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Photographing Longs Peak

Camera equipment and technique for taking photos.
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Photographing Longs Peak

Postby djkest » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:16 am

I want to try and get some awesome pics of Longs Peak. I was thinking I'd go in November or early December and hike to a nearby area to catch the sunrise illuminating the East Face, along with some snowy terrain. I also thought it would be neat to photograph Pagoda and some of the IPW. I realize the best vantage for these would probably be different.

For Longs: I know either of the Twin Sisters would be a decent place to go. The South Sister looks better.
I know the base of Chasm lake is a good place to go as well, has anyone hiked to Chasm in the winter, and is there anything difficult about it?

"Meadow Mountain" and "St. Vrain Mountain" look like good places to photograph Longs Peak but especially the IPW.

Photography wise:
Any filters you like to use for early morning shots?
Are longer exposures ever useful?
I have 18-300mm covered with my lenses, I'm hoping that will be sufficient.

ETA: any photos you want to share would be appreciated.
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Re: Photographing Longs Peak

Postby Mark Curtis » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:27 pm

Longs from Chasm is a wonderful vantage point. And as you suggested, the sunrise is a great time......not just because of the soft light illuminating off the rock faces, but also because the air is typically the calmest for reflections (though the time of year can certainly alter that!). The other places you noted are also nice, but it just depends on your preference for proximity and angle of view. Mount Lady Washington is also an option.

As far as snowshoeing in to Chasm......well, it depends. Depending on the year of course, in November or early December there may not be sufficient snow for a good snowshoe hike. But even in a good snow year, often there are portions of the trail that are windswept and the rock is exposed......so just make sure you have a good way to lash your snowshoes to your pack. I seem to recall long portions of the trail where it is so packed from traffic that snowshoes are not necessary (though, again depending on timing with storms and I recommend you take them regardless).

For camera stuff.....yes, filters can be handy. A lot of people don't use them and prefer to use post processing/blend exposures. But they can be time saving if you use them properly. Because of the light contrast in the scenario you described, a quality graduated neutral density filter is very helpful. A circular polarizer can also enhance the water and lighting. Keep in mind, however.....that regardless of snow conditions, in November or December it is almost a certainty to be very cold......esp. at that hour. So filters and lenses can be more cumbersome to work with.....esp. if it's humid too. Longer exposures should not be necessary for the lake since it is ostensibly still (though you can still create an effect that is pleasing). If you wanted to incorporate Roaring Fork Creek into your photo, then a long exposure would be nice.....but then you would want to be there at earliest light or use a neutral density filter in order to take a long enough exposure to get the milky white water, but not so long as to overexpose/blow the highlights.

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Re: Photographing Longs Peak

Postby Bill Cummings » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:10 pm

Haven't tried this yet, but going to the N shore of Sprague Lake is supposed to give you a great sunrise view of Longs--you can get the peak reflected in the lake, supposedly.
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Re: Photographing Longs Peak

Postby ChrisRoberts » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:24 pm

South Sister does indeed have a better view than W Twin Sisters Peak
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Re: Photographing Longs Peak

Postby kimo » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:23 pm

Bernard Amy had some advice to give:

The aim of the mountaineer, if he wishes to be an artist in the full sense of word, is neither escape nor the search for the absolute as some have claimed, but rather seek that place where the mystic remains silent and the poets start to speak towards men.

It seems that Longs Peak, proud and willing, is always up for a good duel. Her and her chessmen have been my challenge since I started climbing and serious photography. No matter where I've been in the past and where I am now, I look to the north and there is Longs Peak, her dark locks flowing over her flanks like a waterfall frozen in stone. The mountain appears to be my North Star. I must have taken a thousand pictures of this mountain in the past twelve months, some good, some bad. She's not an easy catch. You have to make it happen.


Longs, Pagoda, and Chiefshead from East Glacier Knob in March.
Image

Tech notes: no on-lens filters used. D7000 and 16-85mm lens shooting in raw, f/8, 1/80sec, ISO 100. Camera mounted on monopod. PP in Capture NX2, where some sharpening, contrast, saturation, and a neutral gradient filter were applied. I do wish I had a circular polarizer on the lens to cut some glare and improve the contrast and color. Next time...

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