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Gear Question

Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 1:30 pm
by Nordwil
This will be my first trip to Yellowstone with the Canon 600 v1. I'm trying to keep things as simple (and light) as possible, as most of my lenses and bodies will be in carry on (tripod, gimbal and other gear in check in).

That said, I'm thinking of leaving my monopod behind. It's more the head that's the added weight, but I'm thinking I'll keep the 100-400 v2 on the 7d2 and have the 600, maybe with the 1.4 tc attached on the 5d3. I'll bring a 24-105 and a 50mm and a 2x tc, but maybe that will do it?

I now the added benefit of quick set up with the monopod vs. tripod, but I love the 100-400 for a quick response shot and figure the 600 will likely be used more when I have set up time and can use the tripod.

Any thoughts? That 600 isn't all that stable even on a monopod, especially if there's a bit of wind.
Thanks in advance for any advice!

Re: Gear Question

Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 6:53 pm
by Max
I see nothing wrong with leaving the monopod if you're bringing a tripod. That seems like overkill.


Re: Gear Question

Posted: Fri May 25, 2018 12:25 am
by yellvet
Rick, sounds like you've got your gear pretty well covered. But I agree with Max. Since you've got a tripod for your 600, I really don't see the need to bring a monopod. Unless of course, you enjoy being a beast of burden when you're on vacation (hee hee). The 100-400 is usually my go-to lens when I'm in the Park because of its versatility, outstanding image quality and it can also be hand held which will give you the freedom to move around at will and shoot spontaneously, without having to carry or waste time setting up your tripod. And if a support is needed, you can always look around for a natural support to use (ie: a boulder, fence, rock, a tree stump or even a big tree limb. That's what I do. IMO, a natural support tends to work better to stabilize a camera setup because the support is grounded, eliminating vibration. I use the 100-400 for taking pix of all sorts of Yellowstone subjects: animals, birds, mountain and thermal landscapes, wildflower close-ups, butterflies, tree bark and fungus, ferns, bushes, water lilies, rock formations, water (pools and riffles), high-flying rainbow trout, terrestrial insects, bugs and, even, creepy crawlies. Because the lens has such a wide range of focal lengths, that will give you an opportunity to use your creativity and imagination when composing pix. In other words, you'll be able to "look beyond the lens" and think out of the box. That's why I love that lens. With the 100-400 IS II matched to your 7D 2, you're going to have the perfect Yellowstone setup. And if you're concerned that your tripod won't be able to handle the weight of the 600, put some rocks in a plastic grocery bag and tie the ends of the bag to the tripod. If your tripod has a hook under the plate, you can tie the bag of rocks to that. Works well when it's windy....and we've had plenty of wind in the GYE lately. In fact, we've got a flood warning that begins Sunday for all the towns along the northern slope of the Beartooth's. Rivers are really raging right now.
If you want to simplify the gear for your trip, Rick, and want to lose some of the carry weight, and have fun being creative at the same time, here's my suggestion....(just some food for thought). Bring your tripod and gimbal head to support your 600 for photographing distant wildlife and birds and then use your 100-400 with or without a TC and a natural support (if needed) to photograph everything else. For me, photography is just like fly fishing. You can spend thousands of dollars buying the best equipment and fancy duds but if you don't have good technique and can't make a decent presentation of your fly to a fish, then you aren't going to catch a fat and feisty cutthroat. ;) The same holds true for wildlife photographers. If you don't approach an animal correctly and gain their trust, then you may as well stay home and watch the Stanley Cup playoffs. :)

We won't be going to the Park until mid June, Rick, so it looks like we're going to miss you again. Hope you have a fantastic trip! And check your PM's when you get home. I've got something for your gear repertoire that you might be interested in. :)

Re: Gear Question

Posted: Fri May 25, 2018 8:58 am
by Nordwil
Thanks Max and Paula! My instinct told me to leave it, but I had second thoughts.

I picked up the 600 used locally and am having fun with it, but it doesn't get too far from the vehicle. I'm going to have to decide whether to keep the 600 or my older 500 and the weight is definitely a factor. Maybe this trip will help settle the matter.

The 500 fits easily in a think tank bag small enough for carryon. For the 600 I picked up an insert made for a pelican case that fits perfectly into a carry on roller. The diameter of the lens hood is a little large for the depth of the bag, but I think it will still work fine.

Sorry we'll miss you Paula, but enjoy your trip! Glad your health is better! Under a week to go!!!

Re: Gear Question

Posted: Fri May 25, 2018 2:45 pm
by yellvet
Rick, check out this link at B & H: ... tml?sts=pi
Was thinking that it might be perfect for either your 500 or 600 setup. I've got a brand new one that's never been used. Bought it in 2015 just before I started having health problems. If you're interested, let me know when you get back from the Park. I'm in no hurry. Have a great trip...hope you see lots of critters!

Re: Gear Question

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 8:30 am
by Nordwil
That was such the perfect case I picked up an older used version shortly after I bought the lens. I think the older one is carry on legal, but I was nervous about it (and the weight) so I picked up this insert for a Pelican case that fits really well in a standard carry on bag with rollers. Thanks for thinking of me tho! ... fXEALw_wcB

I know it's a crap shoot as far as what we'll see, but I've got my fingers crossed. I just need to remember to get outside of the car and breathe!

Re: Gear Question

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:12 pm
by yellvet
Rick, I think you're timing your visit just right. Most of the rivers on both sides of the mountains are flowing pretty fast right now because of the late spring runoff. And most animals aren't too crazy about having to swim across high water, especially, if they have little ones tagging along. The Stillwater River is within walking distance of my house, NE of Slough Creek on the north slope of the Beartooth Mtns. Been out every morning walking along the river, to see how the local wildlife has been dealing with and reacting to the runoff. They do not like the high water! Not only is it dangerous but it also makes it too difficult for them to get around. So they tend to look for a safer route, (even if it takes more time) that takes them across higher ground so they don't have to swim across the dangerous, fast-moving high water. A few days ago, we had 8 geese, 6 wild turkeys, wild bunnies, and 14 whitetails in our front yard. And we also had numerous song birds perched on our tree fence. They normally hang out along the River. And the deer usually cross the River twice a day. But not this year. They're all taking longer routes around the river or are looking for ankle-deep water so they can stay on high ground (much safer). By the back channel off the main Stillwater River, I also saw two mated mallards and a big Rocky Mountain Painted Turtle slowly making their way up my footpath to the high bank to get away from the water. So I suspect that you'll probably see the same type of conditions and wildlife behavior when you're in the Park. This has been a very unique high water if ya wanna find the critters, I think you're gonna have to think like one. ;) Have a safe trip, Rick! Can't wait to see your report and pix.

Re: Gear Question

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:28 pm
by Nordwil
Thanks Paula! The water levels were just as everyone said. Some of the picnic tables at Nez Perce were essentially out in the river.
We saw three water crossings, 2 with Bison (2 adults crossing the Yellowstone near Alum Creek and 4 adults and 2 red dogs across the Madison - a little hairy but they made it ok!) The other was an Elk mom and her calf crossing the Lamar at the Confluence. Mom made it but the baby was swept downstream. It bounced off one shore and finally made it to the other, but on the wrong side of the confluence and probably about 1/4 mile from where Mom was. Fingers crossed they got back together.

I had planned a pretty detailed trip report and even kept a pen and paper in the glasses compartment in the rental car. Wrote all the sightings and times down. I sure hope whoevers driving that car now gets some use out of it lol! I guess I can piece things together with the pics I have in any case. Once I get caught up at work and at home I'll try to put something out there.

It was a great trip with a lot of sightings tho. Missed the badger den (Mom moved the day before we got there). But caught some rambunctious bighorn "teens" bouncing around Dunraven which was pretty cool. Saw the Tower bears and cubs, caught Raspberry and Snow before they parted ways, and was caught off guard by a black bear at Sheepeater. We stopped for a breakfast snack and I almost grabbed the bear spray to walk across the parking lot but thought it unnecessary. I wasn't 20 feet from my car when a guy closer to the head mentioned "black bear". I turned to see it walking down the path into the parking lot as I got back in the car. It tried to break into the trash cans (they did their job!) and then played with the tires on the bikes on the back of an SUV. The other guy shouted at it and we honked our horn. It finally backed off after they started their engine.

BTW, I didn't miss the monopod. I actually used the 100-400 for 80-90% of my shots, setting up the 600 only when time allowed and we were setting up for the long haul (mostly for the black bears in Tower and at Signal Mtn in the Tetons).

Thanks again for the helpful advice!


Re: Gear Question

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:44 pm
by Winona
I was interested to hear that the 100-400 worked for you since that is what I just bought. I thought the 600 would be too heavy and I am an amateur with family tagging along. So...not a lot of patience.

Re: Gear Question

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:02 am
by Nordwil
Winona, The 100-400 was my lifesaver! I'm still finding I use it a lot more for distance shots that I do my 600, although I have a friend who swears by his 600 on a monopod. He's from New England but we ran into him at Dunraven shooting some bighorns early one morning last spring. He was backing away to get them to fit in the frame lol!
Not sure if you have V1 or V2 of the 100-400, but if V2 you could bring along some TC's as well. I've heard they play well together with the newer lens, although I find the sharpness so nice with my 7D2 and 100-400 v2 I just crop a bit if needed. Still might be nice to have just in case tho!