Zion Canyoneering with D700 & 14-24 f/2.8

Started Nov 6, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Zion Canyoneering with D700 & 14-24 f/2.8
Nov 6, 2011

I just got back from Zion National Park where a couple of friends and I did a bit of canyoneering for a few days. For photo gear, I took only the D700 with 14-24mm f2.8 lens. I really didn’t want to carry my tripod and ballhead since we would be swimming in sandy water and I didn’t have a drybag big enough to hold the tripod. We were also weighed down with a lot of climbing gear, drysuits, water, food, etc.

I kept my gear in a double drybag, pulling it out to shoot, then putting it away for the next rappel or swim—a lot of work for a shot or two. One person in our group didn’t get his Canon 5DII double bagged and it got submerged on one of the rappels into a pool of water—looks like a total write-off.

I would love to have a more compact setup for this kind of photography, but it’s really (really) dark in many of the canyons and the D700 high-ISO is wonderful. Several of my shots were in the 1/15th to 1/40th of a sec at f/2.8, 6400 ISO. The dynamic range in these canyons is also extreme. Even with a tripod, at lower ISO, people would tend to be blurry with the longer shutter speed.

45 foot rappel into a swim in Pine Creek: 1/15th sec at f/2.8, ISO 6400 (24mm):

Chamber in Pine Creek: 1/25th sec at f/3.2, ISO 6400 (24mm):

Nearing the 100 foot rappel, Steve tosses the rope in Pine Creek: 1/100th sec at f/6.3; ISO 1600 (14mm)

Final obstacle in Subway from top: 1/40th sec at f/4.5, ISO 2000; (17mm), -1.66 comp. Upstream there was ice on top of the water! :

Don

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