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A guide to mountain climbing photography

Post general questions and discuss issues related to climbing.
 

Postby dskoon » Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:54 am

Took a cursory look, while sipping my beer, and thought it-your photography- is fantastic! Thanks for the inspiration. Most excellent!
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Postby radson » Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:24 pm

Beautiful photography, and some very interesting points. I totally agree on the need to have a dSLR accessible in the mountains, otherwise you may as well fill your pack with a rock.
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Postby Lockhart » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:03 pm

Excellent article. Thanks for sharing! Looks like a great trip, too.
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Postby 46and2 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:46 am

First off, great images.

Secondly, why not bring a .6 grad nd? I hand hold mine because I got tired of dealing with the filter holder and I found that moving it up and down just a hair really blurs out the transition zone. Even when hand-holding a camera with faster shutters. I guess it'd be impractical during a climb though.

Thirdly, I am confused at your comment about setting exposure to -0.7ev. Is this because you shoot matrix metering? I tend to shoot with spot on the bright snow and open up 1-2 stops. Setting it down 0.7 or even at 0 would muddy-it out.
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Postby jvarholak » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:23 am

Now, when asked why we love wild, high places, we need only to turn to your outstanding images. Thank you.
john
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Postby Mihai Tanase » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:48 am

charles wrote:I´ve just looked at the photos so far - good stuff there!


Did you seen this one ? :roll: It's really amazing! http://www.aperturefirst.org/index.php?showimage=517

PM for Alex :wink: Bravo mon gars! Je connais bien cette montagne, mais alors comme ca, jamais vue! Le pied total!
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Postby nattfodd » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:00 pm

46and2 wrote:First off, great images.

Secondly, why not bring a .6 grad nd? I hand hold mine because I got tired of dealing with the filter holder and I found that moving it up and down just a hair really blurs out the transition zone. Even when hand-holding a camera with faster shutters. I guess it'd be impractical during a climb though.

Thirdly, I am confused at your comment about setting exposure to -0.7ev. Is this because you shoot matrix metering? I tend to shoot with spot on the bright snow and open up 1-2 stops. Setting it down 0.7 or even at 0 would muddy-it out.


Sorry, I had missed those replies.

You have it right about the reason for not bringing a grad nd: simply too cumbersome to manipulate while on a climb. Another thing is that the scenes I shoot tend not to have a clear straight delimitation between underexposed and overexposed parts, so the results with a grad would look funky.

And yes, the -0.7 is to be used only with matrix metering. It is just a rule of thumb adapted to the current Nikon meters which do a really good job of recognizing snow scenes. If you shoot spot, then you should indeed meter for the snow and overexpose by a couple of stops, but I prefer the ease of use of shooting in matrix and checking the histogram.

@Mihai: I am just coming back from Mont-Blanc and climbed this face three times in two days... By the end, I was starting to hate it!
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Postby Smoove910 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:11 pm

Here's what I use to carry my camera. This harness ensures my camera is always ready when needed rather than fumbling through a bag to get a camera when a quick shot is needed. The harness is made of an elastic material which enables the camera to be held close to your body while hiking/climbing... yet stretches to your eye when you need to snap a shot.

Hope this helps with some of your issues of carrying a camera bag (which I find to be quite heavy after 10-15 miles).

http://www.eagleoptics.com/binocular-accessories/eagle-optics/eagle-optics-bino-system-harness-strap
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Postby nattfodd » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:15 pm

FortMental wrote:Really nice photos on your site, but there isn't anything on your site that can't be done with a modern "point and shoot" and some creative photoshop. Modern engines, RAW capture, and small packages these days are pretty impressive.

It should also be mentioned that all that DSLR tonnage is worthwhile if you plan on printing anything larger than, say, 30cm X 50cm. Otherwise, all of that photo detail is lost on LCD, plasma, CRT, or even Hi-Def LCD projector screen resolutions where screen resolutions are typically less than 100DPI.

I absolutely love a good picture just as much as anyone else, but a DSLR is wasted effort if all one does is look at photos on a laptop.


Well, theoretically, yes, I agree with your statement. Michael Reichmann, of Luminous Landscape, had a very interesting test where medium format digital (the 45 megapixels, 30 grands system) and Canon G10 prints were indistinguishable. But it was on a tripod and in optimal lighting conditions. In the specific context of mountain climbing photography, I don't think your statement still holds.

One reason is the very small size of P&S sensors which simply do not give the same quality than DSLR ones. I'm thinking mostly dynamic range here, it is so easy to blow the highlights with a pocket camera if you're not very careful, and if you want stuff that will hold up in print, bracketing is almost mandatory.
Then there is the issue of noise, you can match a DSLR quality only in good light, which effectively forbids (non-tripod) early morning and late evening photography. A P&S also will not let you go anywhere as wide nor as close as the dedicated lenses on a DSLR.

Finally, the greatest argument against your statement, in my opinion, is that getting good enough quality requires too much compromises, too much thinking and working around the limitations of your camera when what you want is something so easy to operate that you will be willing to get it out of the bag often. With my DSLR, I know that as long as the histogram and the shutter speed are reasonable, I will have a (technically) good image. When I carry my P&S, I usually only use it when I have lots of free time or when the opportunity is really incredibly good.

Now don't get me wrong, many people use P&S and get amazing images, and if I am trying to get super light on a trip, I may leave my DSLR at base camp, but I also think that someone who brings a DSLR (and knows how to use it) will consistently get much better images than someone who only takes a P&S.
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Postby nattfodd » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:44 pm

That's exactly why I added "and knows how to use his DSLR" to my sentence. :)
You could almost make the joke that I am using a P&S because what I do in most cases is just that: point and shoot. Unless the situation is especially tricky (low light, fast moving subject, very high contrast...), I will already have set up my camera in the settings that I know will give me optimal results. Most of the time, I don't even look at the LCD after having taken the image, but the difference with a P&S compact camera is that I only do that because I am reasonably sure that the image will be technically good.
And I am not Superman (though that would be handy sometimes), it's just that I have shot many, many frames with my camera, in all kinds of conditions, and I know how it reacts and how it should be set up.
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Postby radson » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:27 am

Now don't get me wrong, many people use P&S and get amazing images, and if I am trying to get super light on a trip, I may leave my DSLR at base camp, but I also think that someone who brings a DSLR (and knows how to use it) will consistently get much better images than someone who only takes a P&S.


I am in total agreement.
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