Looking for Equipment Recommendations - Hawaii

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by pooua, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. pooua

    pooua Guest

    I am planning a 2-week trip to Hawaii around January. I have a Canon
    EOS Rebel G 35 mm camera; a 35-80 mm kit lens; an EF 28-135 mm IS USM
    lens; a Velbon El Carmagne 540 tripod; a Minolta DiMage G500 5 MP
    digital camera; and a Canon ZR60 miniDV video camera. I plan to visit 7
    of the 8 main Hawaiian group islands (I have the option to add the
    remaining island, but I don't know that I want to spend another $350
    for it). I want to photograph as much of the islands as I can (mostly
    landscape shots and close-up nature shots), from many different angles.
    I plan to spend at most 3 days on any single island.

    I expect that I will need a zoom lens and a wide-angle lens. How much
    zoom would be useful? Would 300 mm have much use in Hawaii? How about
    500 mm? I saw a 500 mm "mirrored lens" (?) zoom lens at Wolf Camera,
    but I don't know how it is designed to be used; I would prefer image
    stabilized lenses.

    What is the best way to carry photographic equipment? Is a backpack or
    a duffel bag more useful?

    What film speeds are best? I am thinking of shooting with Velvia film
    ($130 for 700 exposures from Wolf Camera), though the salesman warned
    me that it is a very slow film (but beautiful if used in bright light
    with a tripod or IS lens).

    My Canon Rebel G comes with mid-roll rewind. Does the use of that
    feature sacrifice the unexposed remainder of the roll? If not, how
    would I resume shooting where I had rewound?

    I probably will pick up a disposable underwater camera, though I don't
    forsee my spending very much time under water. If I try to shoehorn one
    more major activity into this vacation, I might need a hospital stay
    when I return. However, the local dive shop says I still have time to
    become scuba certified. That, in addition to attending college, working
    full time and planning and equipping myself for this trip.

    Does anyone have any other equipment recommendations?

    Thank you.
     
    pooua, Sep 4, 2005
    #1
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  2. pooua

    Andrew Venor Guest

    You might want to consider learning to dive with a resort course. That
    is where you take the classroom, and pool phases at home, and then
    complete your training by taking the open water part of the course at a
    Hawaiian resort or dive shop.

    ALV
     
    Andrew Venor, Sep 4, 2005
    #2
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  3. I expect that I will need a zoom lens and a wide-angle lens. How much
    I don't think you'll be happy with a mirror lens.

    For the long range, I would recommend the 75-300 IS.

    And I would get a wide angle for landscapes - try to pick up a used
    17mm or 22mm.
    A great idea, and a lot of fun.

    -Joel
     
    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Sep 4, 2005
    #3
  4. I think you're being overly ambitious. 7 islands in 14 days? Not enough
    time or way too many islands. One or the other. I spent 7 nights and 8
    days on just one -- The Big Island -- shot for 5 days and scratched only
    the surface of what was available. Didn't go to the observatory on Mauna
    Kea or descend into Waipio Valley or tour the Parker Ranch or go to South
    Point, etc., etc. Not enough time. But even with all the places I didn't
    go, I still shot around 700 very discriminating exposures.
    You already have a good zoom, the 28-135, which should do for most
    "landscape" and travel-type shots. A 20mm or wider lens (prime or zoom)
    will come in handy. I took a 20 on my trip and used it quite frequently.

    As far as a long lens, unless you intend to shoot surfers on those big
    North Shore waves -- not much other wildlife in Hawaii that you can't get
    close to -- or are into compressed perspective scenic/travel shots, the
    135 focal length should do. I took a 180 with a 2X extender and only used
    that combo a few times. Mostly when I needed a long lens, the 180 by
    itself was sufficient. Of course, I didn't do any surfing shots. Not
    much good surf on the Big Island.
    I put all my stuff, except a lightweight Bogen/Manfrotto tripod, in one F2
    Original Domke bag. Here's my Big Island trip equipment list: 2 Nikon
    FM2 bodies w/o motordrives, 20, 24, 28-70, 35, 85, 180 + matched 2X
    extender, Vivitar 285 flash with Quantum battery, filters, Minolta IIIF
    and Soligor 1 degree spot meters, 12" Wescott folding diffuser,
    monopod, notebook, pens, pencils, small tool kit, and room left over for
    10 rolls of film.
    I opted for 100 speed chrome for everything. I figured if I needed
    faster, I would buy it once I got there. I didn't need it. Although, the
    monopod did come in handy, especially in the rainforest and other heavily
    forested areas.
    Don't know how the G does it. When I need to change film mid-roll, a very
    rare occurance, I just rewind until I feel the leader come off the takeup
    spool, open the camera, and with a Sharpie write on the leader the number
    of exposures taken, put the roll back in the film can, which I mark as
    partially exposed, and put in a special place in my bag away from
    unexposed and fully exposed film. When I reload the roll, I leave on the
    lens cap, set the lens to the smallest f-stop, shutter to the highest
    speed, and advance the film to 2 to 3 frames PAST what was exposed. With
    this method, I've never double exposed a previous exposure. Mostly, I
    never reload in mid-roll. That's one reason I carry another body or two.
    Leave the scuba for another day. Without special underwater flash, you
    won't get any decent shots deeper than 10 feet or so, usually shallower.
    Below 10 feet, the water starts filtering out all the other colors except
    blue. So, by 30 feet or so, everything will be blue or very bluish.

    So, if you want to do underwater stuff not invovling getting about $1000
    to $2000 worth of specialized photo gear, all you'll need is mask, snorkel
    and fins.
    Think I've recommended more than enough.

    Stefan
     
    Stefan Patric, Sep 4, 2005
    #4
  5. pooua

    Andrew Venor Guest

    And with that said, here is a list of lenses that I will be taking with
    me to Maui next week to use on my Canon 300D.

    Tamron 17-35 f2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical
    Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM
    Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM

    I thought about taking my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II as well, but I might
    leave that spot in my bag open to store my Magellan GPS instead.

    The other thing I might add is that trying to do seven islands in 14
    days won't give you enough time on any of the islands to see much
    besides the airports. You might find it more relaxing and productive to
    cut back and concentrate on one or two islands this trip and save the
    rest for the future. On my previous two trips to Hawaii I concentrated
    on Oahu and the Big Islands each time. And I know the week I spent on
    each island only scratched the surface of what is there to see.

    ALV
     
    Andrew Venor, Sep 4, 2005
    #5
  6. pooua

    pooua Guest

    Normally, you would be correct. But, I'm not actually going to Hawaii
    to take pictures. I am going to Hawaii because, when I was ages 5 to 7,
    my family was stationed aboard Barber's Point Naval Air Station in
    Waipahu, Hawaii. My Mom promised me several times that we would go to
    the Big Island, some day. I was really looking forward to that. But, it
    did not happen. Instead, we moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    I am going to Hawaii to revisit my childhood home and VISIT THE BIG
    ISLAND!!

    Everything else is extra, things I'm doing because I might as well do
    them while I am there. After all, it's been 32 years since I was last
    in Hawaii; there is no telling if I will ever be there, again.

    Barber's Point NAS was decomissioned several years ago. I hope to see
    it before they bulldoze it into a Wal-Mart parking lot.

    And, yes, there isn't enough time. I know that. I probably would want
    to spend a day just walking around where I used to live. Maybe a week.
    I still remember playing there. I remember my friends. I remember
    starting my first days in school there. I remember our front yard was
    full of stickers, and our back yard was full of kaovi thorns.
    Thanks, I'll be looking for a good wide lens on eBay.
    .... I just bought a Velbon 540 tripod ...
    Thanks for the list.
    I hope to be able to take photographs from aircraft. I expect to take
    at least one helicopter tour, and maybe a fixed-wing tour. I also plan
    to attempt a visit to the Mauna Kia telescopes.

    [snip]
    Good points. Also, I have to make my dives after my visit to the Big
    Island. Because of the altitude on Mauna Kia, tour companies won't take
    people to the top within 24 hours of scuba diving.
    Thank you.
     
    pooua, Sep 5, 2005
    #6
  7. pooua

    Annika1980 Guest

    My Mom promised me several times that we would go to
    Could've been worse. Could've been Longview, Texas.
    They should rename that island, "THE BIG UGLY."
    Photographically speaking, you'd do much better spending more time on
    Maui or Kauai.
    http://www.pbase.com/bret/maui

    As for equipment, I'd recommend traveling light.
    And keep the equipment with you and not left in the car.

    The 28-135 IS will probably serve you well, especially on a film body.
    I prefer digital myself, of course.
    Not much use for long lenses on Hawaii. The only time I used mine was
    shooting surfers.

    Since you'll have a tripod, don't forget to get some shots of the night
    sky.
    Go up on Haleakula or Mauna Kea and it will scare you how many stars
    you can see.
    I wish I'd done more of that. Maybe next time....

    Forget the mid-roll rewind. You'll screw up more times than not. I've
    got some very interesting
    double-exposures by trying to save a half roll of film. Ever seen a
    deer and a wedding couple in the same shot? Gives new meaning to
    "caught in the headlights." Either buy film with less exposures per
    roll or score a second body to have loaded with the different emulsion.
    Of course, digital doesn't have this problem.

    I'd recommend renting or borrowing a 20D for the trip and a sharp wide
    angle lens like the 24-70L.
    The only drawback to going Totally Digital in Hawaii is that you'll
    either have to have lotsa memory cards or a way (laptop) to download
    all your pics each day. Film is easier in that respect, but the
    disadvantages of film make it less attractive, IMO.
    Either way, have fun and take lotsa pics. Better to take too many than
    too few, that's what I say.
     
    Annika1980, Sep 5, 2005
    #7
  8. pooua

    pooua Guest

    Chattanooga as I remember it was worse than Longview. We moved
    initially to the industrial side of Chattanooga, which was old, poor
    and suffering from urban decay. I remember driving past a big billboard
    every day that had a picture of what appeared to be a naked man
    scrunched up inside a hypodermic needle, with a caption saying it was
    Hell. This was over by some old industrial yards next to the freeway.

    Longview doesn't have much going for it, but it is much smaller. The
    "ghetto" section of Chattanooga is larger than the entirety of
    Longview. True, 3 decades makes a difference. Soon after I moved to
    Longview, the City condemned and confiscated by eminent domain the
    properties on a certain street intersection, where throngs of people
    engaged in all manner of low-brow activities, including illegal drugs
    and prostitution. But, notice that was only one street intersection;
    that's all that Longview really had like that (though I must admit that
    those throngs of people have simply moved to other parts of town).
    I want to see the observatory on Mauna Kea and I want to see an active
    volcano. That requires me to visit the Big Island. Besides, it is *the*
    island!
    OK, maybe I can save money on equipment?
    It would seem to me that the night sky is pretty much the same
    anywhere. I've travelled across Texas at night, and the sky is amazing.
    Of course, it is all lost inside the cities. But, I've been around the
    McDonald Observatory at night (OK, so it rained that night, I was still
    there at night).

    I may not be able to go up Mauna Kea, either, as there are frequent
    storms in January. We are going try it, though.
    Yes, I prefer digital, too, but it has some serious drawbacks, too.

    I've run around in heavy rain, taking photos with my Canon EOS Rebel G
    and my old Olympus C-3040. I'm not sure I would want to try that with a
    Canon 20D. I hear that they don't take well to water. Then, there is
    the price. I could buy 5 of the Rebel G for what it would take for me
    to buy a single 20D.

    I'm taking my little point-and-shoot Minolta Dimage G500 for the
    majority of my pictures. I love to take snapshots, and I take about 10k
    of them a year. I'll leave the better shots to my film camera.

    I might yet break down and buy a nice digital SLR, but not until
    November. I'll let prices settle a bit. But, I must admit, it is a real
    pain having to deal with film, especially because I insist on scanning
    all of my photos, instead of allowing the labs to make prints. Scanning
    500 exposures is not a trivial task. Downloading 500 digital photos
    into my computer only takes a few minutes and little interaction on my
    part.
    Thanks!
     
    pooua, Sep 5, 2005
    #8
  9. pooua

    Hunt Guest

    For a 2-wk trip to just two islands, I took D70, 12>24, 24>50, 35>135 (with
    limited macro), 105 Micro and tubes, 80>200 and 300, plus about 16GB of CF
    storage. Didn't use the 300 much.

    One comment though, with the exception of Lanai, each island has four distinct
    regions and each is unique. Three days/island is hardly enough to even visit
    each region, much less capture anything but snapshots photographically. Then,
    there is the ever-present "weather." While a whirl-wind trip can be great fun,
    I'd be more concerned about seeing, than really photographing on such an
    expedition. Also, Jan-Feb can be a bit taxing with an abundance of high-level
    clouds.

    Hunt
     
    Hunt, Sep 5, 2005
    #9
  10. pooua

    Hunt Guest

    Regarding the downloading of the digital images, I got good reviews on King
    Photo, and had planned to use them (Oahu, Maui, Hawai'i-Kona) for burning
    CD's, but didn't need them. Might be worth a look, or maybe an i-Pod/Epson
    2000/ Nikon CW, etc. However, CF's are fairly cheap. Sixty -> 80 GB of storage
    can come in handy.

    Hunt
     
    Hunt, Sep 5, 2005
    #10
  11. pooua

    -hh Guest

    A Resort Course is generically a good idea, but it still requires 2
    days of diving to finish off the dive Certification: 4 checkout dives
    @ 2 dives/day.

    As such, with only 3 days on any one island, between airport transfers
    (coming & going) and with "dive-to-fly" safety restrictions, the bottom
    line is that its going to be very difficult to pull this off.


    Plus, as another person commented, UW photography isn't exactly an easy
    task, partly due to the light absorbtion properties of water (reds get
    lost first, and very rapidly). The simple bottom line here is that an
    UW disposable compatible with snorkeling depths is the only "quick,
    easy, cheap" option.

    For full-blown UW photo with a Rebel, the OP is roughly looking at:

    a) $600 for an Ikelite housing for the Rebel SLR
    b) $500-$2000 for 1 small to 2 large UW Strobes for same
    c) $300-$1000 for the right lens/ports/gears combinations
    d) $1500 worth of (warmwater) diving gear

    PLUS:

    e) $2000-$4000 for 50-100 dives worth of diving experience.

    This last one is probably the most important, since one really needs to
    have gained scuba experience so as to become reasonably skilled at the
    basic task of diving before one increases your work taskloadings by
    adding an UW camera. Otherwise, they risk becoming a 'reef crasher'
    who ends up damaging the reef habitat that they're alledgedly trying to
    enjoy and photograph because they tried to add too many new things at
    once, and the inevitable result is a crappy diver who takes crappy
    photo's.


    -hh
     
    -hh, Sep 6, 2005
    #11
  12. Then, do it up right: Stay a month!!! That should give you more than
    enough time for long, remembering walks and extensive photography of 7
    islands. And it will be cheaper than doing another 2 weeks in 10 or 20
    years, if ever.

    Okay. So, a month is out of the question, but 3 weeks isn't.

    And as a girl friend, who left the Big Island -- Hilo, specifically --
    years ago to see the world, is fond of saying: "Take time to smell the
    flowers."

    Oh, and by the way, her favorite Hawaiian island is Maui, where she
    returns periodically to "...cleanse my soul, renew my spirit, and get
    back on "Hawaiian Time."" ;-)

    Stefan
     
    Stefan Patric, Sep 7, 2005
    #12
  13. pooua

    Proconsul Guest

    On 9/6/05 6:59 PM, in article
    , "Stefan Patric" wrote:

    She's right, you got yourself a "keeper" - make sure you work hard to "keep"
    her.....:)

    PC
     
    Proconsul, Sep 7, 2005
    #13
  14. Way ahead of you. Already have...

    Stefan
     
    Stefan Patric, Sep 9, 2005
    #14
  15. pooua

    Proconsul Guest

    On 9/8/05 7:14 PM, in article
    Don't let up.....:)

    PC
     
    Proconsul, Sep 9, 2005
    #15
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