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JMT DSLR Camera Kit

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JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby JWreno » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:41 pm

I am doing my 3rd JMT trip this summer and want to bring my DSLR instead of my old Canon point and shoot. I took a 4 night trip last summer with my Canon 6D, 17-40 and 24-105 mm lenses and had a blast with the DSLR. The extra lens is in a padded lens case. I am using a Peak Design Capture camera clip to keep the camera firmly locked on my should strap. I have a total of 3 batteries. I was thinking if I do a lot of video I might want a couple of more.

I am thinking about bringing 6-7 pounds of total photo gear. My son might carry my 2 pounds of Siuri T-025X tripod w/ C-10 ball head but I am not sure if the extra weight is worth it for the lowest light photos. It would be mostly for Milky Way + landscape photos.

Our base plus food weight is reasonable enough to do this but I may change my pack to give me a little more weight comfort than my ULA Catalyst which otherwise has more than enough room. I also could have my wife carry my 2nd lens and extra batteries so I can spread the total weight around a bit. We stay together when hiking so I can access the 2nd less but I found I mostly kept the 17-40mm lens mounted.

I am wondering how much photo gear the die hard photographers take when doing a longer hike like the JMT. My bare minimum kit would be my Canon 6D w/ 24-40mm plus a couple of batteries.



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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby maverick » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:48 pm

JW Reno wrote:
My son might carry my 2 pounds of Siuri T-025X tripod w/ C-10 ball head but I am
not sure if the extra weight is worth it for the lowest light photos. It would be
mostly for Milky Way + landscape photos.


The number one thing every serious landscape photographer needs to carries is a good
sturdy tripod, wouldn't dream of going on a trip without my Gitzo, it's worth every
ounce to me. Just conducted a photo class, and one of the things asked was which
lens to buy for a trip, my answer to them and to you is to look at between what focal
length are the majority of their/your best photos were taken and then take that zoom
lens if they want to save weight. So if the answer is between 24-40 then that lens would
fit for you style. Personally I would feel limited with one lens so the 17-40, 24-105, and
many times the 100-400 are with me. The 14mm now comes along too for night shots.
The 70-200 only come along on day hiking trips now.
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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby JWreno » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:23 am

It's sounds like your hiking is mostly to enable your photography. Which Gitzo tripod do you use on your backing trip?

I have a carbon fiber tripod legs that weigh 1, 3.7 and 6.3 pounds without a head. My lightest head is 1 pounds. My normal 'good sturdy' tripod is a Gitzo 5541LS which I use for photography, astro-imaging and astronomy with a DiscMount DM4 head for holding my Stellarvue SV115T20 telescope steady even at high magnification planetary viewing. I am not going to add the 6.3 pounds of tripod weight and bulk for a 3 week trip.

The weight and focal length of my 17-40 and 24-105 lenses require a less challenging tripod so I think my 2 pound solution will work. I will bring a camera shutter cable to allow me to reduce any shake from the lighter tripod plus give me options for nighttime exposures.

Hiking for me is a motivation for getting and staying fit, being off the grid from my IT/Network technology responsibilities, and wonderful family time together. Photography allows me to relive this experiences and looking at the pictures around my house reminds me to get back out there. I think our theme for this years JMT is going lots more breaks for photos and relaxing.
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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby maverick » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:02 pm

JWReno wrote:
It's sounds like your hiking is mostly to enable your photography. Which Gitzo tripod do
you use on your backing trip?

GT2531LVL
Sierra is my passion, and photography allows me to indulge in her more intimately. ;)
Earning a partial living with my photography is motivating, and it open doors to
other opportunities like teaching it.
If not for my passion for photography my style of hiking falls into the UL group
but my year round training routine enables me to move close to the speed and
cover the same distances that would be achieved if I was UL.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby fishmonger » Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:09 am

JWreno wrote:
I am wondering how much photo gear the die hard photographers take when doing a longer hike like the JMT. My bare minimum kit would be my Canon 6D w/ 24-40mm plus a couple of batteries.


I take a lot. And then, just before I actually start walking, I usually leave half of what I wanted to bring in the truck. That strategy has worked well. I have usually 2 or 3 lenses with me, tripod when the trip isn't a high mile per day schedule.

My JMTs generally are fast hikes, with little time to spend more than a few extra minutes on photos, but then I've seen that stretch so many times that I know where to concentrate my photo time. If my schedule is more relaxed and allows for more time to linger and spend time on photography, I have more use for extra gear such as tripods and filters and specialty lenses, extension tubes, etc.

Over the last 10 or so trips down the JMT corridor, I think I tried everything from small point and shoot to full video gear with solar charging rigs and tripod. It all works out in the end, with more or less suffering to get there. I don't mind a 50 pound pack on the worst days of a trip, but once it goes beyond that level, it will get tricky in the southern half of the JMT where I try to do the distance without resupply (detour). The heavier your pack, the more days you need for those miles, and the more food you need, and suddenly your pack gets even heavier and you need more time again.

How many days do you plan to be on the JMT? And how do you handle resupply in the southern half, if at all? Those are the key questions before even considering something like a tripod (lots of rocks and sticks that with some gaffer tape and a remote trigger make excellent camera supports if you absolutely need one). If you're the shooter who takes every shot from a tripod, you will not make a lot of miles per day, because you'll be spending half your day setting up a tripod and taking it down. If it's your first time on this trail, plan on being even slower. I skip a lot of photos these days knowing what I can expect around the next trail bend will be more worth my time.

My rule of thumb:
<=14 days JMT - no tripod, about 4 pounds of camera gear max
14-20 days JMT - tripod, basic landscape lens kit, about 6 pounds of gear
20+ days JMT - bring the kitchen sink. Maybe not the 600mm f/4, but 4 lenses, backup camera body, etc

All but the first one require a resupply between Whitney and Muir Trial Ranch, which complicates the logistics
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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby SSSdave » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:49 pm

Long distance through hiking trails are not the realm of photographers with serious gear but rather one must compromise and be content with the limitations. Regardless of how much or little you end up taking you will always find situations out there where you wish for what was left at home. When a backpacker reaches the point that the minimal level of acceptable photography requires a heavy load, they will simply need to change their notions of doing longer trails reducing hiking vertical, mileage, and trip lengths. There is much to be gained slowing down as a High Sierra base camper even without photo gear by being able to really know various regions that is under appreciated.
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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby JWreno » Fri May 16, 2014 6:07 pm

Our permit is for 22 days from Yosemite Valley to Whitney Portal. My wife recently learned she has to work over the holiday weekend so we will be doing it in 19 days or less. In 2011 we did it in 18 days from Horseshoe Meadows to Yosemite Valley. This includes 2 extra days to get to Crabtree Meadows and a complete goof off day at Muir Trail Ranch, plus a side trip to Clouds Rest area. We also spent a large amount of extra time crossing a lot of the significant 2011 snowpack remaining on all passes over 11,000 feet.

I plan on taking my 24mm f/2.8 IS lens which will be on my 6D on my shoulder strap clip while actually hiking. I will have the 17-40 f/4 and 24-105 f/4 zooms also in lens pouches which will be used when taking breaks. The 24mm will be less noticeable when on the camera when hiking. I am going with my son and wife. I plan on using Magic Lantern software for time laps evening astro and landscape shots. This is why I want to bring a tripod. I will have 5 extra batteries to account for the video and time-lapse use.

This is my 3rd full JMT and wanted to indulge in some more serious photography. I took the Canon 6D, 17-40 and 24-105 on my Emigrant Wilderness trip last summer. My camera clip worked very well on keeping the camera securely attached to my left shoulder strap in my chest area. Unfortunately we had incredible heavy smoke from the big August fire, but I still had a lot of fun when the smoke cleared occasionally.

We have pretty light loads. Our food will be home dried fruit and jerky, plus nuts and bars and other ready to eat goods. No stove, fuel or cooking related gear. We have done this since 2007 for August long distance hikes. The last two times heading north we carried 12 days of food on first leg. This time is will be 10 or less on the last leg to Whitney Portal. We should be well acclimated by the time we pick up our resupply in Muir Trail Ranch.
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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby JWreno » Sun May 18, 2014 5:12 pm

I did some research on lenses for taking wide open shots of the Milky Way with landscape foregrounds. I decided to buy a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Ultra Wide-Angle Lens. It can be used wide open without having the stars show coma. Should be great for time-lapse Milky Way sequences. I also bought an 85mm f/1.8 prime. I now think I will leave the 24-105 f/4 zoom at home. 85mm will be long enough for people shots and most of my other landscape shots will be handled with my 24mm f/2.8 IS prime or my 17-40mm f/4 zoom.

I have be walking around with my 24mm prime on my camera today. It is a very comfortable weight to work with. I was catching some shots of the Hunter Creek Falls fire just west of Reno this afternoon. They are only fighting this with hotshot hand crews and aircraft. Very windy conditions.
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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby fishmonger » Fri May 30, 2014 1:51 pm

The Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 is a great bang for the buck lens, but it's a pretty heavy bugger if you don't use it for its strengths such as the wide open night skies.

here's one I took last year in April at Outpost Camp below Whitney wide open with a D600. It was a bright night with moon light in the area, so the sky didn't really get that usual punch. There is some coma at f/2.8 though. F/4 is where the lens gets crisp.

Image

For really nice night skies, I'd prefer a 24mm f/1.4 but that's even heavier, I think. In summer for the JMT hike, I left the 14mm behind and took a much more compact 20mm f/3.5 Nikkor instead. I may bring it this year, but it may also lose its spot in the backpack to the 16mm fisheye, which is just a hell of a lot more fun.
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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby maverick » Fri May 30, 2014 2:40 pm

Fish wrote:
For really nice night skies, I'd prefer a 24mm f/1.4 but that's even heavier, I think.


Nikon 620g $1929
Rokinon 552g $314

Not only heavier, but $$$$$$.
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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby fishmonger » Fri May 30, 2014 4:40 pm

maverick wrote:
Fish wrote:
For really nice night skies, I'd prefer a 24mm f/1.4 but that's even heavier, I think.


Nikon 620g $1929
Rokinon 552g $314

Not only heavier, but $$$$$$.


the last thing I'd do with my money is buy a 24mm f/1.4 G lens from Nikon. I was referring to the Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 which is still missing in my bag, because I just can't find it under $550, and other than for nice stars, I don't really need it.

The 24mm Rokinon is heavier than the 14mm - 680g for EOS

For comparison, my 20mm f/3.5 barely weighs 250g and is just plain excellent in every respect except for the wide open night stuff.
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Re: JMT DSLR Camera Kit

Postby maverick » Fri May 30, 2014 6:09 pm

Fish,

PM sent.
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