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Landscape advice etc

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by mrfizzed, May 13, 2018.

  1. mrfizzed

    mrfizzed Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 6, 2017
    New Jersey
    Hey everyone,

    So I am a photographer that has always shot snapshots, kids, people, sports, events etc. recently I have grown to love landscape photography as a whole but am new to the genre. I will be traveling on business this summer and will be close enough to the Grand Canyon to warrant a trip to hopefully get some nice photos.

    I have a pen-f and em5 ii plus every Olympus 1.8 prime plus he 12mm f2. I also have the 12-40 2.8. I may buy the 9-18. Anyway I am new to landscape and definitely new to high res mode. My first question is any pointers? My next question is would the em1 ii be any better than what I have for this type off photography? I would guess no but since this may be a I’ve in a Lifetime trip I wanna make sure I have all of the tools with me to get it as right as possible.
     
  2. Schwert

    Schwert Mu-43 Regular

    157
    Mar 2, 2016
    Pacific NW
    Sounds like you have enough stuff...and a new body would not be needed.

    The canyon is more than a super-wide shot, look for other narrower views too.

    Take a good tripod and have fun.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. MNm43

    MNm43 Mu-43 Veteran

    230
    Mar 19, 2014
    I was just going to say the same as Schwert above. Pano's are easy at the canyon so you can really go as wide as you want. I was going to say a tripod would be the most useful thing to bring. Some of the nicest light is sunrise and sunset and a tripod will let you both bracket for DR and keep the ISO low. There is wildlife - on one trip I got a shot of a California Condor so don't ignore a longer FL - and as Schwert mentions above, some of the narrower compressed views are wonderful also. It is a magnificent place.
     
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  4. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Your kit is perfectly capable. An ultra wide angle lens could be useful, but you can get plenty of great images with the focal lengths you have already, and you can always shoot panos, which actually I prefer anyway. Anyway, since I don’t know your level of experience, I’ll just go over some basic suggestions...

    Landscape photography is just as much about when you take the shot as where. You can always go to a beautiful location and snap a good shot. But shooting at the right time can turn a good shot into a great shot. Finding the perfect lighting, cloud cover, etc., are what makes a landscape special. Professional landscape photographers will study and journey to the same location over and over again, sometimes for years, in order to get those great images. Unfortunately, as amateurs on vacation don’t have the luxury of revisiting a site multiple times to find the perfect spot in the perfect moment. Sometimes we get lucky, and we can improve our odds by studying lighting with apps like the Photographer’s ephemeris and the local weather.

    Techniques can help. I already mentioned panoramas. Hi-Rez should work well in the Grand Canyon, as well. If you like, you can get into filters such as a circular polarizer, neutral density filters and ND graduated filters. ND filters can slow down movement such as from water or clouds and create nice soft effects. HDR is another technique that some people quite like, but others do not. You only need to use it if you have a situation with dark shadows and bright highlights and you want to smooth them out.

    Hope this helps. I figure this post might serve as at least a starting point for more discussion.
     
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  5. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Definitely want to agree with @Schwert@Schwert about taking a good tripod. Tripods are necessary for some of the techniques I mentioned.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. mrfizzed

    mrfizzed Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 6, 2017
    New Jersey
    Have a good tripod. That’s not an issue so thanks everyone. I am excited for this trip and my new venture into landscapes.
     
  7. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Veteran

    488
    Apr 24, 2018
    I would look into stitch panorama as an alternative to an ultra-wide.
    You just have to find a good stitch sw, learn how to use it, and PRACTICE.
    A head with an azimuth rotation index will help. I did a stitch pano by hand and did not overlap enough, so the stitch did not come out as well as it could have. Again, go out a practice.
     
  8. hias

    hias Mu-43 Regular

    33
    Dec 6, 2016
    Bavaria
    Hias
    I'd rather invest in a longer lens. I usually use two lenses, the 12-40/2.8 and the 40-150/2.8. The latter one get's easily as much use for landscapes as the 12-40, if not more. A tele option is great for subject isolation, panoramas, etc. Crazy useful when it's foggy.

    Edit: just remembered, Thomas Heaton made a video just about that topic, title is probably a little... deceptive.
     
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  9. Mikehit

    Mikehit Mu-43 Veteran

    265
    Jan 26, 2018
    You don't need any bodies, and for lenses I would only recommend a telephoto MFT lens in the 35-100 range: I like landscape abstracts and I would say two thirds of my landscape are taken in the 70-100 region (MFT focal length, 140-200 on FF if that means anything to you). Don't get obsessed with expensive f2.8 lenses - you will probably be shooting at f8-f11 and at those apertures the wide depth of field overcomes many of the advantages of the supposed advantages of the more expensive lenses.

    As has been said, get a small tripod and remote release - one unheralded advantage of MFT over APS-C/FF gear is that with it being lighter, you can get away with smaller tripods that fit into a cabin bag when flying. If you are driving, who really cares how big it is?

    My biggest piece of advice is get a circular polarising filter if you haven't already - this is the one effect that you cannot replicate in post processing. Yes, you can also get ND grads etc but you can compensate with bracketing and combining in post processing (a lot of program nowadays have HDR functions). Polarisers also help to overcome a lot of haze and glare at the of taking a picture which really helps. I would be tempted to get a polarizer for the 12-4 and a stepping ring to fit it to the 9-18 which is much cheaper than a new filter!

    Secondly, practice composition especially with wide (17 to 25 on MFT) and ultra-wide angle (wider still) lenses. With ultra wides you can end up with many so-so and zillions of similar-looking shots so you need to learn how to use foreground objects to give it some interest.
    And be prepared to get up early or go to bed late depending on your timetable and time of year.
     
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  10. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    No need for another camera, but my advice would be to leave all those primes at home (you won't need f1.8 for landscapes) and just take the 12-40, plus something longer and something wider. I do lots of landscapes too and my go-to kit these days is just two lenses - the PL 8-18 and the 12-100. That covers me for almost all of what I want to do landscape wise. I may throw in the fisheye as well from time to time.

    So, I'd suggest you take your 9-18, 12-40 plus a longer zoom. The little 40-150R is small, light and cheap, as is the Panasonic 35-100 f3.5-f5.6. Shoot at f5.6 or f8 max (smaller apertures will put you into diffraction territory on m43).

    Take a tripod too.
     
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  11. RichardC

    RichardC Mu-43 Veteran

    352
    Mar 25, 2018
    Sutton Coldfield, UK.
    I use my 12-40 more often than the 7-14, so as above. Sun-screen, water, alarm clock, 12-40 or similar, 40-150 or similar, circular polariser, ND filter, backpack of some sort, good tripod, cable release, and remember to switch the image stabilizer off when on the tripod and switch it back on again when handheld.
     
  12. Scout the location ahead of time (even a rough look virtually on Google helps). Check weather reports, look up when sunrise and sunset are and prepare to be there an hour before. Factor in travel and walking time.
     
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  13. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    432
    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    William B. Lewis
    Landscape is more of an attitude than the gear - you can take a great landscape with just about anything.

    That said, if I had your kit and were going on that trip, I'd take the Pen F (I am an old rangefinder shooter) with the 17/1.8, 25/1.8 & 45/1.8. A selection of ND filters perhaps, though I rarely remember to use them. Personally I'd take advantage of the B&W mode on the front dial and save as both jpg & RAW. I don't like the modern trend of extreme wide angles in landscape and I far prefer primes to zooms.

    Try very hard to catch the golden hours - just after dawn and before sunset - but don't be afraid of high noon. The sharpness of the light can be fascinating as well with the seriously dark shadows. Back in the bad old days of film, Agfa APX25 was delicious in that kind of light in places like the deserts or canyons so trying for that kind of look could be fun.

    If, when you're there, you see everyone shooting the same image, move away from them. Find a different view or, at least, a different angle.

    A tripod and cable release can be your friends.
     
  14. MNm43

    MNm43 Mu-43 Veteran

    230
    Mar 19, 2014
    Generally good advice but the GC is a bit different. It is not a place you want to go stumbling around in the dark . . . seriously . . .and if you are staying there at either the Bright Angel cabins or El Tovar, you are pretty much a 2 minute walk from the rim. There are multiple look outs along the rim and a free bus that travels along most of the major lookouts (though we usually walk along the rim trail and take the bus back). Parking can be an issue. The east entrance has some beautiful views along with the Desert View Watchtower.
     
  15. newphoto1

    newphoto1 Mu-43 Regular

    106
    Aug 24, 2014
    Oklahoma
    Colin
    All good advice, but a word about composition. At the GC you want your pics to convey a sense of depth. You do that by including something in the near foreground. A tree, a rock etc. Be sure to use a tripod so you can stop down, manually focus and get everything sharp. Good luck!
     
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  16. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    618
    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Walter
    A pano with the camera in the vertical orientation is something I'd try in the canyon. Otherwise the aspect ratio of a wide pano isn't as nice. And a star shot at night, so a fast prime will be handy.
     
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  17. MNm43

    MNm43 Mu-43 Veteran

    230
    Mar 19, 2014
    I've stitched multiple rows of pano's in LR. Even hand-held ones. You need to be careful, but it can be done and it opens up lots of possibilities for framing.
     
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  18. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    618
    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Walter
    Making a wall-size canvas of the canyon would be cool. I've never tried multiple rows. I'll give that a go.

    Maybe get to Antelope canyon too. A fast prime might be needed there too, depending on sun position.
     
  19. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Top Veteran

    973
    Aug 2, 2013
    Colorado
    UWA are actually harder to use well IMHO.
    I totally agree and posted this as an example earlier today in a different thread:

     

    Attached Files:

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  20. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Veteran

    488
    Apr 24, 2018
    You NEED a FLASHLIGHT for those early and late shots.
    It is no fun walking in the dark, trying not to trip and fall over stuff.
    Tip: Carry a 2nd flashlight with a RED filter of some kind over the front. Red light does not ruin you night vision like white light does.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
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