View Full Version : Advice for long lens rental for Yosemite

An Infinite Journey
16-Jan-2009, 22:45
Hi all,
I keeping my fingers crossed for my trip to Yosemite in late February to catch Horsetail Falls in the "firefall" sunset. However, the longest lens I have is a 150 for my 4x5 Arca Swiss F-Metric with a standard bellows so I'm looking at renting a longer lens ...I prefer to get the longest contrasty lens I can. Your input is greatly appreciated.

These are my choices:

240mm f 5.6 Schneider Symmar-S
240mm f 5.6 Nikkor W Lens
300mm f 5.6 Rodenstock or Schneider
360mm f 6.8 Rodenstock Sironar
360mm f 8.0 Schneider Symmar-S
450mm f 9.0 Nikkor M
480mm f 8.4 Schneider Symmar-S
480mm f/9.0 Apo-Ronar with Copal 3
600mm f 11.5 Fuji C

Thank you again for your help in advance.

Eric Leppanen
16-Jan-2009, 23:49
As you are probably already aware, if your goal is to obtain a photograph similar to Galen Rowell's classic shot, you will need the equivalent of a 300mm lens in 35mm format (Michael Frye, in his book The Photographer's Guide to Yosemite, recommends a 200mm or 300mm lens for this shot). This roughly translates to a 600mm to 900mm lens in 4x5 format. The problem with your list is that, aside from the Fuji 600C, none of the lenses are long enough to do the job, and many of them are huge 8x10 lenses (Symmar-S, Sironar).

I would suggest either renting the Fuji 600C, or investing in a Fuji 600 telephoto (requires less bellows extension than the 600C), or a Nikon 720 or 800 convertible telephoto (the 720 is smaller and intended for 4x5, the 800 is a large 8x10 lens). The problem is you have limited time, and only the Fuji's are available new. There is a Nikon 800 convertible (a 600mm rear element is also included) for sale on Ebay now (I have no association with the seller). Finding a 720 telephoto quickly may prove difficult. I suggest contacting Jim Andracki of Midwest Photo Exchange (he is probably the largest used LF lens dealer in the U.S. and can help with finding a used Nikon telephoto) or Jeff Taugner at Badger Graphic (he imports a lot of new Fuji glass). Or perhaps someone in this forum will be willing to part with one of these lenses.

Of course, you will also need to get a long bellows and additional rail(s) for your Arca. Good luck! I have thought about attempting this shot, but so far I have never tried it.

Keith S. Walklet
17-Jan-2009, 00:21
True Eric...

Your needs will be dictated by the vantage point you choose to photograph from. From the north side of the valley, a 150mm lens will fill the frame with a 35mm camera. From the south side of the valley, it is a 300mm lens on a 35mm camera.

One workaround to the problem is to use a 6x9 or 6x7 roll film back, which permits using a shorter lens.

For an expanded discussion of the timing of Horsetail, Michael just posted an article on his website today at www.michaelfrye.com.

Gem Singer
17-Jan-2009, 05:32
The Nikkor 450M is an excellent lens, with great contrast. So is the Fuji 600C. However, they are mounted in Copal 3 shutters, as are most of your other choices.

It seems to me that all of your choices are large, heavy weight lenses. Although the front standard of your Arca probably could handle them, why not opt for longer, lighter weight lens in a Copal 1 shutter?

You should be able to find a Nikon tele in the 500 or 700 focal length for rent. Relatively large size lens, but in a Copal 1 shutter. Light weight for it's focal length. Nice and contrasty.

Check with Sammy's in L.A.

17-Jan-2009, 05:35
My Arca seems to handle the 450 M and heavier lenses without complaint...
Although for this picture, longer might seem to be better anyway,
according to the usual well informed opinion here-


Atul Mohidekar
17-Jan-2009, 05:48
A great lightweight option in 420mm-480mm focal range is Fuji 450C, which is in Copal 1, has convenient 52mm filter and is quite sharp. On the Arca, you would need a 500mm rail to use this lens at infinity.

// Atul

17-Jan-2009, 06:07
I would bring the longest lens, the Fuji C 600mm perhaps, and prepare to crop a little afterwards. I also like Keith's idea, and second it, about bringing along a 120 roll back...a time-lapse series sounds interesting. Yes, Horsetail has been "done", but embrace it and make the image your own!

I hope to be in the Valley the last weekend of February -- chances are that I will be somewhere else rather than near Horsetail, but I'll be somewhere, making my own images, breathing that mountain air!


David A. Goldfarb
17-Jan-2009, 06:12
When I know I'm likely to need a longer lens than I have or can practically use, I generally bring a rollfilm back as well.

Walter Calahan
17-Jan-2009, 06:13
I use a Nikkor 500mm on my Arca with great results. The Fujinon lens will work great, but I don't own one.

I've always wanted to try my Nikkor 600/800/1200 mm triple that I use on my 8x10 on my 4x5 Arca, but I don't have a lens board for the Copal 3 shutter (yet).

Harley Goldman
17-Jan-2009, 06:59
I had the F-Line Classic and have a Fuji 450C (which is a phenomenal lens). I think you will find your bellows and rail a bit short for either the Fuji or Nikkor 450's. You would need either a longer bellows and rail or a top hat extension board. The front standard should handle either lens with ease. For a rental, the tele designs might be a better way to go and a smaller investment.

An Infinite Journey
17-Jan-2009, 07:41
Thank you everyone for your quick response for my cry for help. As most of you have noticed, these lenses are all for an 8x10 as that is what is available locally for the long side - I will try Sammy's in LA though for a telephoto or make do with what I have and make the shot my own...

Vaughn - I look forward to possibly bumping into you -

Nathan Potter
17-Jan-2009, 08:30
None of the lenses you mention or others have mentioned will give you the detail you may be seeking unless you address the issue of camera and tripod vibration. This is the dominant issue for tele work using a view camera. If you're really lucky you'll have no wind so the problem will be reduced. But I would think this through a bit before departing and have a strategy for maximizing the stability of your setup. There are a number of good threads here discussing the issues with some very practical solutions.

Two vibration mitigation strategies I use are the bag of rocks hung from the tripod center post and a two tripod technique; the second one solely supporting the tip of the lens. After you have achieved the most stability you can, check the critical focus using a good loupe and tweak slightly as necessary. These teles have a seemingly vanishingly narrow depth of focus at even moderate apertures and you may be working at maximum wide open apertures of f/11 or f/16 for the purpose of focusing.

I use the Nikon convertible teles often with great satifaction but others mentioned have first rate intrinsic optical quality also.

Take your time; work carefully; and most of all have fun.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

17-Jan-2009, 08:40
...Vaughn - I look forward to possibly bumping into you -

Just don't bump into my 8x10!;)

I want to attend the opening of the Yosemite Renaissance Show (Friday, Feb 27th 5pm) in the Valley, photograph a bit, and check out the workshop facilities at the Ansel Adams Gallery (I am teaching at a workshop there for the first time in April and I don't want any surprises!) I'll hang around until late Sunday or mid-day on Monday, before driving the 400 miles back home.

Just keep your eyes out for a tall hairy guy with a big piece of wood on wood sticks! If you see a shorter guy with an even larger piece of walnut on walnut sticks, that will be Jim Fitzgerald...he got a photo (carbon print) into the Renaissance Show.


Eric Leppanen
17-Jan-2009, 11:50
I gather from your posts that any additional equipment you procure will be on a rental basis only, so I'll limit my suggestions to that line...

The current Arca F-Metric standard 4x5 bellows has a maximum extension of 380mm, and I'm assuming your bellows is the same or similar. Also, if you have the standard 30cm optical bench and two 15cm rails, then this also adds up to around 380mm of maximum extension if I recall correctly. So you will not be able to focus a 450mm standard (non telephoto) lens with your camera.

If you want to shoot 4x5, your best bet is to go for the nearer shot as described by Keith, and rent a telephoto as you have already noted. The Nikon 360/500T convertible, Fuji 400T, and Schneider 400 APO Tele Xenar will all fit the extension limits of your camera for a distant subject. The Nikon and Fuji would ideally be preferred because they use Copal 1 shutters, which have less vibration and "kick" than the Copal 3 used by the Schneider.

Your Arca should have plenty of stability to handle any of the Copal 1 telephotos above, as long as you have a solid tripod and use good technique (wait for the spirit levels on the camera to completely settle before clicking the shutter, protect the camera from wind with a golf umbrella, etc.). For the Schneider, you should preferably use a second tripod or long lens support arm to control shutter vibration.

I have used Samy's quite a bit for rentals. According to their rental catalog, the only telephoto they stock from the above list is the Schneider, which is quite expensive ($70/day). When rentals become this expensive, you may be better off buying a used lens which you flip once you've finished using it; you may actually save money that way. Calumet is another rental possibility.

Using a roll film adapter will simplify the lens issues, but if this is a rental too then you will have limited time to familiarize yourself with it.

An Infinite Journey
17-Jan-2009, 14:26
Thank you Nathan, Vaughn and Eric,
Being a newbie to LF and 3 different systems (35mm wildlife 400mm lens, 645 with 55-210mm and my Arca with a 90 and 150) leaves me a bit strapped for cash...that's why I'm trying to make the rental thing work.

hmmm, Nathan - you're right about the vibration...I'll keep my fingers crossed to be working in a vacuum - but just in case, my pack should be heavy enough to weigh down the tripod and I definitely like the golf umbrella idea.

Vaughn, I have that very weekend booked - so perhaps I'll make it to the gallery and check out the work...by the way, what workshop are you leading?

Eric - yes i have the 30 with the split 15 rails, Harley mentioned his handled the fuji 450C so may be I'll get an extension for the bench???

So, I'll still search for answers and call Jim and Badger for additional help.

Thanks again - this is such a wonderful forum.

Eric Leppanen
17-Jan-2009, 16:17
Eric - yes i have the 30 with the split 15 rails, Harley mentioned his handled the fuji 450C so may be I'll get an extension for the bench???All right, this intrigued me enough that I got out my Arca F-Line Classic 4x5 (141mm version) and checked this out, using my Nikon 450M. The 450M requires 429mm of extension to focus at infinity, the smaller Fuji 450C requires 426mm of extension.

The standard Arca bellows is conservatively specified, and is physically capable of extending out to around 500mm or so before it completely loses its pleating. Note that one should retain some pleating in the bellows, as it plays an important role in reducing flare. Stretching out the bellows to its extreme limit is not good LF technique.

So here's the scoop when using the 30cm bench: with a 15cm back rail (slid as far as possible to the rear of the bench while still being able to clamp down), one can barely focus a Nikon 450M at infinity with a 20cm front rail (slid as far as possible to the front of the bench while still being able to clamp). The amount of pleating in the bellows at this extension is not ideal but probably adequate; it would help if you could install a lens hood onto the front of the lens to help minimize flare. Preferably you should use a 25cm or longer rail to give you more focusing leeway and margin for error. You should of course verify all this since your Arca may have some differences versus mine, but I doubt they will prove greatly significant.

So it looks like a standard 450mm lens may work with your current bellows if you procure a longer rail for it. And for an Arca rail I would suggest calling Rod Klukas of Photomark in Phoenix (www.photomark.com), as he probably sells more Arca equipment than any other LF dealer in the U.S. Rod might have a used rail lying around that he could sell at a reasonable price (I'm not sure if Photomark is still in the LF equipment rental business or not).

So now you have several options. The 400 APO Tele Xenar requires no new rail but needs additional stabilization (Copal 3). The Nikon 450M requires a longer rail and additional stabilization (Copal 3). The Fuji 450C requires a longer rail but no additional stabilizaton (Copal 1). Decisions, decisions! :)

This exercise has been useful to me too, in that I can now use a 450mm lens with my standard bellows in a pinch.

An Infinite Journey
17-Jan-2009, 16:46
Thanks Eric !
I've just been a little busy to set up the camera - I know...lame excuse, but life does happen...thanks for the tip on keeping the bellows pleating too.

Anyway, I will definitely call around to see the cheapest way to go...I already have a copal 3 board and wrench so I might go with the Nikon since my 1 board is tied up with my 150. I think it's a tad faster too.

And who knows - maybe if the bellows and extension rail are cheap enough - maybe the Fuji 600 :D (as the ebay Nikkor 800 is out of my league).

17-Jan-2009, 19:20
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

that'd be the Nikkor 800 then...

go on-
sell it after,
still cheaper than a rental-


17-Jan-2009, 19:53
For a once-in-a-liftime opportunity, the 150mm lens will come off of it's board if you find a long lens in a #1 shutter. The beauty of LF lenses is the infinite adaptability of the hardware.

Look at page 22 of the large format lens listings at KEH.

17-Jan-2009, 20:04
...Vaughn, I have that very weekend booked - so perhaps I'll make it to the gallery and check out the work...by the way, what workshop are you leading?

The Yosemite Renaissance Show is at the Yosemite Museum, which is on the other side of the Visitor Center from the Ansel Adams Gallery. It is in the same building as the Native American Museum. The show opening on Friday is also a chance to get a free "dinner", and a glass or two of wine...the food is usually pretty good! The opening continues until 7 or 7:30, which means you can photograph until dark and still might make it there before the food is gone.

I will be teaching carbon printing on April 14 to 18 at the AA Gallery. It is a hand-made "alternative" photographing process. I make prints out of Knox Unflavoured Gelatin from the supermarket, some sugar, and some lampblack watercolor paint -- I call them my "Jello" prints! LOL! The images have a raised relief (the blacks are made of a thicker layer of gelatin than the highlights.)

If the weather turns bad on us during the weekend and you can't spend your time more productively by photographing, ask Glenn Crosby, the curator at the AA Gallery if he has time to show you my carbon prints (I also have some platinum prints there). Warning...if you end of liking the carbon process, it could lead you to the desire of a larger LF camera...it is a contact printing only process -- the print is the same size as your negative.


17-Jan-2009, 20:58
Thanks Vaughn. Like I needed more encouragement.

An Infinite Journey
17-Jan-2009, 23:58
Come on Wayne, aren't we in this because we're gadget freaks?

Joseph - true - you have caught me in my quote and I would buy it in an instant (although figuring out how to pay for the 80cm of rail and long bellows would be crazy mad!!!) ...but I would be dead if my better half knew I was going to buy a new lens - I'm in the hole already for the LF equipment since I haven't sold my Mamiya stuff yet (still jones-ing for a P45+ to put on it).

Vaughn -We're leaving the city late, so I'll be lucky to get there by 8 - kid has to go to school sometime :) But I will definitely look into trying to get a gander at your carbon prints ... sounds extremely interesting.

An Infinite Journey
18-Jan-2009, 07:54
Hey all,
Found this lens list for Horseman cameras - but it has the shutter size and flange focal distance of a lot of lenses...


so by the looks of it - maybe a Fuji T600 F12 ... ;) or really stress the standard bellows with the Nikkor T ED 720.... or maybe I should just buy a lottery ticket.

Keith S. Walklet
18-Jan-2009, 12:54
Sounds like you are set with gear...

FYI, the conditions necessary for the "firefall" effect are:

1. Clear to the west at sunset.
2. Snow at the summit of El Capitan
3. Warm temperatures to melt the snow so that there is a waterfall
4. A proper angle of view (draw a line from the fall to El Cap picnic area and extend it across the Valley).
5. Wind helps move the water around for a more expressive, unique image
6. And if you are interested in color, the middle two weeks of February, when the light on the falls at sunset is the richest

That is not to say it isn't beautiful other times of day besides sunset. William Neill has a wonderful image that was featured in Communication Arts magazine years ago taken earlier in the day when the water was silvery against a deep blue sky.

Mike Osbourne (Oz), who assists Michael Frye and myself during our classes in Yosemite has my favorite, a stunning windblown version of the fall that more than any other I have seen, resembles its namesake "Horsetail." Oz's version was taken in a wet year when the water volume was significant and is wonderful, even if it doesn't have the neon orange cast. It first appeared in his book "Granite Water and Light: Waterfalls of Yosemite Valley" that was published back in the early 80s. A new edition of that book is due out this spring (Yosemite Association) that is sure to solidify Oz's reputation as Yosemite's waterfall guru.

Phil Hudson
18-Jan-2009, 13:40
I'd just like to add that in real life shooting conditions, my Schneider 400 Apo-Tele-Xenar lens (Copal 3) doesn't require a second support on my Arca to produce nice sharp images.

Granted it DOES vibrate more than the smaller Copal 1, but when the Arca is locked down there doesn't seem to be any ill effect that I can see.

That said, the smaller and lighter Nikon tele lenses in Copal 1 are an excellent choice regardless.


Eric Leppanen
18-Jan-2009, 14:53
I'd just like to add that in real life shooting conditions, my Schneider 400 Apo-Tele-Xenar lens (Copal 3) doesn't require a second support on my Arca to produce nice sharp images.

Granted it DOES vibrate more than the smaller Copal 1, but when the Arca is locked down there doesn't seem to be any ill effect that I can see.Perhaps this is tripod dependent, I'll have to try this sometime with my gear. Jack Dykinga in his book Large Format Nature Photography believes that supplemental support is required when using his 400 APO Tele Xenar on his Arca F-Field camera (he uses a Gitzo 341 tripod and Kirk support arm to stabilize the lens). In an annotation to a photograph illustrating this setup, he says:

Note that the lens is centered over the tripod head, providing more stability and minimizing shutter vibrations, while the Kirk bracket supports the back...The vibration from the [Copal] 3 is quite noticeable, especially when shutter speeds are in the 1-second to 1/15 second range. On longer exposures, there's enough time for the vibration to stop.

I shoot long lenses fairly often and routines carry along a long lens support arm (typically always clamped to my main tripod, regardless of whether I am using it or not), so it is no big deal for me to spend an additional moment or so to attach the arm. On long distance shots especially (such as the Horsetail Falls shot), keeping vibrations under control is crucial to achieving a sharp shot, so I think it is prudent to err on the side of caution in this regard.

18-Jan-2009, 16:33
the FC/F Arcas have had two different rails.

the initial offering was a thin cross section rail -- wider than tall when viewed from the end. these had a rectangular hole visible when looking at the cross section (e.g. from the end). These were on the original arcas (before the F/FC series) and were sold with the original F/FC. The "brackets(sometimes called bridges)" featured clamps on the sides and a simple u-shaped bracket cross-section.

these were replaced with a rail that was taller than wide, and had a round hole plus a slot in the bottom that were visible when looking on the end. The bracket for these have a rotating levers on the bottom that engage the slot in the bottom of the rail.

The first and second rails were usable on the first style (clamping) brackets, but only the second slotted rail could be used on the second bracket.

That first style rail was pretty wobbly when a large lens was put onto the end -- whereas the second style rail does not have this problem.

Since I use long lenses, which tend to be heavy, I replaced all the rail and brackets with the newer thicker style.

These two rail types may account for much of the discussion about "my rail needs support" v.s. "my rail doesn't need any extra support".

My 550XXL is quite solid on the end of a piece of 40cm rail extended beyond the bracket about 30cm. that was not the case with the older thin rail (which vibrated under a 610mm de Golden busch lens....which is lighter than the 550XXL)

An Infinite Journey
18-Jan-2009, 18:18
Hi everyone,
I've found a Nikkor T500 at Glazer's in Seattle for $30/day....looks like the winner - I won't need to buy anything extra.

Thank you Keith for the wonderful tips - all the help from this thread and armed with my copy of Michael Frye's book should keep me very busy over the weekend.

I'm pulling out my gear tomorrow to check everything out...thanks Eric for dragging your stuff out and posting your findings...

I think my metric is a newer model....but I'll find that out tomorrow too - Thanks Don.

18-Jan-2009, 19:37
Good luck! Good light! Calm camera location! Please share your results.

Jon Shiu
18-Jan-2009, 21:29
Good luck and hope you have fine weather! I may drive up for the Fri. art show reception as I have a photo in also.


18-Jan-2009, 21:32
Good luck

You shouldn't have any problem with the lightweight T500 Nikor. Its so light that it won't be a problem on either rail type on the arca.

An Infinite Journey
19-Jan-2009, 09:38
Thank you to everyone! This forum is one of the main reasons I bought a LF camera last year - I knew there would be support when I needed it. :)

Now it's just up to my newbie trepidations and the weather...but adversity can also produce fruit, so here goes nothing - besides the valley is always beautiful you just have to look.

19-Jan-2009, 09:46
Amen! I would trade being in Yosemite right now with my phone camera for sitting in my office in Houston.

Steve M Hostetter
19-Jan-2009, 10:37
If your going to rent one I'd rent one with the most coverage and I'd guess that would be the Fuji 600mm 11.5 ,,, extremely portable I've got one

Steve M Hostetter
19-Jan-2009, 10:47
thats not to say you wouldn't need to shoot an 8x10" cam with a reducing back to get the "full" advantage of the 622mm IC I've never tried to shoot the 600mm lens on a 4x5 cam.. It is a small lens though just not extremely bright

An Infinite Journey
19-Jan-2009, 10:57
I couldn't use the Fuji 600 without buying a long bellows and an extension rail - that's why I've settled with the Nikkor T500 from Seattle...hopefully they do shipping. Other wise I may have to take Wayne up on his tip at KEH - a Fuji 600T and drop the ~$900...I just have to figure out how to swing that money past the gate keeper...:eek:

Wayne - anywhere is better than work unless you're a firefighter.

19-Jan-2009, 11:36
You can't blame it on me. I was never here!

An Infinite Journey
19-Jan-2009, 22:07
Wayne - who??? Nope, didn't see um at-tall...nope not at-tall...:rolleyes: :D :eek: :cool:

19-Jan-2009, 22:37
Good words, Keith...I have wandered and photographed across the valley from Horsetail Falls when it was flowing...just seeing the Falls was good enough for me. The "Golden" time is the time one is There.

Actually I would like to test my legs and get back again to the base of Ribbon Falls (it is a tough hike for an aging flatlander and an 8x10! One has to get there early in the day to avoid getting flatten by falling ice. I was there in the afternoon during a February and watched from a very safe distance as chunks of ice rained down. One time I tried to get close to its base when the water was really flowing. It was like walking against a hurricane wind. I had stashed my camera in a dry place as the air seemed to have more water in it than oxygen. I did not get very close before turning back!


Eric Leppanen
20-Jan-2009, 20:18
the FC/F Arcas have had two different rails...

[The] first style rail was pretty wobbly when a large lens was put onto the end -- whereas the second style rail does not have this problem.

Since I use long lenses, which tend to be heavy, I replaced all the rail and brackets with the newer thicker style.

These two rail types may account for much of the discussion about "my rail needs support" v.s. "my rail doesn't need any extra support".Sure enough, in reviewing the photographs of his Arca in his book, it appears that Jack Dykinga is using the "wobbly" first style of rail. I asked Rod Klukas of Photomark about this, and Rod noted that Dykinga is a long distance hiker/backpacker and may have retained the original rails because they are slightly lighter. This makes sense since Dykinga does not include his 400 APO Tele Xenar in his long distance hiking kit, and his remaining lenses do not use a shutter larger than Copal 1. Dykinga also routinely stops down to f/45 whenever possible, preferring not to spend additional time determining a more optically optimal f-stop (diffraction doesn't bother him), so he tends to always use slow shutter speeds and can be more vulnerable to shutter vibration.

Rod uses a Fuji 600C (Copal 3) regularly on his "new rail" Arca without any additional stabilization, and it works just fine. So mystery solved!

Thanks to Phil to highlighting the discrepancy here, and to Don for informing us of the likely cause. What a great forum!

Michie, it sounds like your 500T is the ticket. Good luck, have fun, and let us know how things turn out!

21-Jan-2009, 12:38
Hi Michie,

I made a similar inquiry about renting a longer lens not too long ago for my ARCA 4x5 FC camera and found that Calumet in SF had a few in stock. They supposedly have a Caltar f 5.6 300mm, a Caltar f6.8 360mm, and a Rodenstock f9 480mm on hand. As I recall, a Friday to Monday morning rental counted as one $30 day. My problem was a lack of rail and bellow length. Good luck.


Keith S. Walklet
21-Jan-2009, 17:51
Wow Vaughn!

I've been to the base of Ribbon in the spring when it was cooking, but it was a major grunt. I can't imagine trying it if there were any snow on the ground.

In general, I try to avoid standing at the base of the cliffs on the north side of the valley in the winter due to spalling ice. South side, it is less of an issue. On the north side, the temperature swings are too great and those table-sized flakes of ice cut loose as soon as the sun's rays hit the wall, with monster slices flying every which way--like bats on the hunt--during their multi-thousand foot descent.

That's when those 500T lenses (a great system BTW, I use the 360) earn their keep. ;-)

An Infinite Journey
27-Jan-2009, 14:19
Pro Camera Rental on Minnesota had a Nikkor 450 and Fuji 600C that I'm renting (for Friday to Tuesday - 2day rental - that's why I'm taking both)...Rod at Photomark sold me a long bellows and 16" rail out of his consignment stuff...Photomark is a great resource for Arca stuff and any questions regarding camera operations...(Thanks Eric for the tip to check out Photomark).


An Infinite Journey
27-Jan-2009, 14:22
Eric - wasn't sure how to get a hold of you -
This is off topic, but was wondering or if you cared - that this site is using your review...


Eric Leppanen
27-Jan-2009, 23:11
Eric - wasn't sure how to get a hold of you -
This is off topic, but was wondering or if you cared - that this site is using your review...

MichieThanks for the link, Michie. In briefly reviewing his site, I saw that he also copied the Introduction to Large Format from the B&H web site. He should have just provided links or asked for permission to post these write-ups, but I guess respect for other folks intellectual work or copywrite laws can be pretty weak over in mainland China (look at all the bootleg DVD movie copies produced there). I don't like it but it's not practical for me to do anything about it; it's just one of the hazards of posting on the web.

28-Jan-2009, 20:40
Thanks for the heads up on Photomark, Michie. It sounds like rail extension, versus the telescopic replacement option, is the way to go for my needs. I want to keep the gear light and, from what I hear, stability isn't at all that bad (at least for the sizes of lenses that I am concerned about). Yes, I forgot about Pro Camera Rental - I have never been there but will check it out.

11-Mar-2009, 10:19
Hi all,
I keeping my fingers crossed for my trip to Yosemite in late February to catch Horsetail Falls in the "firefall" sunset.

Well? How did it go?

An Infinite Journey
14-Mar-2009, 20:38
I rented the nikkor 450M and Fujinon 600C - never put the 600 on the camera because it was overcast and the long views were pretty blah. The 450 on the other hand was put to work with close-ups - what a spectacular lens!

Anyway met up with one of the photogs from the Ansel Adams Gallery and he said this year was a really bad show for Horsetail Falls - only one day with marginal lighting...The falls were flowing, just bad lighting...just another reason to go back to Yosemite next year :D

Now I'm in the hunt for a macro lens - but not in a copal 3 - the 450 was HEAVY! ...
Thank you to everyone who's read through this thread and especially those who put their two cents in.
Hope y'all are having as much fun as I am.

1-Feb-2010, 11:04
Last year was my first time photographing the falls. I shot it from the meadow in El Cap picnic area with a 400mm lens on a Pentax 67II camera (200mm 35mm equiv and ~ 600mm 4x5 equiv) with the only roll of 120 color negative film at The Ansel Adams Gallery. The image seems identical with the one posted on Michael Fry's website - identical perspective as if he came by and used my camera!

I printed the image last year using a filter pack that was optimized for the rock and let the sky go a shade of grey like in Galen Rowell’s version. I just started to reprint for a blue sky using an acetate mask to mask for the sky and rock. Some folks think that a blue sky isn't appropriate for this image as the color of the sky in the west at sundown isn't blue. What do you think?

Anyone going this year?