Going to take the wife's new ride on a road trip week after next, and will meander our way back towards ABQ and perhaps into AZ (she has never seen the Grand Canyon.)
She has never been to Carlsbad either, and that will be on the agenda.
Has anyone ever shot there, or in a cavern setting?
Sounds like a great trip ... I love driving the southwest.
When my wife and I moved to LA from NYC we tried to find and drive as many sections of old Route 66 as we could.
Never been to Carlsbad Caverns. But from what I've seen online, the caverns are lit up with some dramatic lighting.
If I were planning on taking pics there I would certainly be thinking about bringing a fast wide-angle lens. From the online images, it looks like the caverns have areas where they are big and massive and other areas which are more closed in and tight. When you are inside them, I'm pretty sure you're going to want a fairly wide-angle lens to capture the scope of the place.
Some areas in the photos I've seen look very well lit, while many others are lit with colored lights with lots of shadows.
I have a 17-55mm 2.8 lens for my Canon 7D. I would certainly bring something like that.
If you have a prime wide-angle that's really fast, I'd definitely think about bringing that along.
Personally, I would also bring along my Lumix DMC-LX5 which has a super fast Leica lens. I'd use that to shoot 16:9 format shots in the widest setting for a panorama look without needing to photo stitch. That camera creates wonderfully saturated colors ... perfect for something like these caverns. I have to say, so many times I end up preferring what I've shot with this "pocket" camera to what I've shot with my big and heavy 7D.
Well, I have the Tokina 11-16 2.8 that I can bring along, and also the Nikkor 18-200 3.5
I don't want to schlep a whole bunch of stuff around, but I'm thinking the Nikkor isn't going to be fast enough without a tripod. Heck, I don't even know if they will let tripods in.
For most situations, the Tokina would be fine, but there are a few chambers that are so large, the zoom would sure come in handy.
Looking forward to the drive. Hopefully I can get my wife to sit still long enough to make it to Monument Valley, Arches, or Zion. Here's to hoping.
Don't know why they wouldn't let people bring in tripods, but like you said, you don't want to schlep a lot of stuff around.
Do you have a monopod? That might come in handy for the Nikkor lens.
This sort of thing is why I've invested in fast lenses with image stabilization. They're pricey, but often let you shoot more often with natural light while leaving the tripod at home.
We did CC and most of NM/northern AZ last summer on our 13,000 mile, 2 month Road Trip. I could write a novella, but CC and area opins of mine are:
-CC is definitely worth the half day down below.
-Do the self guided tour: start at walk down in Natural Entrance, walk through and return via elevator.
-Plan on 2-4 hours, esp stopping to shoot pics.
-A few serious photogs had a mono pod; I had a small gorilla pod, which I only used infrequently. Yes, tripods, mono pods, etc are permitted.
-A group of Japanese pro shooters were doing loooong time exposures with a 'colored laser like pointer light': I saw some of their shots on camera back and they were astounding.
-I took many pics with std on cam flash, (so-so results), and many with handheld, at Iso 1600, 1200, etc. The IS in my Canon 40D let me get away with many of those, as some of the cavern area 'scenes' are light up pretty well. Be sure to set you WB to incandescent for non flash pics.
-The scale of some of the cavern 'rooms' are almost sci-fi in size, and I had no idea how to shoot that kind of scale....we just walked and looked in awe.
-the 'walk ways' and occasionally steps are dark and sometimes slick; be careful.
-take/wear a light golf type wind shirt for the lower depths: it is cool down there.
-one has to dodge the school kids' groups, the idiots waddling through trying to shoot with their cell phones, etc. But, most cool scenes on the walk are shoot able if one is patient.
-Wish I had taken a fold up monopod...
-Eat a good b'fast or lunch before wandering down on your self guided tour.
CC NPS Site:
We went north from Carlsbad, through Roswell, (a pretty town full of UFO tourist crap), up to ABQ.
In ABQ, we hit the Museum of Nuclear Science, a very interesting overview of the 'discovery/history' of nuclear and its development through war time; some remarkable exhibits, imo.
Sandia Peak is worth the drive to summit for views and fun road, (11k+ feet),and the Tourquouise Trail from ABQ to Santa Fe, or vice versa, is a very good two lane blacktop:
Santa Fe is very good town, Taos is ok, if you or spouse want a brief art stop, though SF is loaded with art in the 'Canyon Road Art Gallery' area:
Grand Canyon: Have been there a dozen times; south rim is where 95% of the drive bys go to. It is packed on any day, esp weekends. One must park a ways away now, and walk/bus in. Get there early or late: the mid day sun is flat, crummy for pics, or just viewing. If time/dough permits a helio ride is worth it, one time, imo.
We did the North Rim this trip, as we had the time: it is nearly empty, and much different looking than south rim, but it is way out of most people's way, and only one way in and out.
I could go on and on, but hope my 50Cts is of help. We did 34 states and 4 provinces of CDA, and an Alaska cruise, but my fave states were not in any order: NM, AZ, UT, WY, MT, CO.
Have a great trip, and if possible, boogie down the fabulous 2 lane blacktops in lieu of the interstates, imo.
Full Tilt Boogie Set of our Road Trip on Flickr:
2,770 miles later...I'm back. I ended up lugging a tripod down and around for about 3 hours. To be honest, I could have spent more time than that. Multiple shots of each formation, and double or trying to triple check stupid things like focus. Hard to tell just looking at the lcd.
Here are a few, and if there's interest, more where these came from. Most were done F10 for anywhere from 15 to 25 seconds on the shutter. I set the WB to incandescent. No touch ups other than a resize.
Hall of Giants:
Rock of Ages:
Our trusty steed, Darth Lexus
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