Guide to Wilderness Photography and Timelapse Filming

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Every time I get again from an enormous journey, associates ask the way it went. Inevitably I need to reply, “it concerned numerous distress and sleep-deprivation, however I feel a number of the footage turned out.” …If this sounds acquainted, you is perhaps a wilderness panorama and nightscape photographer.

This text is about my adventures through the years, and the photographs I captured with no matter digital camera gear I had on the time. I’ve spent loads of time on a reasonably tight gear finances, and thru the assistance of rental corporations similar to Lensrentals.com, I’ve additionally been lucky to have had entry to a few of the greatest gear available on the market.

How to do Landscape Photography

Nikon D800e, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.Eight
This picture is a stack of ~90 minutes value of back-to-back Four-minute exposures.

Landscape Photography Tutorial

Nikon D5300, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.Eight
This picture is a stack of ~90 minutes value of back-to-back exposures for the earth, plus a single 30-second publicity of the sky.

The First Rule of Timelapse and Nightscape Images: You Can By no means Have Too Many Cameras

As a timelapse and nightscape photographer, it’s not so simple as choosing the one greatest digital camera and lens for the journey you’re planning. As a result of when doing timelapse, every artistic concept you might have might occupy your digital camera for hours at a time. Whilst a common nightscape photographer, one ultimate picture might take 15-30 minutes or extra to shoot.

Landscape Photography tutorial Lensrentals

Nikon D700, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.Eight
This picture is ~60 minutes value of back-to-back 30 sec exposures

That’s why I like to hold a number of techniques with me at any given time. On the very least I wish to journey with two cameras, each of that are able to skilled outcomes. One digital camera to shoot a timelapse with, and one other digital camera to shoot both nonetheless pictures or one other timelapse. If potential although, I’ll deliver three and even 4 cameras on an journey in order that I can seize 2-Three time-lapses concurrently and nonetheless be capable of shoot nonetheless photographs as properly.

Often, this implies bringing at the least one full-frame digital camera, typically two, plus no less than one or two APS-C cameras, and eventually, perhaps one or two 1” sensor compact cameras and even my trusty GoPro Hero 5.

Landscape Photography Example

Mammoth Scorching Springs, Winter 2015
Sony RX10 mk2

Deciding Which Digital camera(s) to Tackle an Journey

Recently, a whole lot of my adventures have been deliberate round a single photographic objective. Typically that is a unprecedented occasion similar to a photo voltaic or lunar eclipse, different occasions it's a extra seasonal phenomenon similar to a wildflower bloom, or the alignment of the Milky Means or a moonrise over a scene.

Eclipse Photo Example

Lunar eclipse path, Laguna Seashore California
Nikon D800e, Rokinon 14mm f/2.Eight
This picture is ~Three hours value of back-to-back Four-minute exposures

Lunar Eclipse Photo Example

Lunar eclipse, Laguna Seashore California
Nikon D5300, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.Eight VR2
This picture is 2 exposures blended for dynamic vary

Apart from the significance of an occasion itself, the space and depth of a hike is one other issue that influences what number of cameras I can convey. If I’m solely going to be a number of steps away from my automotive, the choice is straightforward: deliver every part I feel I may need. If I’m going to be trekking many miles into the wilderness for days on finish, nevertheless, the choices develop into somewhat bit extra complicated. Suffice it to say; inevitably I someway handle to pack both too few cameras or too many. Murphy’s regulation, I assume.

Landscape Photography Example

Canon Insurgent T2i, Rokinon 16mm f/2

My Favourite Full-Body Digital camera for Journey and Timelapse Images

My full-frame digital camera of selection is at present the Nikon D750, for its versatile stability of picture high quality, portability, and affordability. Different cameras within the D750’s worth vary do supply comparable picture high quality in a light-weight package deal, admittedly, nevertheless, none of them additionally supply twin card slots and hand-me-down flagship autofocus, which sadly is one thing I want for my “day job,” wedding ceremony images.

For many adventures recently, I’ve most popular my Nikon D750, nevertheless every now and then I’ve opted to purchase/lease/borrow a higher-resolution digital camera physique. The Nikon D800e and Nikon D810 have served me nicely on a couple of adventures, as has the Sony A7RII. Nevertheless, as an all-around unbelievable digital camera, I need to admit I’m curious concerning the Nikon D850, however I really feel it might be silly to not wait and see what the D750’s successor can supply.

Solar Eclipse over Alpine Lake, in the Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho

Photo voltaic Eclipse over Alpine Lake, within the Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho
Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.Eight

24 megapixels is an effective candy spot for a panorama and timelapse photographer although; it’s sufficient to make massive prints with confidence, but not an excessive amount of overkill for journeys once I come house with 10,000 or extra timelapse frames. One factor that helps considerably is Nikon’s full number of uncooked high quality choices; I exploit 14-bit lossless NEF for many nonetheless capturing, and 12-bit compressed (sure, lossy) for many timelapse capturing. This makes a noticeable distinction in maintaining storage consumption down on longer adventures.

Lens Decisions for Landscapes & Timelapses

One of the best full-frame lens for the job depends upon the job. When capturing “conventional” landscapes at tight apertures, I don't want quick glass, and I go for a pointy f/Four or variable aperture zoom or two. The Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR is an unimaginable mate to my D750, and the mixture has served me properly for a few years.

Landscape Photography Tutorial

Winter Within the Sierras, January 2016
Nikon D750, Nikon 24-120mm f/Four VR

The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 is a go-to lens for any astro-landscape photographer, in fact, and the quite a few ones I’ve used through the years have all served me properly. (Apart from the one I purchased on eBay that had been dropped on concrete. I returned it instantly.)

Landscape Photography Consultation Lake

Sundown over Session Lake within the Whitney Zone, August 2014
Nikon D800e, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.Eight
Three-image vertical panorama

I don’t shoot many telephoto pictures, so I’ve but to spend money on a “critical” telephoto panorama lens just like the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 VR. As soon as, out of curiosity, I purchased Nikon’s lightest telephoto zoom, an previous movie period 80-200mm f/Four.5-5.6 lens, on eBay for $25. It was not as sharp as I’d needed it to be, however for a meager $25 and 11 ounces, I convey it on backpacking journeys the place I feel I'd take at the very least a couple of telephoto photographs.

Landscape Photos

Moonrise at Dawn, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona
Nikon D750, Nikon 80-200mm f/Four.5-5.6 AF-D

Timelapse and Nightscape Images on Mirrorless Cameras

A query I get requested ceaselessly is, “what concerning the new Sony A— full-frame mirrorless digital camera, have you ever tried that?”

Certainly, I've tried them. All besides the Sony A9, which I've little interest in anyway, not for landscapes (I’d quite have a Sony A7RII) or timelapse. (I’d relatively have a Sony A7SII). It might be hypocritical of me to “slam” mirrorless methods, although, as a result of in some (although& not all) instances they are often lighter weight than a DSLR setup, and weight financial savings when climbing a number of miles could make an enormous distinction.

So, why haven’t I switched but, as somebody who buys and sells digital camera gear fairly compulsively? Primarily as a result of most of some great benefits of the Sony system usually are not ones that assist a timelapse or nightscape photographer, (IBIS, and so forth.) whereas the disadvantages, sadly, do considerably hinder me. (battery life, viewfinder and LCD brightness management at night time.)

Landscape Photography with Sony

The Milky Approach over Sawtooth Lake, Idaho
Sony A7R mk2, Sony FE 12-24mm f/Four

I do use Sony FE cameras typically, although, and once I do, I convey an exterior 7.5-volt energy supply that's related on to a dummy battery. That is the one sensible approach to shoot on lengthy journeys within the wilderness with any Sony digital camera that also makes use of the NP-FW50 battery.


Powering a 36 hour timelapse of the August 2017 photo voltaic eclipse

If Nikon, Canon, or Sony can ship an reasonably priced full-frame mirrorless digital camera with an enormous battery and the appropriate sensor for my capturing wants, then I’ll contemplate it. A direct DC-IN port (not simply USB) just like the older pro-Nikons all had can be an enormous bonus.

APS-C Cameras for Panorama and Timelapse Images

As a lot as I might like to deliver two full-frame cameras all over the place, I typically select a 2nd digital camera that may be a light-weight APS-C physique and a devoted APS-C lens. Fortunately, a good variety of APS-C kits lately supply unimaginable efficiency that I really feel isn’t a compromise in any respect!

My present favourite digital camera for light-weight journey is the GPS-enabled Nikon D5300. In fact, in case you do your personal GPS logging with an exterior gadget then any of the late mannequin Nikon D5— collection cameras have about the identical implausible picture high quality. Nevertheless the D5300 is the most cost effective of the bunch, so I’ll keep it up.&

I’m not too frightened concerning the lack of climate sealing or common robustness of this newbie DX collection of cameras; I often know what I’m getting myself into once I exit into the wilderness, and I take slightly additional care to guard un-sealed cameras in nasty climate. It doesn't matter what digital camera I’m utilizing, if I’m doing a timelapse for any prolonged interval, I often put a bag over my the digital camera anyhow. (It's value noting, nevertheless, that even on the event that I did overlook to bag my cameras, …all of them survived an in depth deicing ordeal simply nice!)

Utilizing Devoted APS-C Lenses

For critical panorama photographers, there are quite a few wide-angle mid-range lenses which might be greater than ok to impress even a full-frame consumer. Certainly one of my favourite common journey lenses is the Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4; it’s a wicked-sharp lens that doubles as a superb astro-landscape lens because of its f/2.Eight aperture on the large finish.

Palomar Mountain, San Diego California
Nikon D500, Nikon 16-80mm f/2.Eight-Four DX

My favourite go-to APS-C lens, nevertheless, is the Rokinon 16mm f/2, it's merely probably the most spectacular 24mm equal lens I've ever shot with; it rivals any full-frame 24mm prime at most any aperture. When you get a great copy and take excellent care of it, that's.

White Pocket, Arizona
Nikon D5300, Rokinon 16mm f/2 DX

Pink-hot winter dawn, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona
Nikon D5300, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.Eight DX, Tiffen 9-stop ND filter
Single publicity – 80 sec. @ f/9 & ISO 100

Final however not least, Tokina’s complete lineup of ultra-wide APS-C zooms are incredible, and naturally, my favorites as a nightscape photographer are the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and the Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8. For the parents who don’t shoot at night time at quick apertures, nevertheless, the Tokina 12-28mm f/Four is one other nice choice. Oppositely, for the parents who worth sheer velocity much more than the focal vary, the Tokina 14-20mm f/2 is an unique piece of package that's nicely value contemplating.

Compact Cameras for Panorama and Timelapse Images

Lastly, and admittedly least, I typically add a small 1” sensor digital camera to my backpack.

In case your legs, again, or shoulders are getting sore from an over-stuffed digital camera bag, and but one way or the other your price range continues to be prepared for extra, then a digital camera just like the Sony RX100 or Sony RX10 collection supply a unbelievable stability of respectable picture high quality and critical portability. You possibly can shoot as much as a 4K timelapse with the uncooked information and get respectable outcomes as much as ISO 1600, and even 3200 relying in your private requirements.


Sundown on the Huntington Seashore Pier, California
Sony RX10 Mark 2

Capturing stills on such a compact digital camera can be a noticeable compromise in printability. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered to easily be reasonable about which pictures I’m going to be printing large, and which pictures I’m simply capturing to inform a smaller a part of the general story of the journey.

Seize a Digital camera and Go on an Journey

Typically I really feel that these days increasingly more negativity is being aimed on the “gearheads” in images. Truthfully, although, images is meant to be a enjoyable interest, and kit is simply a part of the enjoyable. So long as you keep away from any delusions about magical enhancements in your images when shopping for new gear, you’ll be nice.

I hope this temporary story will encourage different photographers to seize no matter digital camera gear they will and exit on an journey!

Take care, and journey safely.

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