View Full Version : Zephyr to Yellowstone: To Stitch or Crop? That is the question.

emo supremo
13-Apr-2010, 15:36
I am planning an eight day trip from Chicago on Amtrak's California Zephyr with a side trip up to Yellowstone in mid-May.

1. I'm renting a car in SLC for the drive up to Yellowstone. Is there anything photogenic (I can't believe I just typed such an imbecilic phrase, forgive me) on the drive to and fro that I should be aware of?

2. This is my first real excursion with my newly acquired LF or MF gear. If you were me, would you take the 6x6 Hassy or the 5x7 Canham? I'm leaning toward the 5x7 Canham Trad but try and find 5x7 color emulsion. Should I be thinking of buying/renting a panoramic camera especially for this trip so that I could shoot 120 color emulsion?

3. Can anyone suggest (apart from a bottle of wine) what to pack above and beyond the normal kit?

4. This is my first air travel through security with LF film. I'm going to have to check into three gates and that means at least three exposures to xrays. I'll keep the film below ISO 400 and try to explain this to Security for a hand check. Our Forum has been helpful on suggestions to circumvent xray fog. Any new suggestions that have worked in the recent year 2010?

P.S.Many thanks to Brian Ellis and the numerous contributors to "Yellowstone - Best Time, Places To Stay, Etc" thread.

Donald Miller
13-Apr-2010, 16:28
O.K for starters, if it were me I would take the 5X7 and think along the lines of shipping it insured to a mailbox facility in Chicago rather than taking a chance of carrying it in checked baggage...I say this because I have had stuff stolen on airlines and the baggage liability insurance doesn't begin to cover photo equipment.

I would not think of med format myself. I would, instead, split a dark slide on a 5X7 film holder and shoot two panoramic shots on one sheet of 5X7 film if you want that type of pano. Doing it that way you aren't burdening yourself unduly with equipment and you will have something near 6X18 format negative size...a split darkslide is a lot less expensive than a 120 back.

The trip from Chi to SLC is probably not going to allow much time or opportunity to photograph...I assume this and may be wrong. The drive from SLC to Yellowstone will take you the better part of one full day when you factor in photo time. Flaming Gorge is on the way, Check out Fremont Lake near Pinedale. There is another set of lakes lying near Gannet Peak (tallest mountain in Wyoming SE of Pinedale). I don't recall the names of those lakes. The drive up (about 45 miles as I recall) is along the Green River and that is scenic in a subdued sort of way. The Tetons on the south side of Yellowstone is a separate park. While in the region of the Tetons check out Jenny Lake.

You are covering a ton of territory in a very short amount of time.

13-Apr-2010, 16:30
Get a lead bag like this one (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/179386-REG/OP_TECH_USA_4501132_X_Ray_Pouch_Large.html#specifications) to safely carry the film through TSA checkpoints. They might look into the bag, but at least you will not do damage to the film as it goes through the X-Ray equipment. Ask for a supervisor if they want to open the film boxes!

Henry Ambrose
13-Apr-2010, 16:32
How long will you spend from SLC to Yellowstone and back? Are you traveling alone primarily for photography purposes or will there be someone else with you? Can you stop and wait any time and any place as long as you want or go back to a place when you know the light is right? Are you willing to do that?

If this trip is anything other than pure photographic, take the Hasselblad with one lens, (60, 80 or 100) a bunch of film and a light but sturdy tripod. You can use it like a big snapshot camera or you can get deadly serious with it. The Canham won't be much fun as a tourist camera.

If you've never been there before you're going to be amazed.

Henry Ambrose
13-Apr-2010, 16:34
120-220 film gets unwrapped (out of boxes and out of wrappers) and put into clear zip locks. Ask for a hand check. It'll take a while but its available as part of the rules.

I'd consider Fedex if you don't want the camera with you on the rest of the trip. Send everything to the SLC Fedex airport office for your pickup. When done send it back home.

I'd take the gear (small kit as suggested above) with me on the entire trip. Three trips through carry-on X-ray won't kill your film. Shoot lots and have fun. Fuji Pro160S or Kodak Portra 160. 220 back if you have it, 10 rolls of 220 film. Shoot it all and you'll have pictures - likely a handful of good ones.

Kirk Fry
13-Apr-2010, 22:57
Don't miss the Tetons. :-)

emo supremo
15-Apr-2010, 06:54
I am traveling alone primarily for photography purposes and apart from being a tourist on that tour bus for one day I have the second day (and a car) to go back and catch the light right.
"Flaming Gorge is on the way, Check out Fremont Lake near Pinedale. There is another set of lakes lying near Gannet Peak (tallest mountain in Wyoming SE of Pinedale)." I love this place and love you guys even more.
Packing for this trip is not easy. A similar thread in this forum says there's snow still in the valley, the wind whips cold, .... while here in NYC the cherry blossoms are a their height. It's turning into a mission to Mars. At the end of the trip I fly back to Indianapolis for a conference (I'll pack a bow tie to conserve weight).

You are right ie.. I'm covering a ton of territory in a short (eight day) trip so it can be more but not much more than a recon mission.

Ivan J. Eberle
15-Apr-2010, 10:53
May could be blizzarding, this year. Or, maybe not. Too soon to tell.

Sinks and the Rise of the Popo Agie, just outside Thermopolis.
+1 on Tetons, more photogenic for for LF than Yellowstone, in my opinion.

Absoraka Range, N of Cooke City, MT to Cody, WY, in either direction.Chief Joseph Highway is open all year from Cody. Highway from Cody to Pahaska is also astoundingly beautiful.

Ivan J. Eberle
15-Apr-2010, 10:59
Ziplocks for no Xrays. Throw a roll of something fast in your kit with a 2+ stop push label to help you insist upon hand inspections. (When I fly it's with 4x5 and Quickloads. I don't know how you'd assure hand inspections only using 5x7 film in boxes, especially ones that are open/not factory sealed/exposed boxes of film.)

Richard Raymond
15-Apr-2010, 16:03
I am sorry but I am still not too clear on how much time you have to visit Yellowstone. You will be taking the train to Salt Lake City. It is around a 35 hour trip arriving around 11pm (2300) on the second day.
From SLC to get to Yellowstone in Mid May you will probably be going north on the 15 and either dropping down into Jackson or continuing on up to West Yellowstone. Flaming Gorge is a lot out of your way when one is under time pressure. Even if you prefer the east side drive you would go up the 189 rather than all the way east to the 191.
The shortest way, up the 15 and through Jackson is around 325 miles each way. Call the park to make sure that the south entrance is open. The west entrance out of West Yellowstone will be open but the east entrance opens later. Anyway, check with the park.

Henry Ambrose
15-Apr-2010, 16:11
"On the way" and "nearby" mean very different things out west. If you are there for two days and one of them is on a bus you're not going to do much photography, 'cause you'll be moving most of the time.

Lachlan 717
15-Apr-2010, 16:20
Whilst not fogging, I'm finding that repeat x-rays of Velvia 100 results in dull, lifeless colour. This is after 3 or 4 times through the machine.

I'm now finding other ways to get film once I'm at my destination (whether that's posting it as described here or sourcing it at the destination).

emo supremo
29-Apr-2010, 21:17
Hello again. I was away last week on business and didn't have my travel packet. R Raymond asked about the route and the Amtrak people set up the following from SLC to West Yellowstone heading out on I-15N (206 miles), US-20 E into Montana (107 mi) with my destination the Yellowstone Park Hotel on s Grizzly Ave, West Yellowstone, MT.
Total distance 325 mi and total time 5 hours.
Again, my apologies for being incommunicato.... final exams are upon us!

Richard Raymond
3-May-2010, 10:11
I would take the Hasselblad instead of the 5x7. You are very limited for time and you will get more photos with the Blad. You will want a wide angle (40mm), a long normal and a telephoto (250mm) if you have three lenses. The telephoto will help with the wildlife. If you need more of a panoramic landscape then stitch some frames together. Film loading and handling will also be easier and the film will be easier to find and prepare and ship back. The Blad will also allow for some picture taking from the train. Finally you will be able to handhold for some quick shots that you want of the buffalo beside the road or people in a "Bear jam".
Best regards,