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03-23-2019, 07:46 PM   #1
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Unusual wedding I'm shooting. Advice needed.

Next Saturday, friends of ours are getting married on the top of Mount Holdsworth. 1470m. Most of the wedding party, including the bride and groom will be hiking/climbing to the summit. (About an 7-8 hour round trip)

I've been tasked with doing some of the wedding photography. As such, I won't be walking up, but will join some others who are not keen on a bloody big workout and we'll be taken to Powell Hut by helicopter. This should give me the opportunity for some photography from the air.

Holdsworth roadend to Powell Hut/Mount Holdsworth: Wairarapa tracks and walks, Tararua Forest Park, Wellington

From Powell, I'll have to hike the remainder of the distance to the summit. It's about 200m in vertical height from the hut, but very steep and likely to take about an hour and a half. So, I'm not planning on carrying too much gear.

For gear, I'll be using the K-1II as my main camera, and the K-5 as backup.

AF Lenses I have to pick from: (I'm no thinking of taking MF lenses to the top, but happy to be given advice on that point. - That would expand on the lens availability quite a bit)
DA18-55mm AL-WR
SMC-F 50mm F1.7
SMC-F 35-70mm F3.5-4.5
SMC-F 35-135mm F3.5-4.5
SMC-F 70-210mm F4-5.6
Sigma DG70-300mm F4-5.6

Other stuff:
Cactus RF60 flash.

I'm not planning on taking tripods or other gear to the summit.

For photos from the helicopter, I figured the K-5 and the DG70-300mm may be a good choice. That camera and lens combination always seem to work well.

So far, the long-range forecast is showing good weather. 24degC at base level (but it could be 6-9degC up there) and little wind.
Advice greatly appreciated!

03-23-2019, 08:07 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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OK, I want to see some of these photos when you've shot the wedding!
03-23-2019, 08:09 PM - 3 Likes   #3
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I reckon you could keep the F35-135 on the K-1 for the whole gig.

Swap out the F50 and Sigma 70-300 on the K-5 depending on whether you're taking portraits or in the air. Keep the 18-55 in your bag in case the weather is pants on the summit.
03-23-2019, 08:15 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I really like the 35-135 range... But i found it to need to be stopped down when I used film. On the k1ii if expect in an outdoor setting you will have the light needed to make that lens work.

As for the rest? I would take the 18-55, the 50, the 70-300, and the cactus flash. I'd recruit someone to carry the k5 and the 18-55 and 50 up the final hike, and have them take backup shots during the ceremony. The 35-135 would be on the k1ii and the 50 could be swapped on if needed.

---------- Post added 03-23-19 at 11:16 PM ----------

Do you have a good hood for the 35-135? If not invest in one.

---------- Post added 03-23-19 at 11:19 PM ----------

The 35-135 is very noisy focusing if that matters. I'd still make it the primary lens unless you expect it to be heavily frowned on.

---------- Post added 03-23-19 at 11:20 PM ----------

My answer assumes that the 70-300 is left at the place where the helicopter lands. But it could also summit if you have the space weight etc.


Last edited by UncleVanya; 03-23-2019 at 08:23 PM.
03-23-2019, 08:24 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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Oh yeah. If I wasn't on call next weekend I'd offer to fly over and act as second shooter. It should be an awesome time
03-23-2019, 10:30 PM - 1 Like   #6
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My suggestion is don't forget anything and take as much backup equipment as posable. By taking backups your guaranteed not to need it. 😉
Good luck and looking toward to seeing samples
03-23-2019, 10:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
we'll be taken to Powell Hut by helicopter.
I read this alert on the link you provided :
12 September 2018: Powell Hut in 180 kph winds

Powell Hut may be structurally compromised during winds over 180 kph. Strengthening work has taken place to secure the hut under other conditions.
This alert is valid until the hut is demolished and the new hut built.

I assume fall weather is better than spring weather, but seriously? At least the helicopter won't be flying if it is too windy, so you have an out, but what happens if a storm comes up while the bridal party is making their way to the summit?
03-23-2019, 11:24 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
I assume fall weather is better than spring weather, but seriously? At least the helicopter won't be flying if it is too windy, so you have an out, but what happens if a storm comes up while the bridal party is making their way to the summit?
We're talking about Kiwis here. They're a tough breed.

03-24-2019, 12:33 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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It will be cold up there, colder than the forecast says it will be.
So keep a couple of spare batteries in your pocket to keep them warm and be prepaired to swap them out more than normal.
I have a small hand warmer that I drop in the bag with the batteries when its below zero.

Last edited by DeKay; 03-24-2019 at 12:34 AM. Reason: Typos
03-24-2019, 01:34 AM - 3 Likes   #10
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See this thread for ideas around helicopter based photography:


K3 Settings for Kuaui Helicopter Photography - PentaxForums.com
03-24-2019, 02:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photobill Quote
My suggestion is don't forget anything and take as much backup equipment as posable. By taking backups your guaranteed not to need it. 😉
Good luck and looking toward to seeing samples
Not an option for the bloody big climb. I'll have to stick with two bodies and 2-3 lenses for that part.
03-24-2019, 02:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
I read this alert on the link you provided :
12 September 2018: Powell Hut in 180 kph winds

Powell Hut may be structurally compromised during winds over 180 kph. Strengthening work has taken place to secure the hut under other conditions.
This alert is valid until the hut is demolished and the new hut built.

I assume fall weather is better than spring weather, but seriously? At least the helicopter won't be flying if it is too windy, so you have an out, but what happens if a storm comes up while the bridal party is making their way to the summit?
Yes, hut is being rebuilt at the moment. We would have at least 12 hours notice of a storm, so if the weather changes that much, we won't be heading up to the summit. Not by helicopter and not on foot.
If the weather turns, the wedding party won't come up out of the treeline and we'll have to walk to an alternative location, called Rocky Lookout. That's at 600m elevation.
In that case, we won't fly - we'll all walk to Rocky Lookout.
03-24-2019, 02:53 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arjay Bee Quote
See this thread for ideas around helicopter based photography:


K3 Settings for Kuaui Helicopter Photography - PentaxForums.com
Thank you!
03-24-2019, 02:55 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I really like the 35-135 range... But i found it to need to be stopped down when I used film. On the k1ii if expect in an outdoor setting you will have the light needed to make that lens work.

As for the rest? I would take the 18-55, the 50, the 70-300, and the cactus flash. I'd recruit someone to carry the k5 and the 18-55 and 50 up the final hike, and have them take backup shots during the ceremony. The 35-135 would be on the k1ii and the 50 could be swapped on if needed.

---------- Post added 03-23-19 at 11:16 PM ----------

Do you have a good hood for the 35-135? If not invest in one.

---------- Post added 03-23-19 at 11:19 PM ----------

The 35-135 is very noisy focusing if that matters. I'd still make it the primary lens unless you expect it to be heavily frowned on.

---------- Post added 03-23-19 at 11:20 PM ----------

My answer assumes that the 70-300 is left at the place where the helicopter lands. But it could also summit if you have the space weight etc.
Great advice, thanks. I just wish the 35-135 was as sharp as the 35-70, which some have described as "a bundle of primes". My 35-70 is a particularly good copy.
03-24-2019, 02:56 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I reckon you could keep the F35-135 on the K-1 for the whole gig.

Swap out the F50 and Sigma 70-300 on the K-5 depending on whether you're taking portraits or in the air. Keep the 18-55 in your bag in case the weather is pants on the summit.
Thank you! I like your ideas.
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