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Thread: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

  1. #11
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    I have also used a 90mm and 210. 210 gives good coverage with detail. One thing to be prepared for is the wind. It gets silly at sunset and sunrise. So be sure to shield camera during exposures. I typically am anywhere from 1 sec to several minutes almost exclusively at f/32. Sometimes f/22 and rarely below that.

    I also use reverse grad nd filter for most sunrise and sunset images. 3 stops (0.9 filter factor). Make sure it is quality filter if you use it and don't place it to low or you will overly darken the tops of the cliffs. I place mine so the top of cliffs are just barely darkened slightly to almost not darkened at all. It is kind of an art.

    For your slide film make sure you get enough exposure in the shadow areas. Typical with sunrise and sunset there will be a cliff or two that "look" proper, but in reality are about 2 stops under exposed compared to 90% of the rest of the scene. With bw you can usually compensate for this in development but with color neg and slide almost impossible to correct.

    If cloudy look for light rays in clouds and shadows on canyon and on canyon floor and cliff walls, especially if cloudy. You are looking for patterns. Also, shit sunset and sunrise judiciously and be patient. Sometimes a dud. But there is also a lot to image after sun goes down a few minutes ( look for colors in Sky to brighten up). Sunrise just before and during its peaking out from behind the rocks is great and only the first couple minutes after it emerges into full view. Quickly things get ugly after that.

    There is probably not a lot of snow on the sides of canyon currently, it snowed good and a lot on everything but the Canyon walls. Walking the Rim Trail, I finally found pristine snow scene. People just love to screw up potential scenes of wonder. Here are couple IR be images from my 5DMKIII. Waiting to develop my film.

    https://flic.kr/p/2i5Gt89

    https://flic.kr/p/2i5HvJA

  2. #12

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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    Toronto, I think you misinterpret what Sal put here.
    Many of Ansel's finest were with longer than normal lenses - and elevated viewpoint.
    Sound advice on elevation differences, apparently from one who has experience.
    Nothing negative in what he posted. No "anti-Canadian Bull" to be seen. Just advice given from personal experience.

    As for "what should I use and what are the best views" as you ask. "Same old, same old" is what you will end up with - as we too often see.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  3. #13
    Foamer
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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    Quote Originally Posted by Torontoamateur View Post
    I don't agree with the lens choice you recommend, I will have my 240mm and 155mm. To me the point is to record the expanse. I have already spoken with some other very well respected Large Format Photographers on my choice of lenses and they have agreed with the 240mm and 155mm. AS to the negative about the stairs, That seems you are being sort of negative. My health is fine and I am robust. I also have a backpack for the camera The Airports are much more demanding than a simple three floor walk up. If it si too much then I will store the camera with the Concierge or in my vehicle. Or if needed I will hire a local as a sherpa. As to the Altitude issue , that is a non starter. I have experience hiking mountains. I know how to deal with this change in Altitude. In saying that I also recognize that the north rim would be higher. I really think you are trying to throw a wet towel on my adventure and that you dreadfully underestimate my present health and physical condition. Frankly I will not fall for your subtle anti-Canadian Bull. Now stop being a we towel. I will do it my way and that will yield some magnificent shots which I intend to have blown up to at least 8 feet wide.

    Geepers, the guy was just trying to be helpful. How would he have any idea what your current health status is? The only clue you gave was you had recently beat a serious illness. As for being Canadian these major parks attract people from all over the world, just like the Columbian Ice Fields do. Relax a little and enjoy yourself.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  4. #14
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    One thing I would say to remember is that when you say your in great shape for the Canyon, you need to think again. If you hike all the way to Indian Gardens down the South Kaibab and then come back that way or the Bright Angel trail it is a 22-24 mile hike straight down and straight up. Been there done that. There is no water on the trail save for the last 4.5 miles on the Bright Angel trail at 1.5 mile intervals. I don't care if your whatever, but to be nonchalant about it is to invite certain disaster. You will be given a choice of leaving your gear on the trail and being rescued or staying with your gear and taking your chances. Plus you will get a massive fine if they determine you should not have been hiking the Canyon for a physical or other reason.

    That said, I am a local to the area so I have more knowledge than most about this subject.

    Currently the North Rim is closed for the winter until next April I think. And there is no one to hire at the Canyon to schlep your gear for you. 99% tourists. You could reserve a mule so long as you and your gear weigh less than about 220 I think.

    The pointers I gave will get you good locations that are atypical and not wildly over done. But you gotta work for the shot.

  5. #15
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    4x5 Portra160,.9RND, approximately 3:45 second exposure of sunrise from Yavapai Point February 2019. Chamonix 45H-1. 75mm Nikkor f/4.5@f/32.


  6. #16

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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    Quote Originally Posted by Torontoamateur View Post
    I don't agree with the lens choice you recommend, I will have my 240mm and 155mm. To me the point is to record the expanse. I have already spoken with some other very well respected Large Format Photographers on my choice of lenses and they have agreed with the 240mm and 155mm. AS to the negative about the stairs, That seems you are being sort of negative. My health is fine and I am robust. I also have a backpack for the camera The Airports are much more demanding than a simple three floor walk up. If it si too much then I will store the camera with the Concierge or in my vehicle. Or if needed I will hire a local as a sherpa. As to the Altitude issue , that is a non starter. I have experience hiking mountains. I know how to deal with this change in Altitude. In saying that I also recognize that the north rim would be higher. I really think you are trying to throw a wet towel on my adventure and that you dreadfully underestimate my present health and physical condition. Frankly I will not fall for your subtle anti-Canadian Bull...
    Wow! What an unexpected and absurd reaction. If you knew anything about me, you'd know there's no one in the U.S. more pro-Canadian than I am. I've often lamented, publicly and on forums, how unfortunate it is that your country's immigration rules prevent me from relocating there. It's quite baffling how my post, written in the spirit of helpfulness, could be interpreted so diametrically opposite from how it was intended.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torontoamateur View Post
    ...I will do it my way...
    As I wrote at the end of #8, good luck and enjoy. Here's one last helpful hint: if that's your intention, don't bother starting a thread asking for advice.

  7. #17
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    I lived in the El Tovar Hotel when I worked in the Park starting in May 1977...in the old servant quarters. Nice place. I was in great shape, 23 yrs old, and played full-on basketball several times a week all Fall and Winter. I went over to the high school gym on the South Rim -- I ran up and down the court a couple times and about died. An elevation of 7000 feet needs to be considered when it comes down to planning hiking times and judging how much one can do in a day, but generally not too bad. But man -- after 5 months on the Rim, I returned to the coast and felt like I could run forever!

    My 7-day winter hike down in the Canyon (January 1979 or '80) was bracketed by major snow storms that closed all the roads into the South Rim. I think I was the last vehicle to enter the Park before the roads closed down completely. The VW CamperVan was a great snow vehicle. Temps on the South Rim got down to 14F for the day's high -- my Frisbee shattered trying to toss it around. The Rim lost all power both times -- which meant the hotels/park fed everybody for free in the El Tovar Hotel where they could cook food with propane stoves (I was on a tight budget, too!). But I had a week of clear, cloudless sky in between for the hike -- fu**king cold cloudless skies! I am sure it was below freezing on the Rim itself all day while I down in the Canyon

    I guess you Canadians are use to it and will be better prepared for the cold than me!! Climate is what you have, weather is what you get! Good luck!
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  8. #18
    Les
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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    My suggestion is to get some shots @sunrise. Currently the sunrise is around 7:40AM. I used to live temporarily in Flagstaff and came up to the Rim in really wicked (Summer) early morning hours to do this. The bouncing light was really wild. There are lots of photogenic spots away from the main entrance road....towards Kaibab Trail etc. Haven't been much of a fan of S. Rim for the last 30yrs.....just too many people....very much like Yosemite.

    Les

  9. #19

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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    The last time I was there with my 8x10, I asked pretty pretty please and the manager of the Lookout Studio let me set up on the second floor and shoot out the window
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #20
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Need Advice Re : First ever visit to South Rim of GrandCanyon in January

    Hard to go wrong ... and hard to go right. As a Wonder, it's been photo'd to death. If I were to go, look to see what others have done. When you get there, think about what it all means to you and how to express it. Make images that make a difference to you. And yes, don't fall in. I started the hike down one year at Christmas time. There was a lot of ice on the trail. I slipped and sprained an ankle. Wife drove me home in our VW van the next day. Take your 'grippers' if you are walking down even a few feet.

    Another spring I was there and it was foggy the whole time. Didn't take a single pic. However, I've heard there is a time about now, maybe a few weeks later, where it can be magically warm and the migratory birds appear.

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