Two recommended lens for Southwest?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by robert_thommes|1, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. I have some thoughts of my own, but would like your feedback in suggesting a couple (no more than 2) lenses that you would recommend for a trip to the red rock areas of the American southwest this next Spring.
    If important to know, I shoot with a Canon Rebel T2i.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. It is more important to know what types of photos you like to take.
     
  3. Landscapes are the obvious goal. Beyond that, I can't say, as I've never been there before.
    But probably shots similar to those iconic images of Arches N.P., Bryce N.P., and Grand Canyon.
     
  4. SCL

    SCL

    Basically go wide if you're looking to do expansive landscapes. And do use a tripod.
     
  5. Don't forget a POL filter and a normal lens plus a short tele. All will be handy/necessary.
     
  6. I would always pack a slightly wide lens (22-28mm on your T2i) as a standard lens
    You could then add a much wider wide angle for the classic widescape look. Although you could stitch images instead and just add a longer lens for isolation shots
    If you like really wide angle images, the Canon EF-S 10-22 is an extremely nice lens. If you are planning on staying with an APS-C camera, then it is worth the investment. (It is expensive)
    Do you have the 18-55 kit lens? Do you like it or are you unhappy with it?
    If you like it, that would be the first one I would bring. It gives you a moderate wide angle to short telephoto. While it isn't as sharp as more expensive lenses, if you aren't unhappy with it, I wouldn't replace it
    Also, even with image stabilization, the best way to get sharper images is to use a tripod
     
  7. I'd recommend an ultrawide (10-22mm on APS-C) plus a "normal" range (15-85mm) for just two. Last March I got much less use out of my longer lenses than I expected, but for a third lens, something in the 70 something to 200-300mm range. I did get some use out of a 600mm mirror lens, but not enough to justify carrying it if I hadn't been traveling by car.
     
  8. I appreciate the quick feedback. I was hoping that I could get by with what I already had. Those are: Tamron 17-50 2.8 (non-IS), 8mm f4 fisheye lens (mostly for some occasional special effect shots), and 70-200 f4 IS USM lens. By using a tripod as much as possible, I was thinking of stitching images taken with the WA zoom; making them into super wides. I'd like to not purchase any additional lenses unless I could see a long future of use with them. So I don't feel anything wider than my 17mm zoom would see much action after this trip. Then there's also the thought of renting a superwide lens. But having not shot with anything wider than my 17mm (and then not using that FL very much either, at least up til now), I'm not sure I would make the most of such a lens with no experience having used one.
     
  9. Based on what you have I wouldn't get another lens. Save the money so that you can print out a lot of great photos when you get back
     
  10. John,
    I must admit, I personally like your solution.
     
  11. SCL

    SCL

    Also leave the fisheye at home. Let the scenery provide the special effects.
     
  12. You've got all the lenses that you need. Try a few 3 to 5 shot hand held panoramas. Ditch the tripod except for low light, rely on image stabilization and appropriate shutter speeds.
     
  13. My first and still favorite trip to that area with a 20D was with a 18-55mm kit lens, and a 70-200f4. I still think that those lenses were all I could handle at that point, so I think you are well set. I made great use of polarizing filters on both lenses, and GND's on the 18-55. Enjoy - I think you'll do fine with what you've got in hadn.
     
  14. I agree with the advice to use your current lenses - they should be able to get you the shots you want. They have the advantage of familiarity - no learning curve to go thru before your trip.
    As for the tripod advice, you need to be realistic about your own hand-holding abilities. If you can routinely get hand-held shots that are sharp enough to meet YOUR expectations, then skipping the use of the tripod except for low light situations will work for you. But temper this with the question "how many more times do you think you'll be back to reshoot disappointing images from this trip?" If this is the trip of a lifetime for you, I recommend you be a little more cautious than usual about hand-holding versus tripod. Better to put up with the hassle of the tripod than spend your future years regretting soft images that you know you could have done better.
    Be sure to watch the NPS website for the Grand Canyon for the spring opening date for the north rim - it is closed in winter. I recommend that you stay in the park on the rim if you can - lodging outside the north rim is rather far away from the rim, and travel will use more of your time than you'll like. Zion and Bryce are terrific spots, but the water flow in spring will probably preclude hiking into Zion's Narrows. And there's no place else on earth like Bryce.
     
  15. it

    it

    one wide one long
     
  16. it

    it

    and a tripod
     
  17. Thanks to all. Your suggestions and advice is well noted. Much appreciated.
     
  18. Use your current lenses and use the money saved to buy a carbon fiber tripod. A trip out west usually requires hiking and carbon fiber would make it much easier to hike.
     
  19. I have a very stout Induro C414, 6-ply carbon fiber tripod, with an Arca-Swiss Z1 ballhead and a Wimberley Sidekick gimbal (for use with my 500mm/f4 super tele, when needed). This rig cost me over $1200! Still, there are times when a sturdy tripod is critical, such as night shots and early morning or dusk shots with a small aperture and very low shutter speeds. However, just because you're shooting a scenic or a panorama you will most likely NOT need your tripod, particularly if your lenses have image stabilization.
    I'd recommend leaving the tripod in the trunk of the car unless you know that you're going to need it. Even carbon fiber gets heavy and awkward on some long hikes, particularly when climbing. If you don't already have good hand holding technique, then work on it. Don't be afraid to push the ISO up a bit to get the SS where you need it. Most lenses are excellent in the f/8 to f/11 range and f/16 is really only need in special instances. If you're shooting Raw and have a competent Raw converter and you expose properly (to the right of the historgram) noise will not be a big issue.
    Ansel Adams was likely shooting at film speeds equivalent to ISO 25 and his camera weighed 15-pounds. It's a different world today and we should adjust accordingly.
     
  20. Due to our(wife and I)ages and physical conditions, I'm afraid hikes of any consequence will be out of the question. That said, I have heard that there will still be plenty of outstanding photo ops that can be had close to the road, or within a minimally short hike. At least I sure am hoping this is the case. Otherwise we will be sorely disappointed. Also, this will be a once in a lifetime event for us. Not likely to return in the future. So I have one chance to get it right....or atleast to get a lot of decent shots.
     
  21. No problem Robert, you'll have plenty of photo opportunities within a few feet of the road and even right out the car window.
    Anything more than 500 yds from the car just isn't photogenic.
    -Edward Weston
     
  22. I was speaking in theory, but I agree that you can get along just fine with what you have.
    The one place where you definitely should go for the hike, if at all possible, is Canyon de Chelly. If you do it easily in stages it will take the whole day, but it was worth it to me to duplicate Sullivan's and Adams' pictures of the White House ruin- at least. Other parts of the canyon are accessible if you hire a Navajo guide and vehicle.
    00aygJ-501529584.jpg
     
  23. JDM,
    Just how far off the road is this shot? This is a "must take" for me. If hiking is required, how strenuous, and how long in time, to get a shot like this? Is some sort of permission required to venture near there? Is that not within a reservation? Thanks
     
  24. Let's put it this way, on the tread mills at the gym, I am old enough to be off the chart for age and heart rate. But I do work out.
    Both going down, and especially back up were a long haul. I rested frequently and my calves were stiff for two days afterwards. The area is high altitude for a person (me) who now lives at 500 feet ASL. I think at that point the depth of the canyon is about 1000' (link). It took me 4 hours in and out, but that included a lot of shooting time.
    This is the only trail at Canyon de Chelly that is open without a guide. However, I did not check to see if the 4-wheel, Navajo guide tours get back to it or not.
     
  25. Here are some of the '4-wheelers' going back into the southside canyon. Zoom lens at 80mm
    00aymb-501613584.jpg
     
  26. Would the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde be easier to take than these?
     

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