The most useful part of this post, might be where I link to other people at the end. hahaha.
Here are some possible gear set-ups for hiking and backpacking. Mainly, I’m thinking cheap and available.
11-16 and 50mm ultra wide angle + short tele (portrait lens)
18-55 normal zoom
70-200 longer zoom
There are two set-ups that I have used one is the 18-55 kit lens with the 50mm. I went hiking in Kauai and Oahu in Hawai’i. The other is just the 50mm on a trip on the Northern California Coast. This article is written mainly so I can figure out which lenses work best for me. I will update the article and eventually published a guide or pdf. Sign up to receive updates.
Impressions using the 18-55 and 50mm combo. The 50mm had the picture quality I wanted. For portraits or up-close shots, even shots hiking, it has the color and importantly separation from the background. Downsides were that once I put it on, I didn’t really switch lenses I was hiking in the jungle and in the rain. We hiked and did not stop or slow the pace to photograph. I mainly took pictures on rest breaks and snapshots as we hiked through. Given these limitations, I rarely switched out lenses once I put a lens on. I would have liked to have faster lens for hiking and taking pictures of people. For taking pictures of landscapes, well, I don’t need the speed. In fact, I should have had the camera at f8 because it was so sunny anyway Lots of work can be done in post if you want to adjust the mood. If you can get good bones on the photograph while out on the trail, that makes processing the photos later much shorter. Bones include fairly good exposure, sharpness and blur where it works, and outstanding composition (light, gesture, shape).
What are some solutions?
I could get a sigma 17-50 f2.8 and probably be done with it. Of course, I’d try it out before I left, but it may be able to get the same effects as the 50mm that I have, without having to carry an extra lens. I would just have to make sure it is still just as good. On the wide end, just make sure to stop it down to f4 or more (which I should be doing anyway) to keep it clear. This set-up would ostensibly get me to just one lens on hikes…but is it wide enough? LOL it is hard to say because I don’t have any gauge. I want to
I want to experiment with the tokina 11-16 f2.8 because of all the good reviews I’ve read about it and from seeing the photos on UnrealHawaii.com.
I think I should keep shooting with the kit lens and 50mm and be grateful for that. Take it to the limit. I need to figure out a way to decide if my pictures are good. What is a good goal?
Aren’t you supposed to take landscapes really wide angle?
Surprisingly, it was also fun to use the 50mm on landscape shots. I hadn’t thought that the 50mm (essentially a short telephoto on my crop body) would be all that useful on landscapes. Actually, the zoom helped me isolate important elements of the scene.
Can you share some fantastic resources for comparing lenses?
Oh the long search from which I’ve saved you. This video compares three of the most common fast, normal zooms for Canon. Tl:DR sigma is best value.
I wish he posted the gear he used on the West Coast Trail..This website is pretty useful because the author posts some of the gear he used on his hike trips. Check under “Photo Stories” and “Camera Gear”. Also….I wish he posted what gear he used on the West Coast Trail. Please. The photography is crazy good and lots of hiking / trip centered ones. http://www.hikingphoto.com/photo-stories/
This guy has some sweet pictures and posts a huge gear list. He also talks realistically about carrying on a backpacking trip. http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2007/08/26/thoughts-on-my-summer-2007-backpacking-photography-kit
Good example is to find articles that talk about techniques and the process of taking photos.
The font is too damn small for me, but worth reading the articles because they are good. Has an eclectic series of posts that cover things nature photographers might actually want to hear about! http://photocascadia.wordpress.com/