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!
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.
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.
Originally Posted by Rtcjr
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.
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!
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!
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!)
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.
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.
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.