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Galapagos - any need to take macro


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#1 loftus

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:23 AM

I'm leaving for Galapagos on Saturday. Trying to save weight,anyone think I'll regret leaving my macro port and lenses at home?
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#2 scorpio_fish

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:49 AM

This has been asked before. Most responses say yes, bring it. Their are sea horses at cousins rock and blue nudis at other sites.

I going for my 3rd trip in August. I am not taking a 60mm lens or flat port, nor did I on the last trip.

I did take a zoom, the crappy, vignetting 18-70mm and used it at Cousins to shoot the sea horses and also a school of Eagle Rays.

The wide angle lens will not leave the camera at all during my next trip.
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#3 jdaley

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 09:04 AM

loftus,

I am also leaving for Galapagos on Saturday, I am going on the Sky Dancer with Mauricio. My plan is to take my 60mm macro and using it behind the Subal FE wide-angle dome for the few dives with possible macro.

James
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#4 Iggy

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 09:42 AM

I'm leaving for Galapagos on Saturday. Trying to save weight,anyone think I'll regret leaving my macro port and lenses at home?

Galapagos is one of may favorite destinations in the world. I've made that trip a number of times and the one thing that can be counted on is that nothing can be counted on. I hope you have nice cool, clean water and huge schools of pelagics but that sometimes is not the case. In those instances you'll want your macro setups because it's a pretty productive macro location.

A few examples:
1) If you decided to shoot the RL Batfish chances are you may want to do that with the 50/60.

2) At Punta Vicente Roca, in the shallow ledges, are some of the biggest seahorses I have ever seen. 3 or 4 different colors, all lined up in the sometimes brutal surge. If you dive the batfish there you can offgas with the seahorses. Both subjects and surroundings are 50/60 friendly. I've seen seahorses at a number of sites in Galapagos, but you have to stop looking up for sharks, schooling pelagics, rays, turtles, etc to see them ;)

3) This probably sounds lame, but the Barbacle Blennies are a very compelling subject given the right surroundings. And Galapagos seems to have nice populations and varieties of Nudis, Blennies, Gobies, Worms, Crabs, etc.

One trip the water was particularly bad, the viz in the central islands and up at Wolf was crap, the currents at Darwin were raging (forget about sticking a strobe arm up in the water column), and the sharks were mostly deep. I had macro setups with me and was able to make it an enjoyable trip. Some on the boat brought nothing but wide and they spent the entire trip trying to shoot shadows or just hanging hoping for something to come close enought that even a marginal image was possible.

I've been 6 times and on 2 of those trips the water was bad enough that wide angle wasn't possible. As you know it's not Indonesia/PNG macro, but if the big stuff isn't there you can make it a very productive trip shooting macro and fish. It is advisable to take your macro tools in the event the water doesn't respect your wide angle imperative ;)

#5 loftus

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 09:51 AM

OK Iggy, you've convinced me, I'll see if I can sneak it into my wife's (not a photographer) bag.
James I'm on the same trip; are you flying out of Miami to Quito on Saturday afternoon? If so we're on the same flight. Either way, see you there!

Edited by loftus, 11 June 2007 - 09:52 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#6 The Octopus

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 10:09 AM

I would think that the tokina 10-17 would be ideal for this trip
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#7 loftus

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 10:19 AM

Yes I'm packing the 10-17, 17-55, 70-200 (for topside). Probably the 60 as well.

I would think that the tokina 10-17 would be ideal for this trip


Edited by loftus, 11 June 2007 - 10:21 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#8 Grinderman

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 02:20 PM

You could always try the old trick of using a 60mm lens behind your dome. The results are perfectly acceptable with a Subal rig, as I recall.

Macro is definitely part of the Galapagos story: you need it for the seahorses, barnacle blennies, batfish, triplefins and even for some land work.

From recent experience, I'd recommend a 20mm or similar for shark and seal portraits, or a 16mm for wide schooling shots, lucky encounters with whale sharks and the like. Just an opinion, but I'd say the Tok 10-17mm is a tad too wide for Wolf and Darwin, where a 12-24 would have been dandy If I owned one. Ionly felt the need to use my 10.5mm once, to photograph a big barracude school that seems to be a good bet at Cabo Marshall. That's it.

#9 Iggy

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:43 PM

From recent experience, I'd recommend a 20mm or similar for shark and seal portraits, or a 16mm for wide schooling shots, lucky encounters with whale sharks and the like. Just an opinion, but I'd say the Tok 10-17mm is a tad too wide for Wolf and Darwin, where a 12-24 would have been dandy If I owned one.

I think the 10-17 would work fine at Wolfe and Darwin where 15 and 20mm are my preferred focal lengths. I also think it'd be great on the Salema schools around Cousins. And if it's possible to dive, the tuna and barracuda schools around Roca Redonda. I also see the 10-17 being effective at Pinnacles (or Washing Machine) at Wolfe. The 12-24 would probably be better suited to shark studies, turtles, rays, etc. but for schools which are easily approachable in Galapagos 15 to 28mm FE is a very nice choice for someone who likes shooting fisheye. So the 10-17 on APS-C is a good fit.

#10 Grinderman

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 03:42 PM

[quote name='Iggy' date='Jun 11 2007, 08:43 PM' post='131821']
I think the 10-17 would work fine at Wolfe and Darwin where 15 and 20mm are my preferred focal lengths.


I can't resist being a little testy here. Put two photographers of equal ability in the water at Darwin on a big current day, and the guy (or gal) with the 20mm or 16mm fixed lens will get better shots than the guy with the zoom. Why? Singleness of purpose - you know exactly what your rig can achieve, and you work to that spec. This is a frenetic place with different layers of water moving at different speeds, with different viz either side of the thermocline and temperatures that change their minds more often than an Italian electorate. When you see a good schooling/portrait opportunity, you go for it. You seldom have time to zoom - a massive school of scallopped hammerheads can disappear in seconds. It take a lot of diving ability, and you have to be able to work your housing as if it was part of your own body. Plus, I still think the Tok's a bit too wide for hammerheads...but we could argue about that forever...

Otherwise, Iggy, I think I agree with you. For photographers with a sense of adventure, Galapagos is as good as it gets. I prefer it even to Cocos and Malpelo, because it has more variety.

#11 loftus

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 03:59 PM

Well thanks guys; the anticipation builds...big time.
I do need to limit my lens choices ( unless I can sneak the 16mm into my wife's bag)
I do not use my 12-24 underwater anymore as I just cannot get the sharpness I like.
I really prefer my 17-55 for sharpness to the 12-24.
Chances are, whatever lens I choose, when I'm down under, it will be the wrong one. <_<
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#12 elbuzo

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 04:29 PM

My recommendation is to take all you got . This is definitely a big trip , in terms of opportunities , time and costs ! So the last thing that you want is to lost some opportunities due to lack of equipment or damage ( think about a flood ) .

At the end , the worst case is ending with overweight charges , but this is a small fraction of the costs of the trip.

Anyway you're lucky that you can have your private sherpa (wife) ;)

I will go on the same trip but without my wife , anyhow i will take with me all my lenses , including 2 macros.

See you there

Jose Alejandro

#13 loftus

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 04:39 PM

How much will you pay me for my sherpa? ;)
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#14 elbuzo

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 05:00 PM

How much will you pay me for my sherpa? ;)



Uhmmm , i think i will better pay overweight , these days' sherpas are so high maintenance that i can't afford having two ;)

#15 Iggy

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 08:06 AM

I can't resist being a little testy here

Sure you could. But I think you prefer "testy" at this moment ;)

On the subject of Galapagos: While I strongly disagree with your assertion that a zoom which renders effective 15mm to 26mm is too wide for sharks and shark schools. I would add the caveat that it comes down to whether or not the photographer can you hold his/her breath long enough to get sharks close and reduce water column. Really, that will determine which focal length will work for any given shooter.

#16 Grinderman

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 05:09 AM

Fair point Iggy...

So here's a hammerhead I took with a 20mm, plus a few more hammerheads with a 16mm.

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