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09-19-2011, 06:46 AM   #1
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looking for some good advice

Ive had my k7 for about a year. Its my number one hobby, although i work 6 days a week. Im getting ready to go to Yosemite in a couple days, and im looking for some good tips or setting tricks to get some amazing shots. I have the kit lens and a zoom lens, which i assume i wont be using as often as the kit lens. Without a wide angle lens im unsure of how to capture the magic that Yosemite carries. I like to shoot and edit to blak and white, but im looking for a good tip on crispness in my photos. All advice is appreciated! An untrained photographer can use all the advice she can get!

09-19-2011, 07:04 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Hello tatum.brennan,

I'm sure you will get more detailed and helpful answers than mine, but I thought I could begin by telling you that the kit lens IS wide angle at the wide end - and at 18mm you can get a decent section of landscape. The easy way to capture a whole view without upgrading your equipment would then be to take a series of overlapping shots and stitching them together with a panorama software tool when you get back. I use the pandora plug/in for GIMP, but there are lots of alternatives out there if you ask google.

I haven't been to Yosemite, but judging from other people's photos the wildlife there seems to be quite used to human activity, and I imagine that would give you plenty of opportunity to use your other lens too (assuming that is a tele zoom, you didn't really say).

One final bit of down-to-earth advice, if you switch between the kit zoom and the tele zoom on your trip: Never change lenses inside a car, there is lots of static electricity, which will make your poor camera house a dust magnet during the switch. My k7 is dust-free, but my k10d was turned into a dust nightmare after a trip to Argentina where I changed lenses in a car.

That was very, very basic bits of advice, but I hope you can use them - and that others might add some more!

Have a great trip, and have fun shooting!
Mette
09-19-2011, 07:30 AM   #3
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imo, the magic sauce of all good photography is composition. read up a bit on composition online, a little bit of better framing goes a long way
09-19-2011, 07:51 AM   #4
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Thank you, i will remember all these things for my trip. Im hoping to get at least one amazing water photo, and one night time photo. Advice on slow exposure/shutter speed is also greatly appreciated.

09-19-2011, 07:56 AM - 1 Like   #5
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You may fond that many of the scenes don't require all that wide a field of view. Many people fall into a mistake of trying to make the image as wide as possible, which can be a mistake, as it renders things too small if they are distant.

If you take that approach, you will end up with lots of boring tourist photos.

For your landscapes, think about foreground as well as background, this can add scale and can also use the background to emphesize the foreground subject.

Composition as someone else mentioned will be the key.

ALso consider the tele to bring distant objects forward and to shoot wildlife, i'm sure there'll be some
09-19-2011, 08:05 AM   #6
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Lowell is right, create depth by adding foreground objects.
Position yourself low, near the ground, to add front subjects.

For the waterfalls, try slow shutterspeeds, slower than 1/10 (you'll need a tripod for that).

Make sure the oversee a lanscape at dawn and dusk, the long and red light can be magic.

Do not forget to shoot details... A red leaf floating in still water can be as good as any landscape.

Look at the sky, clouds and sunlight trough clouds can make / break a landscape picture.

Morning mist in a valley with a little sun...

Try to know the area and sceneries before nightfall and pick your choice.

Mind the bears....

Bert
09-19-2011, 08:12 AM   #7
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I think you're fine for lenses. I would suggest a 52mm circular polarizer (CPL) for your 18-55mm. It boosts contrast for a sharper look and cuts light by 1-2 stops for long exposures. A tripod is helpful if you want to do long exposures, but not a necessity for most daylight shooting. 1/15s at 18mm should give you the milky waterfall look and is easily handholdable.

Here's a couple of test shots using my 18-135mm at 18mm. Without CPL:



With CPL:


https://picasaweb.google.com/100586096103361553535/Comparo?authkey=Gv1sRgCLOD9LjmoOKTlAE#
09-19-2011, 11:41 AM   #8
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To capture wide scenes you can stitch photos together into panoramas. Photoshop, both CS and Elements have that function built in. So does some other software. You'll get the best panos using a tripod. But most landscape photography benefits from tripod use.

09-19-2011, 12:43 PM   #9
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Going to Yosemite: Get a screensaver disc and/or sets of slides and/or coffee-table books with all the iconic Yosemite images. This frees you to look for something different to aim your camera at. Hint: Go to all the recommended Kodak Moment spots, and turn around. Shoot in other directions.

Lenses: I take my usual:

* Tamron 10-24 (for tight spots on the wide end and 'scapes on the long end)
* DA10-17 (for tight rounded scenes and to mercilessly exploit angles)
* DA18-250 (for most everything else in daytime; add a Raynox for closeups)
* Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA ('cause it's just the best fast 'scape lens)
* Some Fast Fifty ('cause it's just always useful for dimness and action)

I live about 75mi / 120km north of Yosemite, as the crow flies. If the crow has to walk and push a flat tire, it's about 3 times that far on twisty abrupt mountain and foothill roads. I should get there more often. Hay, it's right on the way to Mono Lake!

Last edited by RioRico; 09-19-2011 at 04:06 PM.
09-19-2011, 01:47 PM   #10
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Take all your shots in colour, use RAW or RAW+, take plenty of memory cards and a tripod & remote release if you have them. Excellent advice to look at photos of it before you go, though if there are autumn colours I don't think you want to process to B&W.
09-19-2011, 03:09 PM   #11
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On the off chance that its foggy, what settings would you recommend?
09-19-2011, 04:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by tatum.brennan. Quote
On the off chance that its foggy, what settings would you recommend?
Yosemite will not be foggy in a couple days. I would LOVE to see some fog here! Extended weather forecast is clear and hot. With any luck, you'll see heat-clouds over the high country. The worst you'll see in Y.Valley is smoke from thousands of misguided campers convinced that campfires are a necessity.
09-19-2011, 04:54 PM   #13
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thanks again rio rico. i was in so lake last week, the clouds were perfect.
09-19-2011, 06:37 PM   #14
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The hardest part about getting amazing photos is getting up early enough to catch the best light.
I'm quite certain my fine art career would have been more successful if I had been more disciplined about getting up before dawn.
Pretty much every landscape photo I've shot that has been a success in terms of either winning me some award or selling as art has been taken within a couple of hours at most before sunrise or within a couple of hours of sunset.
09-19-2011, 06:39 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tatum.brennan. Quote
Im hoping to get at least one amazing water photo, and one night time photo. Advice on slow exposure/shutter speed is also greatly appreciated.
I'm afraid September is not the time for amazing water shots at Yosemite (says me, who's been there exactly once, in September as it happens). But, as RioRico says, this frees you up to look at the place with fresh eyes. +1000000 on the suggestion to take a tripod, and to shoot RAW (or RAW + JPEG). This will make for much better bracketed exposures, long exposures, and stitched panoramas. For stitched panoramas remember to shoot in full manual mode so that each shot has the same settings.

Plan where you'll be in the magic hours around sunrise/sunset each day. The magic of Yosemite is not just sweeping panoramas; look for intimate subjects too -- or shots combining both, to give some sense of the awesome scale of the place. Check the weather forecast and also the lunar calendar to plan out your night shooting. Yosemite Valley is a surprisingly (to me it was) urban place, so for night shots you'll have to search to find a spot relatively free of artificial light (unless that's what you want). For shooting in mid-day, pack a polarizing filter and maybe even some ND filters for what moving water there is -- or perhaps to magically vanish cars and/or people.

You mention "crispness" -- to me this is distinct from sharpness (and I guess it is to you too, or you wouldn't have put it that way). If the shot involves rocks, as so many Yosemite shots do, look for the light striking the rock face nearly side-on, to give the shot texture, light and shadow, and micro-contrast.

Above all, enjoy the experience of simply being there; don't be a slave to the camera.
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