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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Wildlife Talk 
Thread started 10 Dec 2012 (Monday) 14:53
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Yellowstone lens advice

 
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Dec 10, 2012 14:53 |  #1

I know there are lots of posts about which lens to take to Yellowstone but I'm still having a hard time making up my mind. I will be going to yellowstone for a week over January. I currently have a 100-400 and I was wondering if it would be worth renting a 500mm lens to take. Would it make enough difference to justify $300 it would cost to rent?




  
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EL_PIC
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Dec 10, 2012 14:57 |  #2
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asc wrote in post #15349859 (external link)
I know there are lots of posts about which lens to take to Yellowstone but I'm still having a hard time making up my mind. I will be going to yellowstone for a week over January. I currently have a 100-400 and I was wondering if it would be worth renting a 500mm lens to take. Would it make enough difference to justify $300 it would cost to rent?

Not worth the rental cost imo.


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Dec 12, 2012 08:05 |  #3

DEFINITELY worth the rental costs. Get a 1.4X TC too and make sure you have a quality tripod and a gimbal head---most rental places will have those as well.
It's very possible to take good photos in Yellowstone with just the 100-400, but there will be oh-so-many shots where the 400 won't be enough and you'll be kicking yourself for not having something longer. Actually, the best shots I have ever gotten in my ten visits to the park were with a 600mm with a TC.


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SteveHS
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Dec 14, 2012 12:31 |  #4

I've been to Yellowstone a couple of times with a 100-400mm. It was great, but I often would have loved to have a 500mm plus 1.4x. As I'm sure you appreciate, however, the larger lens plus tripod is not very portable, so for me the question would be how you plan to get to your shooting locations. If you can accommodate the larger rig, I'd go for it.


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sweetlu60
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Dec 14, 2012 18:44 |  #5

We shoot with both a 100-400 and a 600 with a 1.4x on it. The Lamar Valley is pretty wide, and you might get lucky with an up close shot of wolves, but you will have wanted the extra lens, unless you just want environmental shots. I seldom take off the teleconverter.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Dec 14, 2012 20:31 |  #6

The 500mm is definitely worth the rental cost - but, there is a lot more to it than just renting the lens. Using big supertelephotos effectively is somewhat of a specialized craft.

Stability is essential, and I'm not just talking about sticking it on a monopod and thinking that'll be "good enough". As Steve alluded to in his reply, you will need a very good, stable tripod - that means one with no center column. You will also need a gimbal style head like the Wimberley. The photographers that consistently produce stellar wildlife images at Yellowstone do not handhold or use monopods. Sure, anyone can get lucky and happen to get a sharp image with just a monopod on a supertelephoto - but the vast majority of the time it will just result in soft photos.

I have a 100-400, and it is always with me when I am in Yellowstone. But most days it never even comes out of the bag - there are just so few opportunties there that call for such a short lens. As others have said, they shoot with very long lenses, and still need the 1.4 converter almost all of the time.

If you do have to go with only a 100-400, then perhaps you can focus on elk and bison - each are very large animals that usually allow you to get as close as you want. They're great targets if you need to shoot with a shorter zoom! Typically one of the best elk areas open in winter is the Mammoth Hot Springs complex.


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MTAKMAN
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Dec 16, 2012 20:35 as a reply to  @ Tom Reichner's post |  #7

Check out bozemancamera.com ... they had a CANON 100-400 mm for $40 a day rental fee.
I would had rented it ... but I was on my way back home to Alaska. Hope this helps on your next trip to the park :)


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Dec 16, 2012 23:10 |  #8

Thanks for all the advice. I am aware that if I was to rent a super telephoto lens I would also have to rent a gimbal style head to throw on my tripod. You have all convinced me that it is worth renting a long lens. I'm just now looking for the cheapest way to do that!




  
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rick_reno
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Dec 16, 2012 23:21 |  #9

A January visit begs the question of how will you be getting around? Big lenses are...well...big and can be heavy to lug around on snowshoes. Next question, is this likely to be a once in a lifetime visit? Or is it easy for you to get back there? That would help determine what i take.




  
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Dec 16, 2012 23:30 |  #10

I will be doing some snowshoeing and also will have a car for driving around. This is a big trip for me and I am not sure when I will be able to go back so that is why I'm currently leaning towards renting a super telephoto lens so I can make the most out of the trip.

I would love any additional advice you guys have to offer about shooting wildlife in Yellowstone. This will be my first time going and I would love to get a little bit of inside knowledge.




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Dec 17, 2012 15:22 |  #11

asc wrote in post #15375708 (external link)
I would love any additional advice you guys have to offer about shooting wildlife in Yellowstone. This will be my first time going and I would love to get a little bit of inside knowledge.

My best advice for photographing Yellowstone's wildlife is: take what it gives you. By that I mean that you should thoroughly work whatever subjects you find - even if they were not what you had in mind when you planned your trip.

So many folks go to Yellowstone and are so focused on photographing Elk, Grizzly Bears, or Wolves that they ignore many wonderful opportunities to photograph the less popular speies, even though excellent opportunities to do so fall right into their lap. So often, the only opportunities they ever get with their intended targets are sub-par, and they return home with a very limited colection of images taken in poor light, or too far away, etc. And here they could've returned with a bunch of world-class images, if only they'd spent time with the species that they had found in good situations.

So, if you hapen to be lucky enough to find a Black-tailed Jackrabbit, or a Coyote, or a Common Goldeneye, or a beaver - then spend a lot of time with those subjects, and do everything you can to get the best images possible. Don't leave the subject until it runs off or flies away, or goes underground. Shoot 'em for all they're worth!

In winter, one of the more interesting species to shoot are Bighorn Sheep. You are most likely to find them along the north entrance road, between Mammoth and Gardiner, or out in the Lamar Valley along the Northeast Entrance Road.

Also, keep a lookout for Red Foxes in the Roosevelt area. If found, they are sometimes cooperative, and you may be able to capture good mousing behaviour.

Bison and Pronghorn are often found in the Lamar Valley in winter, and can often be photographed very effectively. Many Pronghorn will actually allow you to approach to within a reasonable distance - say 30 or 40 yards - so long as you take your time approaching, and do not walk too quickly, or directly toward them.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Dec 17, 2012 15:44 |  #12

Tom Reichner wrote in post #15378127 (external link)
My best advice for photographing Yellowstone's wildlife is: take what it gives you. By that I mean that you should thoroughly work whatever subjects you find - even if they were not what you had in mind when you planned your trip.

So many folks go to Yellowstone and are so focused on photographing Elk, Grizzly Bears, or Wolves that they ignore many wonderful opportunities to photograph the less popular speies, even though excellent opportunities to do so fall right into their lap. So often, the only opportunities they ever get with their intended targets are sub-par, and they return home with a very limited colection of images taken in poor light, or too far away, etc. And here they could've returned with a bunch of world-class images, if only they'd spent time with the species that they had found in good situations.

So, if you hapen to be lucky enough to find a Black-tailed Jackrabbit, or a Coyote, or a Common Goldeneye, or a beaver - then spend a lot of time with those subjects, and do everything you can to get the best images possible. Don't leave the subject until it runs off or flies away, or goes underground. Shoot 'em for all they're worth!

In winter, one of the more interesting species to shoot are Bighorn Sheep. You are most likely to find them along the north entrance road, between Mammoth and Gardiner, or out in the Lamar Valley along the Northeast Entrance Road.

Also, keep a lookout for Red Foxes in the Roosevelt area. If found, they are sometimes cooperative, and you may be able to capture good mousing behaviour.

Bison and Pronghorn are often found in the Lamar Valley in winter, and can often be photographed very effectively. Many Pronghorn will actually allow you to approach to within a reasonable distance - say 30 or 40 yards - so long as you take your time approaching, and do not walk too quickly, or directly toward them.

GREAT ADVISE!!!!!! ENJOY IT!


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Dec 18, 2012 03:13 |  #13

Thanks for all the great advice Tom! Look forward to being able to play around with a supertele and will definitely shoot everything!




  
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Jan 23, 2013 10:12 |  #14

Tom Reichner wrote in post #15378127 (external link)
My best advice for photographing Yellowstone's wildlife is: take what it gives you. By that I mean that you should thoroughly work whatever subjects you find - even if they were not what you had in mind when you planned your trip.

So many folks go to Yellowstone and are so focused on photographing Elk, Grizzly Bears, or Wolves that they ignore many wonderful opportunities to photograph the less popular speies, even though excellent opportunities to do so fall right into their lap. So often, the only opportunities they ever get with their intended targets are sub-par, and they return home with a very limited colection of images taken in poor light, or too far away, etc. And here they could've returned with a bunch of world-class images, if only they'd spent time with the species that they had found in good situations.

So, if you hapen to be lucky enough to find a Black-tailed Jackrabbit, or a Coyote, or a Common Goldeneye, or a beaver - then spend a lot of time with those subjects, and do everything you can to get the best images possible. Don't leave the subject until it runs off or flies away, or goes underground. Shoot 'em for all they're worth!

I came looking for Yellowstone advice for a trip this summer and found this nugget of advice for any photo trip. Thank you for reminding me to keep things in perspective. Yellowstone is just another photo trip. Sure its expensive and for many people a once in a life time event, but in the end the rules for shooting in your backyard are not that different.

Its like the super bowl... for the fans its hype and huge... for the player to be successful they need to treat it for what it is, another game on the schedule.


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Yellowstone lens advice
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