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Trip planning for scenic photos

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Trip planning for scenic photos

Postby richlong8 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:23 pm

I usually take one 10 day backpacking trip a year, and other short trips. I have been thinking about where to go on my 10 day trip in 2015, looking for a real scenic trip, and thought I would solicit the many great photographers on HST. I prefer the High Sierra areas away from the most crowded areas, some cross country travel is fine, and 10 days gives me a fair amount of time to do a loop, or a there and back. Any suggestions? Some of the areas I am thinking about include Lakes Basin, Bear Lakes, Kings-Kern Divide, and Kaweah Basin. I know this is a broad subject, but any feedback is welcome.



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Re: Trip planning for scenic photos

Postby paul » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:55 pm

Where may be less important than when.
There are so many scenic spots in the Sierra that it is hard to go wrong in terms of location. But you'll get better clouds and thus better sunsets, sunrises and more interesting skies if you go in monsoon season - july/august tends to be the most thunderstorms. Plus that usually means good wildflowers as well. Those perfectly blue skies in late August/early September make for boring photos.
And then of course your daily schedule makes a difference: get up early and get the sunrise shots, and plan on evenings with camera in hand.
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Re: Trip planning for scenic photos

Postby SSSdave » Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:13 pm

You are likely to receive all manner of long episodic itineraries hitting numbers of known icon spots for one day each then rambling on. Getting exceptional photos in the backcountry requires more than just going to well known scenic destinations then moving on. One also must figure how what when where how to capture a good image. Far more productive to go to a well known scenic location and spend some base camping time at each exploring and sizing them up waiting out productive weather and conditions. Many of these places are vast and require time and effort to size up.

Instead of asking for advice, would likely be more productive to simply search the forum for TR reports and find what you like. Do same at summitpost.org using peak names. Search Google Images for same names. Analyze topographic maps for when and where best lighting is likely, take virtual tours with Google Earth.
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Re: Trip planning for scenic photos

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:18 pm

For me, my pack-weight on a 10-day trip is enough that I do not want to carry heavy camera gear, particularly if I move every day. You could get good (but not professional quality) photos on your first 10-day trip, then go back to the best locations and spend more time.

I do not have that much technical expertise, but I find that north-facing cirques are difficult for me to get good photos. Early season with snow lingering, is also hard for me because of the harsh contrasts. And if the mountains are too close all I get is a frame filled with a mountain with little foreground. As much as I love Ionian Basin and First-Sixth Lakes, I have difficulty in those locations. Also depends on your opinion of "beauty" - stark high altitude or the more lush green flower filled lower elevations.

Also you have to keep the best lighting times free to photograph. Inevitably, I get into the middle of cooking supper when the sunsets are at their best! Sunrise is even more difficult - not much time and it is darned cold some times making getting up before dawn difficult.

Maybe just luck, but the better photos I have taken are: Brewer Basin, Gardiner Basin, Barrett Lakes (back side of the Palisades), Lakes Basin, Yosemite Valley to name a few.

I always thought it would be neat to pick one place, and take a seasonal series - like go there every two weeks and record the changes.

No matter where you go, smoke from fires can ruin photos. As others have said, clouds are great but not all clouds are created equal. But I still have problems with over-exposed clouds- white blobs. Fall can either have brilliant colors, or look worn out and tired, the difference being only a matter of a week or so. Pre-planning a trip a year ahead may be hit or miss. Probably better to be flexible and go when conditions are right.

I think a good photographer can get an excellent photo about any place. We mere mortals need more forgiving scenery.
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