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Inside passage cruising

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:46 am
by jba1951
I am shortly heading for Canada and taking a cruise from Vancouver along the inside passage up to Seward and then on to Anchorage.

Does anyone have any tips as to which lenses and especially for getting the exposure right for the snow and the ice of the glaciers?

I have the 400D and am thinking my Sigma 17-70 and Canon 70-200 plus the 1.4 extender might do the job?

Comments appreciated.


PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 2:36 am
by Gordon Laing
Wow, that's a trip I've always wanted to do! It's supposed to be awesome!

If I'm thinking right, you'll probably be faced with lots of wildlife opportunities and of course some massive landscapes. (Not unlike a Fjordland cruise in New Zealand!)

So you'll want a general purpose zoom with a good wide angle for the landscape shots and something powerful for those close-ups or wildlife shots. The focal lengths you've mentioned should be fine, but your problem will be the time taken to switch lenses if a quick opportunity arises and you've got the wrong one attached.

I witnessed a situation in Fjordland where a photographer had a wide zoom for landscapes and an 80-400mm for wildlife, but I swear he always seemed to have the wrong lens on when either a pod of dolphins swam by or a shaft of light struck the mountains.

I was also shooting with one body and two lenses, and while I was luckier, I still missed some shots due to changing lenses. The lesson I learnt there was rather than always looking for a new lens to upgrade to, sometimes the best thing you can do is have a spare body, so you have both your wide and long lenses ready for action. The other option is of course to go for a super zoom lens from wide angle to telephoto, but Canon owners are sadly limited in this respect.

I guess the big question is to find out if the wildlife opportunities will be fairly predictable or quite at chance. If the former, then it sounds like your suggested kit is fine.

As for snow and ice, they often fool a camera into underexposing, so the trick is to set your exposure compensation to, say, +1 EV. Since the conditions vary though, I'd carefully check your histograms and if you see an amazing composition, shoot it several times with exposure bracketing to play safe. If you have a laptop with you, again review your images at the day-end and see if there's any way they can be improved for the next day.

Shooting in RAW also gives you greater latitude for tweaking - I'd always go for it if you see a great composition. I'd also consider manually setting the white balance to avoid unwanted colour casts - again shooting in RAW gives you the flexibility of later adjustment.


Inside passage cruising

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:12 am
by jba1951
Many thanks Gordon.

I was mulling over the point you made about swapping lenses and you have answered another question for me.

Much and all as I would love a second SLR body, budgets won't permit. But I have had very good results with my S2IS on fine days, set at ISO 50 and using the large/superfine file settings. I will take it and have it handy.

On a murky day it is not so useful, as I find ISO 100 and above are quite noisy. I will email some water lilies I shot using this camera at the longest focal lenght, quite beautiful and very sharp.

Thanks for the tips re the ice etc.

I have yet to try the raw option as don't get much time to do the editing, but I will give it a go. I have the Digital Photo Professional that came with the 400D.

Cheers, Bernard

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:45 am
by Gordon Laing
Hi Bernard, RAW files are a great way of recording everything your camera captured, while giving you the flexibility of tweaking later. Once you've seen how easy it is to adjust the white balance on your computer after the event, you'll be converted! (ho ho, pun intended!).

I tend to travel very light without a laptop though, so storage space is limited to my memory cards. Consequently I don't use RAW all the time. Instead I'll only shoot RAW for shots which I know are either going to be really nice, or where I'm having exposure / white balance problems. When shooting RAW, I also tend to go for RAW plus JPEG mode so I do at least have a JPEG that's ready for use without needing to process the RAW file.

Your S2IS also sounds like a great backup body. If you have your 70-200 on your 400D for a wildlife shot and see a nice landscape but don't have time to swap lenses, at least you won't have missed it...

Looking forward to seeing your shots of Lillies! (pop them in the Flower and macro section - cheers!)


Inside passage cruising

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:46 am
by jba1951
Thanks Gordon.

I shall have a go at the RAW suggestion but take the JPEG as well as you suggest.

Pardon my techo ignorance, but how do I put photos into a section on the site?



PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:28 am
by Gordon Laing
Hi Bernard, do you mean how do you post images into message on this forum? If so...

To post a photo directly into this forum, simply make a copy of it, resize it to around 500 pixels wide, save it as a JPEG, then upload it to your own website.

Then take the URL (web address) for the photo including http:// and in your post on this forum, type [img]immediately%20before%20the%20URL%20and[/img] immediately afterwards. Don't use any spaces. You can then preview the posting before submitting it to make sure it's worked.

OR, the easier (and less bandwidth heavy) option is to create a flickr account at, upload your photos, and simply post a link to the ones you want to show us!

Looking forward to seeing them!