Grand Canyon equipment list

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Awiserbud, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Awiserbud
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    Awiserbud New Member

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    Hi Everyone, I am taking a holiday to las Vegas over christmas from England and i plan on renting a car and driving from Vegas to the Grand Canyons south rim which is about a 5 or 6 hour drive, I am hoping to get some nice sunrise shots so i'll be heading off about 2 or 3am.
    I think i have my gear list sorted but just wanted to run it by you guys in case you think i may have missed something, I should point out that when i get there i also plan (weather permitting) to hike into the canyon (or rather down) to the base, Apparantly about an hours trek depending on location or personal fitness) I would love some sunrise shots from the base but i dont think i'll be able to do both as i will only be staying there for the day and then returning just after sunset.

    my list so far:

    Nikon D7000 (with battery grip and 2 batteries)
    SB700 (dont think there will be much call for this unless i stumble across some interesting caves)
    Nikon 50mm 1.8
    Nikon 35mm 1.8
    Sigma 18-50 2.8 (is it worth taking this)
    Tokina 11-16 2.8
    I dont have a longer lens than 50mm at the moment, i'm more interested in capturing the GC as a whole rather than zooming on a specific part, but am i missing out at the GC?)
    Jessops Carbon fibre tripod (this is very sturdy, but not the lightest tripod, would it be worth investing in a lightweight one or struggle with the one ive got)
    several 8Gb SD cards
    remote control
    polariser/ND4,8/UV filters for all lenses (what other filters would you use for shooting the GC?)
    Tamrac back-pack

    I have done a little research with regards the Canyon itself but i appreciate its difficult to plan every shot or location until i get there, I don't have specific requirements regarding what shots i get, I just want to enjoy it really and get the best shots i can from wherever i end up,
    Obviously i have bought decent hiking boots and thermal base clothing so i think i'm good with that but i dont want to arrive and wish i'd bought something else that i may need, Any thoughts? or has anyone taken a similar trip and then realised they forgot something?
  2. christop
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    christop New Member

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    I've hiked the Grand Canyon from the south rim twice about ten years ago. I've taken photo gear only to the north rim (with only minimal hiking around the lodge). I'm pretty sure I took the Bright Angel trail both times. The second (and faster) time was about 2 hours to get to Phantom Ranch at the bottom and about 4 hours to get back to the top. I had a decent pace (IMO) going down of, I'm guessing, about 3mph. I considered myself to be in moderately good fitness at the time. YMMV, of course.

    Frankly, I would take much, much less gear on the actual hike. I would probably take one camera and one lens (wide-angle or normal lens, or a wide/normal zoom lens) and MAYBE a tripod. Or I would take a walking stick that can double as a monopod. Then again, I live in Arizona so I'm not quite as far from the GC as you are, and you probably want to make the most of your trip. If you're in better physical condition than me, I say go for it!

    Also be prepared for snow, especially at the top. The bottom will probably be cold but not snowy. Last time I went, some time in August or September, I didn't bring gloves or a heavy coat (silly, I know), and it started to snow when I was about a mile from the top. My hands were numb by the time I got to the lodge! Thankfully the lodge had a large fireplace to defrost my hands. :)
  3. Awiserbud
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    Awiserbud New Member

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    I would like to think i'm reasonably fit but i've never hiked down the Canyon before and don't normally do a lot of this sort of thing so i guess time will tell, i'm a young 44 year old but the last time i hiked anywhere with my tripod (about 4 months ago) i managed about 5 miles before i decided i'd had enough and that obviously wasn't down a steep ridge.
    I've been checking temperatures in Vegas, apparantly 15-20 degrees (celcius) at the moment during the daytime which is a lot warmer than i expected but i assume the GC gets a lot colder than vegas does it?
  4. christop
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    christop New Member

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    A quick and dirty distance estimate in Google Maps puts the Bright Angel trail at around 5 or 6 miles. The Arizona Trail looks to be a bit shorter. Keep in mind that the journey going up is much harder (for me) than going down.

    The south rim is about a mile (1.6km) higher in elevation than Vegas, so yes, it is colder. Google says Grand Canyon Village has a high of 8 degrees C today. You should expect to see below-freezing temperatures in the morning at the rim! It doesn't show the temperature at the bottom, but I've estimated that it's about the same as Mesa, AZ (where I live), which is currently 17 degrees C.
  5. Awiserbud
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    Awiserbud New Member

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    Thats about the same as the temperatures were getting right now in London so i'm getting used to wrapping up warm but i'm sure it will make the trek that much harder.
    Part of me wishes we were doing this trip in the summer but i'll have to make the most of it since i don't know if we'll ever get back to see the canyon again.
    I also wish we were going for longer, there a few places i'd really love to see along the canyon but 1 day just isn't going to be long enough, Horeshoe bend and false kiva to name a couple, but they are so far apart i'd have to spend a whole day driving.
    Did you get any nice shots while you were there?
  6. christop
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    christop New Member

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    As I said, I didn't have a camera with me on my south rim hikes. When I went to the north rim just a few years ago I took a panorama with a Nikon P&S: Panoramio - Photo of Grand Canyon North Rim, July 2007. I stopped by the north rim again earlier this year on a road trip to Utah and took another panorama with my Canon 10D, but unfortunately I still haven't had the time to stitch it together. :(

    Now I really want to hike the Grand Canyon again! I might just bring my Pentax ME film SLR and a few rolls of film. It's lighter and much smaller than my Canon.
  7. Awiserbud
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    Awiserbud New Member

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    Thats a great panoramic shot, Lots of detail in there once you zoom in, never had a go at panoramic shots personally, i suppose the canyon would be the ideal place to try one.
  8. christop
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    christop New Member

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    Thanks! The full size image is much larger--about 16000x2000 pixels large--and has quite a bit more detail.

    You should definitely take a panorama while you're there. I managed to take that panorama hand-held with a 4MP Nikon Coolpix. Parallax errors at Grand Canyon distances are negligible as long as you take all shots within a few feet of each other, unless you include anything in the foreground.

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