrise, black & white films serves the purpose wonderfully. I've recently visited there and you can find some photos from my flickr:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/69747566@N04/
     
  26. Rtcjr

    Rtcjr Member

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    Thanks newtorf

    I am bringing plenty of Ilford bw. Did you use any filters? I will have a yellow but wondered if you have used a polarizer with a yellow.