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12-17-2009, 09:32 AM   #1
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Which Lenses To Take to Antelope Canyon?

I'm going to try going to Antelope Canyon next week (assuming the weather cooperates, which looks likely right now). I'm trying to decide which lenses make sense to take and would love some advice for anyone who's beeen there. There will be 2 of us and 3 cameras (K100, K20 and K-7) along with 1 tripod and a monopod. Here's my list of lenses - which would you take? I can see some advantages and disadvantages with a number of them.

DA 10-17 (a definite, yes?)
DA 12-24 (probably yes - mine doesn't always AF correctly to infinity)
DA 18-55 (maybe - it's the only thing I have from 24-50 unfortunately)
DA*50-135 (a definite?)
M 50mm 1.7 (maybe this would be better than the zoom since it's faster?)
DA 55-300 (too slow, leave at home?)
Viv 105 macro (would I need the closer focusing distance over the 50-135?)
DA*200 (love this lens, would like to take but is it too long for this canyon?)
DA*300 (it'll stay home - too long and too heavy)

I figure I won't want to change lenses often (though our plans are to go to Lower Antelope Canyon instead of the upper one so dust might not be as big a problem) so thought I'd take no more than 4 lenses and plan on not changing lenses much. I definitely want to take some wide angle shots, but also love detail shots (reason why I'm thinking about the DA*200).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

12-17-2009, 09:43 AM   #2
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I would take one of 10-17 or 12-24 your preference seems to be the fisheye, but you will want something wide and you can corerect for the fisheye distortion if you want a normal image any way.

the 18-55 and 50-135 also seem to be must takes.

I would also take the 300, because you never know when you want to do some wild life, and you can also take close ups of things like flowers etc, what you call detail shots.

everything else leave at home.
12-17-2009, 10:28 AM   #3
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I've done a bit of canyoneering- both technical and non-technical. I've not had the guts (or water-proofed carrying capacity) to take my dslr into the technical canyons (they've been wet canyons), but I have taken it into some dry non-technical canyons. The first time I went, I took my whole backpack, with the DA 14 and FA 50/1.4 in lens pouches on the belt.

I never took the DA 14 off my camera.

For the canyon itself, just take the wides and leave everything else home. Stand in a hallway, and imagine that's the canyon, and ask yourself what good a normal or long lens is going to be (If you can pre-vis shots that would require a longer lens, more power to you!).

Also, lighting in the canyons can be tricky. For a couple golden hours in the mid-day, you get beautiful reflected light. after this, the lighting is still pretty dramatic, but it's dark- a lot darker than you would realize. I would take your fastest lenses, and leave the slow stuff behind.
12-17-2009, 11:05 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice of the hallway - it gave me a better idea of what to expect. And your comment that the DA 14 never left your camera - I forgot to list one of my lenses (it's one of my favorite lenses, but doesn't get used all that much) that might be excellent for in-canyon detail shots.

DA 10-17 (I love the fish-eye, it's fun to be creative with it)
DA 12-24 (might be the one for my hubby to use, in spite of it's focus problems)
77 Limited (fast lens and might be good for the detail shots where I want something longer)
DA*50-135 (alternate for hubby if he gets frustrated with the 12-24)

The DA*200 and 300 can stay under the seat when we're actually in the canyon - I wouldn't be surprised if I wanted them at other times. The fisheye can focus pretty close and I don't think I'd need something that's both close focusing and long like the Viv. Probably wouldn't use the Viv at all that day.

I understand that Antelope Canyon is quite deep, and I could see wanting a longer than very wide angle to capture the gradients of reflected light higher up. I suspect this is going to be another time when I wish I had the DA*16-50.

Any more suggestions (besides remembering to take wired and wireless remotes - wired works better with K100 since it doesn't have a rear IR sensor)?

12-17-2009, 12:20 PM   #5
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No real suggestions, but...

If you are leaving the 200mm and 300mm under the seats... Where exactly are you parking?
12-17-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
If you are leaving the 200mm and 300mm under the seats... Where exactly are you parking?
You'll find the car beside the Police Station - don't think I'd want to leave it beside City Hall.

I know I'm taking a big chance leaving them hidden in the car, and I may chicken out and just take the DA 55-300 as the only long lens. I'd REALLY hate to loose the two DA* lenses - I find it very hard to leave them home when I have the camera.
12-17-2009, 05:17 PM   #7
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I think you've probably got a good list there. I've always wanted to take the 10-17 into a canyon. Can't wait to see the pics.
12-17-2009, 09:31 PM   #8
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Hi there Mtn Gal,

Was there in September and loved it!! big time.

If you haven't booked anywhere the Page Days Inn is pretty good (say hi to Becky for me)

We visited the the LOWER* Antelope (on the left with Page behind you) and took a "photo tour" it costs a little more (& it is only a little) and what happens is that you are asked to go with the next group leaving and then drop off that group once you are in the canyon and do your own thing. The escorted groups come through about every 20 minutes and it is easy to step aside and let them go as you can hear them coming from some distance.

We arrived about 9am and left around 11, the best light was towards the end. John (skinja) went back through it, whereas Anne I exited at ...the exit.

We also did the Secret Canyon Hummer Tour, whilst Antelope probably has the edge canyon wise, the ride in the Hummer is worth the money alone. At Secret Canyon I reccommend walking through to the end of it and shoot your way back (you have to exit via the entrance)...the best of the canyon is at the far end.

Lenses: I shot Secret Canyon with the DA 14, and was happy enough with the results, but a little dis-appointed in my composition.
In Upper (sorry...LOWER) Antelope I used the FA 43 ltd and was very very happy with the results.
Anne used the Pentax 17-70 and John used the DA* 16-50.

I think your 12-24 would be my first choice, and maybe the 50-135 for creativity with curves and texture. The 10-17 will be interesting. Be careful changeing lenses in the canyon if it is busy....the dust hangs in the air.

Tripod is a must. Remote or cable release a must, as is mirror up & 2 sec delay, and take your time, it is a magical place and made even more so by the lad that leads some groups through playing his guitar (softly)....creates a great atmosphere in a fantastic place.

Enjoy.
Cheers
Grant


Last edited by Mallee Boy; 12-18-2009 at 03:16 AM. Reason: *Mallee Girl has just given me a sharp reminder it was Lower!! Sorry. (ouch!! that hurt!)
12-17-2009, 10:22 PM   #9
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I was in upper Antelope Canyon several years ago, we able to walk in from flat land. It was easy. The lower canyon requires a descent down a ladder.

I used a 35mm film SLR (no digital then) with a 17mm (rectilinear, non fisheye, <180*) Canon lens, 24mm lens, and a pentax 18mm/4 fisheye adapted to Canon. I think that I would take the 10-17mm pentax zoom now. Used Kodachome.

Are you going to Monument Valley? It is very close by.

Enjoy! It is fun.
12-17-2009, 10:29 PM   #10
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Oops! tripod and cable release
12-18-2009, 01:21 AM   #11
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probably a good idea to get raincover to avoid dust problems. Just use the 12-24 and never change lens while you're in there.

NEW OPTECH RAINSLEEVE Rain Cover for Nikon D50 D70 D80 - eBay (item 260524975791 end time Jan-15-10 22:53:41 PST)
12-18-2009, 11:48 AM   #12
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Thanks for the additional information! We'll be staying in St. George and doing Antelope Canyon as a day-trip. It's pushing it to just do one of the canyons. I figure that the lower canyon would be better if I can only do one as I understand its less visited (I've read some horror tales about crowds in the upper canyon). It is too bad that we aren't going to stay in Page, there's so much to do in the area. Guess that will all have to wait for another trip.

The rainsleeve is an interesting idea, but I've always been pretty happy with the sealing on the K20 and K-7. Might be a good idea for the K100 though - I'll see if my local camera shop has one.

I've been toying with the idea of using UV filters, but I don't really have any good ones (the one I have for the 50-135 is so-so, but I either have old, lousy ones or none for the other lenses). I'll probably skip it as I suspect that the light could lead to filter flare/ghosting. Is this right or wrong?

I'm thinking of visiting Snow Canyon (a State Park that's not far from St. George) the day before we go to Page. There's a small slot canyon there that might be useful for practice. It's not much, but could give me some experience and help me figure out what might work (or might not).
12-18-2009, 12:32 PM   #13
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If you plan to photograph Horseshoe Bend just outside Paige, you'll need one of the ultrawides...a 17mm is definitely not enough.

For the inside of the canyons, a tripod *is* necessary because you'll want to bracket your shots and there are spots that are fairly dark. The shots are in the 1/5sec range.
Also do *not* change lenses once inside. Dust is everywhere and gets everywhere including your lungs :-P My Sigma 17-70 worked great even w/o being weathersealed. I'd suggest one wide angle and your DA*50-135.

Don't bring a Bogen tripod w/ those evil fliplocks....it clipped my skin enough to bleed profusely all over the tripod and camera when I was in a hurry to finish using it and get out of people's way...stupid Bogen never responded to my gripes about it :-P

Bring one of those swiffer cloths with you so you can wipe everything down afterwards...dust seriously gets everywhere.

A day isn't enough...we day tripped it out of Phoenix and wish we stayed in Page for a few days :-(
12-18-2009, 04:39 PM   #14
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If you've got the time, you might want to visit Zion Nat'l Park while your in St. George. It looks really cool right now with all the water dripping out of the rock freezing into icicles on the canyon wall. If you don't want to spend the entrance fee, there are some cool hikes off of the Kolob Canyon entrance, about 30 minutes north of st. george, and I don't think you have to pay an entrance fee (the road doesn't go the rest of the way into the park). No genuine slot canyons, but the hike up Middle Fork of Taylor's Creek takes you to a really cool alcove in between two of the 'fingers', and two weeks ago the stream was frozen over, making for some really fun hiking.
12-18-2009, 09:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
Don't bring a Bogen tripod w/ those evil fliplocks....it clipped my skin enough to bleed profusely all over the tripod and camera when I was in a hurry to finish using it and get out of people's way...stupid Bogen never responded to my gripes about it :-P

Bring one of those swiffer cloths with you so you can wipe everything down afterwards...dust seriously gets everywhere.
Good point about bringing a swiffer or other cloth to wipe down everything. A lens cloth isn't big enough to do such things (as I found out one damp day in Washington).

I know what you mean about the Bogen fliplocks - when I was looking at tripods I ended up with a blood blister from a fliplock on a Manfrotto. I ended up buying a Gitzo with their twist locks and have never regretted it.

Thanks clawhammer, for the information about the Middle Fork of Taylor's Creek. Sounds like a fun hike and I love the Kolob Canyon area. We visited there a couple of years ago and I thought it was beautiful (but snowy when we were there, the road barely open). We didn't hike there at all, just drove through, but I'd love to spend more time there. Or we might go into Zion - the entrance fee is no problem as we have one of the annual do-everything national parks/federal lands passes. We're only going to be in St. George for a couple of days this time and other than wanting to go to Antelope Canyon, our time is unstructured.

- Harriet
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