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04-08-2019, 01:12 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Landscape lens for Glacier National Park

Me and the wife are going to Glacier National Park in September. I'll have my K5iis to take photos.So do I just use my old DA 16-45 or would taking primes be better? Right now I have a DA21mm f3.2 limited, a 24mm f2.8 sigma super wideii. A F28mmf 2.8 and a F50mm f1.7. I'm thinking if I use the primes I might get the DA 15mm limited.

04-08-2019, 01:25 PM   #2
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Yes. The 15 Ltd. is it. Don't hesitate. It's great, eq. to a 24mm, and you will want that at Glacier.
04-08-2019, 01:40 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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The primes versus zooms choice depends on how you travel & photograph.

If you have the luxury of time, then use the prime. They work best if you have the ability to stop the hike or car at any time, swap lenses, etc.

If the schedule has no room, then use a zoom: if you are on a tour or hiking with people who want to keep up the pace, zooming and shooting without stopping is the only choice.

(Personally, I'd bring both primes and the zoom unless you know you will always or never have time for swapping lenses.)

Enjoy Glacier!

P.S. Think about adding a long-lens to the bag for shots of mountain goats, bears, moose, wolves, and other assorted distant bits of fur and feathers.

Last edited by photoptimist; 04-08-2019 at 02:57 PM. Reason: typos
04-08-2019, 02:09 PM   #4
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From my experience, the DA 15mm Ltd has a whole different rendering that you may appreciate over your zoom, although the zoom is undoubtedly more flexible and necessary when you have little time.

I'd also consider the 50 1.7 if you think you'll be doing much low light photography. The 15mm, 16-45mm would be my main choices. Maybe a longer lens as well, if you are ever interested. The 55-300 PLM is really amazingly good for the price.

04-08-2019, 02:48 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Subscribed, I'm going to Glacier park on late august. Planning to take my 15mm, 20-40mm and thinking about buying the 100mm macro, for its WR.
04-08-2019, 02:51 PM   #6
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If I were in your shoes, I would take your two primes (28mm f2.8 and a F50mm f1.7) and use them for stitched panos. No distortion, and huge files for making LARGE prints.
04-08-2019, 05:07 PM   #7
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12-24mm F4 with 3 and 6 stop ND filters to smooth the water and clouds when needed.
04-08-2019, 05:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
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If I were in your shoes, I would take your two primes (28mm f2.8 and a F50mm f1.7) and use them for stitched panos. No distortion, and huge files for making LARGE prints.
Well said, panos made with 3 or 5 shots with a wide angle are the way to go for that kind of landscape in portrait mode. If you have manual lens (with a focusing ring) set it at the hyper focus setting - infinity symbol opposite f stop. So, 2 primes and your 16-45mm will be fine.

04-08-2019, 06:02 PM   #9
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Like you, I still have the K-5 IIs as my main body too.

QuoteOriginally posted by yucatanPentax Quote
Maybe a longer lens as well, if you are ever interested. The 55-300 PLM is really amazingly good for the price.
I agree. Go all the way to the F/FA/DA * 300 if you can afford the expense and size (it can still be hand-held); otherwise the PLM is good.

As for wide angle, you have good options already - especially the DA21. I wouldn’t be surprised if you used the DA21 the most. Nevertheless, I had the excellent DA15 and eventually consolidated by keeping only the DA10-17 FishEye, which is much like the 15mm at the 17mm end (where the FE distortion is minimized). Obviously it goes really wide when desired, and it renders colors similarly nicely as the DA15.


Keep in mind that - even at 10mm - as long as you’re willing to “break the rules” of traditional composition and place the horizon in the middle of the frame (which you may or may not crop later) you can get rather normal looking landscape shots, because the horizon will be straight while rocks and other objects in e.g. the foreground won’t look wrong because in nature they normally have odd shapes anyway.
04-08-2019, 07:31 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Some ramblings about my experiences on our AK trip, which included Glacier Bay.

Our family went via Princess Cruise package in 2016. The ship we took made for a very stable platform the day we visited. If the temperature is nice, get up the the bow an hour or so ahead of time to take pictures of the bay as you enter and go to the ice face. Note that the ship is allowed to only approach to a certain distance from the glacier face. The distance varies with the size of the ship. The ship then used the bow/stern thrusters to turn the ship counter clockwise about 2 mph so all areas of the ship could see the ice face. I was in the bow (go early to get to the front--it fills up) and used a tripod to take panoramics. Even with the legs closer together, it was a better platform than handheld. Everything stitched together well, in spite of the movement of the ship. Don't make the mistake of going inside to your room when the ship begins to leave. Go to the stern. I was the only one there as we left. It's a different show, going to and leaving from, even though the scenery is the same! Don't miss half the show. I continued to take panoramics on the tripod until I got tired of it. Since there was no cross wind, the trip out was protected from wind.

I took a MePhoto tripod, 16" folded, max height 62", 3.6lbs, load rating 17lb. I could not afford carbon fiber. On that I used K-1 and DFA 28-105 for Glacier Bay. A prime will give you maximum sharpness, but you do not know how far you will be from the ice face. I recommend a zoom for that reason.

There will be a breeze if you need to swap lenses. I took a small garbage bag (get one with ties so you can attach it to your wrist, they don't want garbage in the bay--bags kill whales) so I could change lenses in the bag. Practice at home in a breeze. You could also zip shut a jacket, put your hands through the sleeves to the inside for changing, assuming the jacket does not shed on the inside. If I had to do it over again, I would wear a light photographer's vest with pockets for lenses, or a couple of fanny packs to carry them.

I overloaded a backpack. I got real weary by the end of two weeks, as I did not want to leave gear in the cabin when I was gone. My gear included a spare body, at least 4 or 5 primes, which included a macro lens and a 300mm. I did not use most of it. Put all the gear you want to take together. Carry it (including tripod) with you everywhere you want to go for three days straight prior to the trip. You will quickly find out what is too much.

We were blessed with excellent weather. Only 2 days with some minor precipitation. I'm told that is unusual. Do yourself a favor and purchase a couple of plastic camera & lens capes so you can take photos in a drizzle, light rain, or mist. Carry a few extra microfiber cloths to clean the front of your protective filter when it mists up. I'm glad I did. Also get a spare inexpensive 3rd party lens cap for each lens size. A baggie & rubber band works in a pinch. It took a bit more time, but I put my cameras and all my lenses in heavy duty ziplock bags for a bit more protection, and put a few extra in my suitcase. Bring or buy plenty of Deet based mosquito repellent, and wear a shirt or light jacket they cannot bite through. Note: Deet is incompatible with some fabrics. Mosquitoes can ruin an outing, and sometimes the AK ones are real bad.

If I had to do it again, my essentials would be two bodies (I had K-5IIs & K-1), DFA 28-105, macro lens, 15mm LTD, 12-24 sigma, a 300mm prime or lens that zooms zooms to 300mm, HD 1.4x converter, two chargers & spare batteries, 256GB SD cards (at least 128GBs for K-5IIs) so you don't run out during a day of shooting, light duty laptop for transferring and backing up files from cards, and one or two small 3T drives. Don't worry about deleting files until you get home. I wasted too much time doing that on the trip.

And now for the bay itself. All images are K-1 & DFA 28-105 unless otherwise noted. This is an 8 image panorama. 28mm, F8, 1/750th sec, ISO 100



Glacier Bay Panoramic

This is 26 images combined. 105mm, F8, 1/350, ISO 100.


Glacier Bay National Park

This is an actual pixel crop from above.


Glacier Face Detail

Here is the view leaving the bay. 58mm, F13, 1/180th sec, ISO 100.

If you take the crop factor of the K-5IIs into account, a zoom of 18-70mm should give you the same angle of view I had at Glacier Bay with the K-1 & DFA 28-105.


One final thought. Insure your gear before you leave. I did it a day or two before I left. I'm glad I did.

When on the whale watching tour I had my K-1 & 300mm on tripod knocked over when a wave hit. Both unusable. Both covered by insurance.

I was glad that day I had the heavy backpack along. I would have gotten better pictures with the 300mm, but at least I got better than the iPhones I saw!

This is an actual pixel crop, taken with the spare K-5IIs and the DFA 28-105 at 105mm. Hence photoptimist's encouragement for a longer lens if possible. No matter what you take, you are going to get great pictures, and have a wonderful time. I hope to go back sometime.



_RGK8290_Humpback_Breach _1_wm_q70
04-08-2019, 08:41 PM   #11
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A thought about macro photography in AK. The breeze rarely seemed to stop. My natural light macros with the K-1 meant I spent a fair bit of time waiting for that breeze to stop. After the broken K-1, I did use the onboard flash of the K-5iis with varying degrees of success. A flash with diffuser would have saved me time, and garnered more images.
04-08-2019, 09:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by robert Quote
Me and the wife are going to Glacier National Park in September. I'll have my K5iis to take photos.So do I just use my old DA 16-45 or would taking primes be better? Right now I have a DA21mm f3.2 limited, a 24mm f2.8 sigma super wideii. A F28mmf 2.8 and a F50mm f1.7. I'm thinking if I use the primes I might get the DA 15mm limited.
Your did say "Glacier NP" didn't you - the one in Montana??

Over thirty years have passed since my wife and I made the trip to Glacier, but I'm guessing the fundamentals haven't changed much. One thing you should keep in mind is that your ability to move around will be limited - often roads / trails are fairly narrow, and you really should follow the signs and 'stay off the tundra' .... so your ability to "zoom with your feet", if that ever were a thing, will be very limited no matter how much time you have.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by reh321; 04-08-2019 at 09:08 PM.
04-08-2019, 10:39 PM   #13
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16-45 is pretty wide already and while the image quality might be better on the DA 15 unless you shoot into the sun you may not really notice it if you stop down to f/8. The 50 f/1.7 seems like a must take in case you have any low light shooting you want that a mild telephoto would work for. Beyond that I'm honestly not sure. Perhaps something longer? Maybe grab a used DA 55-300 HD WR or plain old DA? It's light and long.
04-09-2019, 12:01 AM   #14
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It sounds like this is not a 'photo vacation', so I can definitely also recommend bringing/using a zoom lens for faster handling.

My highest priority would be to add a long lens to the 16-45mm, the 15mm would not be much wider nor brighter - you'd mainly gain a lot of flare resistance, and I'd for sure take that miniature 21mm with me for the same characteristic. The F50/1.7, also fairly small, is worth bringing along for low light & portraits, I personally wouldn't care much about the F28/2.8 nor the 24mm Sigma on a K-5.

Choice of a long lens highly depends on photographic interests (macro?), how much you are comfortable carrying, and on budget. A word of caution on the 55-300mm PLM lens: It's a great lens, but not fully compatible with the K-5 generation. It cannot be stopped down. The earlier HD WR version is however still a very good lens, especially given the affordability. Otherwise there's a lot out there, from compact manual focus lenses like a $30 M135/3.5 all the way to the $2000 DFA 150-450mm if you're after wildlife.
04-09-2019, 04:49 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by robert Quote
Me and the wife are going to Glacier National Park in September. I'll have my K5iis to take photos.So do I just use my old DA 16-45 or would taking primes be better? Right now I have a DA21mm f3.2 limited, a 24mm f2.8 sigma super wideii. A F28mmf 2.8 and a F50mm f1.7. I'm thinking if I use the primes I might get the DA 15mm limited.
In general for photographing in the Rocky Mountains (I've lived in them in Idaho and Colorado) at times it is useful to have a longer reach than is typical for other types of landscape photography, and I would suggest taking a zoom or some primes with up to 200 or 300 mm focal lengths. I have photographed in Glacier NP and found this to be true there also, at least for me and the type of landscape shooting I do.
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