Film recommendation for SLOT Canyons : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have an upcomming trip to the slot canyons in Arizona planned in November. I expect some pretty long exposure times (1-3+ min) will be necessary with my lenses at f16-22. I am concerned about reciprocity failure, proper color rendition, and grain in my final product. I will use both chrome and print films, with the goal a large print for my wall. And, yes, I will mostly be shooting 4X5, but also possibly 6X6 and 35mm if films unavailable in 4X5. As of this time, I am considering Portra 100T with a 85B filter for this task. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated, but I am particularly interested in hearing from those of you who have actually shot these natural wonders, especially if you can give me pointers and/or what mistakes to avoid. Thanks to all in advance. Jeff

-- Jeff Thompson (, October 12, 2000


Addenum-recalculation yields exposures at times up to 10min.(and possibly beyond.Thanks jeff

-- Jeff Thompson (, October 13, 2000.

Check Michael makes incredible 8x10 on...Velvia! How he can keep the high contrast inherent to slot canyons within practical values is a mystery to me. He must be a darkroom magician or a blessed photographer. I would go with the newly arrived Provia 100F. It has excellent reciprocity and shadows rendition.

-- Paul Schilliger (, October 13, 2000.


I'm not sure which canyons you plan to shoot in, but in Upper and Lower Antelope, I've found exposures in the 15 - 30 second range to be the norm for Velvia at 16 - 22. If you really are getting 10 minute exposures, reciprocity and color shift will be huge problems. You might try a much faster film like the new Fuji Provia 400F (not sure if it's out in 4x5 yet).

WRT Michael Fatali, I agree with Paul his work is fantastic. The actual cibachrome prints are very impressive (much better than the online images). If you get a chance, stop in his gallery in Springdale (in the same stone building as the pizza/pasta place) or in Page. In addition to Velvia, Michale also shoots with the much lower contrast Astia in some situations. Also, he does not do his own printing. He works with a printer, who I believe lives in the Salt Lake area.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, October 13, 2000.

You have only one real film choice when using chromes is the slot canyons. Ektachrome 100 VS (Vertical Slot) film. Yep, the magic monkeys in Rochester got the great idea to make specialty film for just this place. Intense saturation and all the rest to beat Velvia (V for Vertical-maybe that is why your colors seem off when you shoot it for horizontals, the littler color aligners don't work right except in vertical images) which has to this time been the king of color in the slot canyons. So, get some VS and make sure you only photograph vertical slot canyons. (& for the photographically impaired, this isn't a serious post)

-- Dan Smith (, October 13, 2000.

Just ask the guy in the line right ahead of you what settings he is using, then, when he moves, put your tripod feet in the holes worn by thousands of other tripods before you.

-- Bill Mitchell (, October 13, 2000.

FWIW, I have heard they are installing a new turnstyle at the entrance so you may have to change tripods as it won't accomodate the bi Zone VI and the Ries A

-- Sean yates (, October 13, 2000.

Sean, the indians where tired of searching for scattered photographers bodies after all the flash floods they have had. This is why they installed the turnstyle. :-(

-- Paul Schilliger (, October 14, 2000.

All right, this is not funny. I apologize.

-- Paul Schilliger (, October 14, 2000.

Jeff, don't let all these purists deter you from having a marvelous time in the slots. These are wonderous places to photograph. I have used Velvia in all formats for a long time and feel it gives you a very nice palette if saturation is what you want. Reciprocity departure is considerable with this film though and I'd call a Fuji rep about filtration before you go. This time of year is not bad as most people are in Zion and the Rockies for fall color. Kodak has some nice chrome out that I have used also. The 100 S and VS is nice and gives you another stop of speed. I suggest you let the low tones go to black and concentrate on the mid and high tones because this is where reciprocity departure will have the least effect on color shift. This time of year it's getting dark and cold down in the canyons so long exposures both in film and for you are going to be a problem. Take a jacket and water. The Indians are very helpful too. It has changed a lot since Betty left. And I wouldn't bother going into the canyons before 11 am this time of year. And upper Antelope will be pretty dark so you might want to go directly to lower. The light levels are just too low. You might give Waterholes Canyon a try too. Remember that this is an "experience" and you may or may not get a winner out of this trip. But I have a few from this time of year and later that are winners. Just enjoy this natural wonder and leave the worry of not getting what you are after at home. And do visit the Fatali Gallery in Page next to the Jeep tour place. And out by Big Water there is a road that takes you off to the mesa tops that is worth you time. Have fun. james

-- james (, October 14, 2000.

PURIST! PURIST You Take That Back! I ain't No Gol-Danged PURIST!

SheeeeeOOOt! Shades of Strother Martin and Dub Taylor!

-- Sean yates (, October 14, 2000.

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