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Old January 6th, 2008, 06:13 PM
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Default Taking Pictures in Alaska

Hello all,

I am cruising in May and I have a digital rebel - I was just wonderring what type of lenses - strengths and such other camera enthusiasts brought with them in Alaska.

Also, any photography tips for Alaska?

Thanks
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Old January 21st, 2008, 05:35 PM
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There were several cameras in our group that went to Alaska. All digital, one a digital SLR (my friend's Nikkon D70). She had a regular lens and a zoom lens. Although I have to say that my Cannon A610 point and shoot got great shots. You can't go wrong with even a throwaway camera up there. The scenery is beautiful.

The one thing that I would recommend would be to bring along a circular polarizing filter. That really helps to cut out some of the glare from the water, ice, etc. And it also makes the blue skies even bluer.

Even a pair of polarized sunglasses worked in a pinch for me - I just held them in front of my camera lens and it helped me take some great shots.

Have fun!
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Old January 25th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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Thanks for the input! Much appreciated!
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Old January 25th, 2008, 02:10 PM
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Generally speaking, you'll want a good telephoto for wildlife and a reasonably wide to moderate angle for landscapes, people, etc. I've got one of the older Sigma 28-300 zooms that I leave on my D-100 most of the time. Only when I'm on a small boat taking pictures of fish (where everything is within 10 feet) do I use anything wider than the 28...

Depending on your tour plans and photo goals, Anything that covers the range from around 20mm to 300mm plus is a good bet. I took some so-so bear pictures with the 300mm last year, although I now wished I had more. There are some 50-500mm super-zooms out there that might be a good compromise if you don't want to carry a whole bag of gear with you... the glass gets heavy after a few hours of lugging!

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Old January 27th, 2008, 05:33 PM
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I've been looking at some gear for our upcoming trip to Alaska. Along with the new HD camcorder announced at CES, I've been looking at:
Fuji FinePix S100FS
11.1 effective Megapixels
F2.8-5.3, 14.3X optical zoom lens, equivalent to 28 - 400 mm
Can take up to 3 RAW or 7 JPEGs in a row at 3 frames/second; dropping the resolution to 3MP lets you take 50 shots in a row at 7 fps
Can record movies at 640 x 480 (30 fps) with sound; zoom can be operated while recording.

Anyone have any thoughts on this ?

Phil & Liz
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Old January 28th, 2008, 02:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil&Liz
I've been looking at some gear for our upcoming trip to Alaska. Along with the new HD camcorder announced at CES, I've been looking at:
Fuji FinePix S100FS
11.1 effective Megapixels
F2.8-5.3, 14.3X optical zoom lens, equivalent to 28 - 400 mm
Can take up to 3 RAW or 7 JPEGs in a row at 3 frames/second; dropping the resolution to 3MP lets you take 50 shots in a row at 7 fps
Can record movies at 640 x 480 (30 fps) with sound; zoom can be operated while recording.

Anyone have any thoughts on this ?

Phil & Liz
I won't offer a "good" or "bad" verdict, just my thoughts (as requested!):
- 11.1 "effective megapixels" is always suspicious to me. "Effective" means they're interpolating or enlarging the image digitally. I'd be curious to know what the "true" resolution is. Then again, I do small and medium format production work with 2 and 5 MP all day every day, so regardless of the "true" resolution, most folks don't truly need all the resolution sold these days.

- the video capture feature is a nice novelty, but relatively useless - especially if you're also bringing a camcorder. There are times (like trying to get a picture of porpoise up here) that I use HD video to shoot constantly, then grab frames as stills. The problem is that 640x480 video is barely 1 megapixel, and a blurry 1MP at that. Save the memory card space for photos and leave the video feature turned off. Also, don't let that feature be a deal breaker.

- The 400mm equivalent is nice, but it's on the short side of what I'd recommend. In my comments in the previous post, I said I had gotten some decent bear shots with a 300mm, but that's an SLR lens on a digital body that carries a 1.5x equivalency factor, so it was "equivalent" to a 450mm... then remember that I said I wished I'd had something longer.

- Get your hands on one, and see how long the lag is between pushing the button and the camera actually taking the picture. Test this in bright light (outdoors) as well as low light (inside, in a nightclub, say...) I can't tell you how many pictures I've deleted (but regretted not getting) because the button went down, THEN the camera did its exposure calculations for 3/4 of a second while I was moving on to the next pic.... streaky and blurry are an understatement!

For most "consumer" purposes, the features and capabilities of digital cameras have now surpassed what the average picture taker needs and is capable of benefitting from. Get a camera that is easy for you to use, and get one that you WILL use... (ie: if it weighs 20 lbs. and you leave it in its carry case underneath your train seat, what good will it be when the mountain goat wanders by for a few seconds?) I keep my D-100 ready with a big lens on the boat where it's safe. I also carry a very small Pentax 6MP point-n-shoot (I think an A-10?) in my pocket when I leave the boat.

Also, remember the basics of photography. No camera will help you with composition. If you've not already got a good idea of what makes a good photograph, you might consider spending $30 or so on a couple of good basic photography books to get a feel for things.

Sorry to ramble. Hope some of this helps!
Happy Alaska Travels!
-Case
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Old January 28th, 2008, 04:24 PM
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Thanks for the great info !

I used to have a Canon AE1 with a few lenses but I'd like to avoid lugging around all that gear. Thats why I'm looking at what options a digital camera/SLR can offer.

I know that in Alaska I want to be able to quickly grab shots of whales and thats why I thought either a video camera would be best or a fast frame rate. As for the animals on land (non human) I was looking at the ultra zoom features.

I've almost talked myself into getting the Panasonic HDC-SD9, the "world's smallest and lightest" HD camcorder. I can do as you said capture stills from the video but also use the single shot as needed or use a regular camera for plain pictures.

LOl now I have gone on !!

Anyway, thanks for the info.

Phil & Liz
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:07 AM
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I am not a seasoned traveler at all. My question is not so much about the equipment, but when you fly, is it a carry-on? I don't want to let it out of my sight...sigh....and on board ship, do you carry your camera with you all the time, or can you trust it to stay in your room some of the time? Of course that means, just when you want it most, you won't have it, but the bigger dslr's do get a bit heavy.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayne10
I am not a seasoned traveler at all. My question is not so much about the equipment, but when you fly, is it a carry-on? I don't want to let it out of my sight...sigh....and on board ship, do you carry your camera with you all the time, or can you trust it to stay in your room some of the time? Of course that means, just when you want it most, you won't have it, but the bigger dslr's do get a bit heavy.
I always put my camera in my carryon bag.

As for on the cruise, I bring it with me everywhere. You never know when that one great picture will happen. But I have a small Canon Elph which fits in my pocket. I don't think you have to worry about the cruise staff.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 09:17 PM
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I actually have a good size camera bag, that is well padded, and comfortable to carry. I thought I might use one of the larger compartments for a purse, as such, and just sling it over my shoulder most of the time. I will only take two, one extra lens, and a bunch of memory cards, oh yeah...can't forget the chargers. Neither run on regular batteries. So y'all think its best to carry it on, and keep it with me. Flying allows two carry ons, right? So one can be a days worth of essentials, and the other my "bag"
Jayne
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Old March 4th, 2008, 06:24 PM
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I used to be totally into photography but moved on to other interests. Agree it's no fun to lug around a SLR and all the accessories (unless photography is your avid hobby). I'm still picky about picture quality though.

My current camera is a Canon A710IS. It has a 6x optical zoom and a 4x digital zoom. 7.1Mpix (but don't get sucked into the more-is-better megapixel war). The camera has an image stabilizer and I'm always amazed at how well it works. It has the same "brain" as the SLR's and will operate full auto, full manual, or modes in between. Although it doesn't have changeable lenses, there are "converters" that extend the macro, tele, or wide-angle capabilites. All the A-series cameras use AA batteries, which is very convenient traveling.

My only complaints.....flash recharge time is long, and battery life is pretty short (definitely buy the rechargeable types, they last 2-3x longer, then you just recharge them).

I think the A710IS has been superseded by newer models. A photographer friend pointed out the image stabilizer comes in handy when taking telephoto shots from a rocking boat.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 11:28 PM
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Default taking pictures

back in 1991, was the first time i went to alaska with a 35 mm camera, and took pictures, and i noticed everybody else on the ship had a camcorder, i thought am i missing something, pictures just dont do it anymore for alaska, i want a camcorder, to actually see what i was recording and watch it later at home, so i bought the camcorder and from then on all cruises i went on i took the camcorder along, two years ago i got a digital camera and after seeing some cruise pictures on the internet down in mexico, i thought i want to take the digital camera and take pictures. Now, i'm going to alaska in sept and the camcorder is staying home. The digital camera is more fun, and thats something i forgot when i was lugging a camcorder around, plus my neck got sore.

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Old June 3rd, 2008, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayne10
I actually have a good size camera bag, that is well padded, and comfortable to carry. I thought I might use one of the larger compartments for a purse, as such, and just sling it over my shoulder most of the time. I will only take two, one extra lens, and a bunch of memory cards, oh yeah...can't forget the chargers. Neither run on regular batteries. So y'all think its best to carry it on, and keep it with me. Flying allows two carry ons, right? So one can be a days worth of essentials, and the other my "bag"
Jayne
The airlines are changing things rapidly, but as of last month we were able to carry on a backpack and a camera bag. I guess it is considered comparable to a bag and a purse.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 10:30 AM
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When flying, my DSLR camera bag and laptop are always my carry-ons.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 10:45 AM
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I am going to Alaska on Princess in Sept. I did a lot of research on a good camera for this trip and purchased a Panasonic FZ18. Incredible zoom feature and also takes pics at 28mm. Image stabilization, very light weight, etc. Too many features to mention here.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 03:23 AM
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I'll be going on my 4th Alaskan cruise this August, but first time with a DSLR. I plan to bring my wide angle (10-22mm) and long lens (28-200mm).

LongBeachLarry: Thanks for the reminder of using a circular polarizer filter.
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