/ NEW ARTICLE: A Guide to Mountain Climbing Photography
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2413
One question, which I may have missed in the article, are cameras robust enough now to insulate the moisture inside the space in the camera from freezing? If not, how do you overcome this if the camera bag is outside of the rucsac?
@grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat: I'm not completely sure I am understanding the question, but DSLRs have gotten very good at handling adverse weather conditions, even when they are not advertised as weather sealed. My only concern is with heavy rain, but unless you are really careless, low volumes of moisture such as found inside a camera bag are not a concern, even when temperatures get well below freezing.
What a great article!
Excellent article, really detailed, love the photos.
I'd like to support the idea of a D90 for climbing photography. I use a D300 for most of my work but was fnding it heavy and bulky for climbing so had a go with a quality compact for a while. The results are ok but only ok, and I didn't really enjoy using it that much. I then saw a review of the D90 and realised how much smaller and lighter than the D300 it is. So much so that it will fit into a smaller and lighter bag - a big bonus. I bought one and have used it a few times and am really enjoying it although I still have some work to do on the best carrying method.
I have also been lent a micro-4/3 camera by Olympus (E-P1) and I am very impressed by it so far. It's still lacking a few important things, but is hard to beat for the weight. I have a feeling that micro-4/3 will really change a lot of things for mountaineering photography!
@ndp: you should see the large prints :)
1) I'm interested that you only took 2 batteries with you. I went to the Trans-Himalaya recently, with nothing like the extreme cold that you had in Peru, and I got through nearly 5, fully charged, batteries for the Lumix G1 in three weeks. Did you have a solar charger or did you have a power supply?
2) Good advice re.carrying system, I've been using the Crumpler shoulder bag recently, which has a leg strap as well (which I've never used). This has room for a camera attached with zoom, and compartments for spare battery, memory card, filter etc.
3) I'm surprised you recommend a UV filter, as digital sensors, unlike film, do not need it. The sensors already compensate for the UV wavelengths, and in fact it is probable that they work better without blocking those wavelengths. It is may be better to use a clear protection filter, ie. scratch proof Tiffen clear filter (expensive). However, I would recommend, in certain circumstances a Polarising filter, you can always 'set' it at the beginning of the day (or previous day).
Good point about taking portable Hard Drive for downloading, I'm looking into it!
Really enjoyed the article and your photos, thanks
> 1) I'm interested that you only took 2 batteries with you. I went to the Trans-Himalaya recently, with nothing like the extreme cold that you had in Peru, and I got through nearly 5, fully charged, batteries for the Lumix G1 in three weeks. Did you have a solar charger or did you have a power supply?
I had neither. The longest I have been out without access to power supply was 10 days, and 2 full charges were more than enough. One reason for that is that DSLR batteries tend to last much longer than compact ones, or even micro-4/3, especially since you don't have to use the LCD screen to frame. I am also very careful about my power consumption and rarely review the photos on the screen after taking them (only checking the histogram/sharpness if I have a reason to be worried).
Different people will like different systems, but whenever climbing is involved, I feel that belt systems are really the way to go.
I basically use my UV filter as a clear protection filter, not for its UV capacities. I tend to disagree about polarising filters, they are more of a pain than an advantage in most cases, and you need to always pay attention to what angle they are rotated to.
I can really recommend the Hyperdrive disks, they are much better than pretty much everything else.
Glad it was useful.
Not much, as I shoot raw, so ADL doesn't affect my images at all. From what I could read, though, all it does is underexpose the scene to better capture highlights, then pulls details from the shadows in post-processing, effectively increasing the noise. I think you would be much better served by using correct exposures of raw images.
There is a rumour (based on Q&A sessions with Nikon engineers - see Ellis Vener's comment at http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00R3bF ) that ADL adjusts the gain on individual photosites (or, more probably, on groups of photosites) on the sensor to pull details from shadows (and, I would guess, applying noise reduction in-camera). If that is the case, it would be affecting the RAW file.
Great article and stunning pics.
I've just bought a Panasonic GF1 mainly for the almost DSLR quality but compact size. WIth the superb 20mm pancake lens it's small enough and light enough to take pretty much anywhere.
I'm interested to know why you think autobracketing is a minor annoyance. Not challenging you - just curious, as a beginner.
> I'm interested to know why you think autobracketing is a minor annoyance. Not challenging you - just curious, as a beginner.
I don't think I said anything like that, quite the contrary. I find autobracketing to be a very useful feature, and its omission in any body is in my opinion a major drawback.
Sorry, perhaps I misunderstood you.
In Modus Operandi section you said;
Which I took to mean you didn't want it to be on.
Ah yes, by that I mean that if you forgot you had AEB on, then you will take a +2 or -2 picture next without realizing it, so there are chances the photo won't be usable at all.
> There is a rumour (based on Q&A sessions with Nikon engineers - see Ellis Vener's comment at http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00R3bF ) that ADL adjusts the gain on individual photosites (or, more probably, on groups of photosites) on the sensor to pull details from shadows (and, I would guess, applying noise reduction in-camera). If that is the case, it would be affecting the RAW file.
Well, I haven't done a side-by-side comparison yet, but after seeing many (RAW) histograms with and without ADL, the ones with ADL usually seem to have more bell-shaped histograms, generally speaking. I suspect it does change the RAW file but I haven't tested that yet.
Got it, cheers.
It's interesting what you say about the batteries. One of the problems I had was weight on the flight over, and I initially looked into the possibility of solar powered charger but it did not exist for that battery. I think for a similar trip, with only 10-11 days without electrical power, even if I had taken a charger with an adapter, 3 would still have felt safer. It's a difficult conundrum. I took RAW only and did not review.
Re: filters, I took a polarising filter because of the altitude, 3500m - 5500m and as I was using the supplied kit lens I'm glad I did as I think it improved the images enormously. I would take the polariser off an hour before sunset and the reverse in the morning. But we had nothing like the extreme conditions you had in Peru. Interestingly I was going to buy a UV filter but the shop did themselves out of a sale by explaining why a UV filter was unnecessary, I now use a Tiffen clear Digital HT filter which is scratch resistant.... I hope!. I've since bought a far better lens, which now makes the camera much heavier and bulkier, but is producing images of greater colour subtlety and saturation, and I have not yet had the conditions to try a polariser, but at the moment it is seems a superfluous.
One thing I have found difficult to produce is the starburst sun. With film you stopped down to f16 or below and it automatically produced a starburst. Is this a problem with digital or is it that the sensor on the micro 2/3rds is too small? Any ideas?
Another important point is finding the ideal aperture for the sharpest images. Unlike film where generally the smaller the aperture the sharper the image, with digital cameras because of the close proximity of the sensor to the lens this 'rule of thumb' does not apply. It is worth setting the camera up to find the 'sharpest' image with the least distortion. On my camera, for example, the best overall aperture is f11 even though the lens stops down to f22.
I'm now looking into the Hyperdrive as you recommended, I was getting concerned by the number of memory cards I seem to be acquiring!
Even when shooting in raw only and not jpeg or raw-plus-jpeg?
your histogram is an excellent tool. As with all tools, you have to get to know it - just the same as your light meter. In film, every stock would have a different curve. Each sensor and camera differs. Histograms are pretty linear, mapping tones from 0 to 255 normally in 8 bit, so you're right in that it is similar to jpeg. With a raw file, it is worth getting to know how much genuine headroom you have in the highlights, but to be honest, I would be careful about pushing it too far. The shots in the article are some of the best balanced exposures that I have ever seen of mountain photography. I haven't put them through a vectorscope or waveform monitor, I am going by eye.
I find with digital imaging in general the key is to peg the higlights and put them right against the top of the "legal" (to use a film/video term) just inside of the point where they blow out. If you stop down too far, things get mushy. Even with the extra latitude of RAW, that is tight tolerance, a bit better than slide but not as much as black and white film. Does that check out with other people's experience??
That's very strange. I'm sure I posted on here last night pointing out that this great article has been published on line at climbing.com for a number of months already, and I think its rather strange this isn't acknowledged at all. But my comment seems to have gone...
It's Alexandre Buisse's article and is credited and acknowledged to him.
More Alexandre's work here too:
Alexandre Photo Gallery at UKC
Alexandre, I have a question please about the Think Tank belt. Does this sit above your rucksack hip belt?
Simply stunning photo's! Thanks for the great article.
Good article - enjoyed reading that.
I have a G1 micro 4/3 set up which is considerably lighter and a bit more compact than DSLRS mates are using.
the lack of mirror box might allay Grumpy's fears about moisture.
FOr what I need and my level it fulfills pretty much everything, my only gripe is that the range of lenses is limited at present.
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