Artist Point, WA

Discussion in 'Travelogue' started by Jim Dockery, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. Jim Dockery

    Jim Dockery Well-Known Member

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    Artist Point is one of the best photo and easy hiking destinations in Washington's Cascades. Follow directions for the Mt. Baker ski area (which is misnamed because it sits on the lower slopes of Mt. Shuksan and you can only see Mt. Baker at a distance from the top of the chair lifts). Continue up the road to the large parking lot at Artist Point, which can be packed on summer weekends, but was just pretty full on a beautiful Monday/Tuesday in early Oct.

    This was a multi-camera trip for me, which is the real theme of this posting. I had all my regular cameras, each with it's own niche: My big camera -Sony A7rII with 24-105mm + 100-400mm, My little camera (mostly for skiing and long hike/climbs) Sony RX100 IV, DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone flying camera, and new iPhone 11 Pro - always with me camera. I tried to take pictures with all of them, but found myself mostly using the A7rII and the iPhone. I've put this in Travelogue because there isn't a limit to the number of photos and I wanted to compare the shots with each camera.

    We got there late on Monday and didn't take any pictures due to clouds and being hungry for dinner, which I had to cook. Tuesday was great weather, so I set the alarm for sunrise and got up to fly the drone, leaving the A7r to do a time-lapse. Luckily I had the spot I stopped to myself - the noise of the drone doesn't lend itself to quiet enjoyment of a sunrise, so I would't fly it by other people unless they gave me permission. I wanted to get some video so didn't take time to do any drone photos so these shots are screen grabs from the 4K video.



    After a quick cup of coffee I was off to fly/shoot leaving my wife in our van to sleep in a bit.

    Screen-Shot-2019-10-02-at-7.57.30-AM-2.jpg
    I've worked this in PS to bring up the shadows etc.

    Screen-Shot-2019-10-02-at-7.54.19-AM.jpg
    Table Mt. on the left

    In between flights I got out the RX100 for a few shots.

    Artists-Pt.-rx100-014.jpg
    Mt. Baker

    Artists-Pt.-rx100-103.jpg
    Sunrise behind Mt. Shuksan & Tarn

    I came back to the van for breakfast and shot this with the A7r from the trailhead.

    Artitsts-Point-2019-A7r-017.jpg
    Chain Lakes Trailhead

    Artists-Pt.-rx100-105.jpg
    The Chain Lakes trail traverses mostly flat below Table Mt. I shot this with the RX100

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    I really got suckered into taking a lot with the iPhone - I carried the RX100 in one hip belt pocket and the iPhone in the other on my Osprey pack. Both were easy to get out, but the immediate feedback from the phone on it's gorgeous display looked so good I used it more. This was with the new wide lens.

    IMG_4022.jpg
    iPhone tele shot. This looked great in camera and the HDR (which you can't turn off) did a pretty amazing job of holding back the intense reflected light off the mountain's glaciers, but went a bit too far IMO. I could bring that back up in post, but will leave it in most of these examples.

    IMG_4043.jpg
    iPhone reg. lens. This one kept the mountain brighter, but the sky is uneven.

    Artitsts-Point-2019-A7r-034.jpg
    A7r 24-105. This is why we still use real cameras. This is a crop at 105.

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    iPhone in camera pano with regular lens. Mt. Shuksan

    IMG_4091-Pano.jpg
    iPhone 2 tele verticals stitched in ACR and processed to taste.

    We still had plenty of time to hike out to the point (easy 2 miles round trip). There were a lot of people, but it didn't feel too crowded. I brought the A7r with 100-400mm mounted on a tripod and carried over my shoulder on the hike out, I put the tripod away with 24-105 for the walk back, iPhone experiments also.

    Artitsts-Point-2019-A7r-058.jpg
    Zoomed in on a glacier pouring down Mt. Shuksan. I love zooming in on details of the landscape like this with the 100-400mm. No phone will do that in my lifetime.

    Artitsts-Point-2019-A7r-155.jpg
    Debbie in front of Shuksan at 400mm.

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    When we first got to this tarn we waited for other people to pass then Debbie was my model hiking while I shot some video with the phone. This is a phone still with the regular lens.

    IMG_4115.jpg
    iPhone wide

    Artitsts-Point-2019-A7r-185.jpg
    Same tarn on the hike back with the A7r2 24-105

    The next shots really show why I won't give up my A7.
    Artitsts-Point-2019-A7r-198a.jpg
    A7r2 24mm, note hikers on the rocks to the right of Shuksan.

    Artitsts-Point-2019-A7r-198b.jpg
    Same shot cropped.

    Artitsts-Point-2019-A7r-198.jpg
    cropped more!

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    iPhone

    IMG_4148.jpg
    iPhone crop

    Conclusions: each camera has it's strengths and weaknesses.

    The A7rII with 100-400mm mounted on a big tripod has amazing image quality, but is bulky and heavy, and I always shoot RAW so spend a lot of time in post (which I enjoy, but not everyone does).

    The drone is a niche camera. Can get new and interesting angles and shots impossible otherwise, but takes time to deploy and fly, is illegal in Wilderness areas and NP (not Artist Pt., but half way out under Table Mt.), and can annoy other hikers.

    RX100 IV: Amazing little camera, but to get the best out of it also requires RAW shooting and PP.

    iPhone 11 Pro: Also amazing photos for a smart phone. All that most people will need or want. Photos look fantastic on the phone, but don't stand up so well on the computer. Very little control, too bad Apple doesn't let you shoot RAW in addition to their HDR default. I know there are 3rd party apps that can.
     
    #1 Jim Dockery, Oct 2, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  2. Ben Egbert

    Ben Egbert Forum Helper
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    Thanks Jim for the great write up and comparison. You got some amazing images here. I have been to Artist point once back when I was using a 5D.
     
  3. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

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    Nice write up and comparison. Thanks for taking the time to do this. For me I am down to my iPhone (as you said - always with me in my pocket) and my DSLR. Yes the DSLR is big and I carry a lot of weight in lenses but what it can do is far beyond anything a phone camera will be able to do in my lifetime. I know there are limitations on where/when you can use a drone but I still would love to have that option available.
     
  4. Jameel Hyder

    Jameel Hyder Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up Jim. All the images are very familiar as I have visited this place many times.
     
  5. Jim Dockery

    Jim Dockery Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comments guys.
     
  6. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

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    Quick question - where do you camp near Artist Point? Can you stay overnight at the Artist Point parking area?
     
  7. Jim Dockery

    Jim Dockery Well-Known Member

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    Alan, there are signs posted no camping at Artist Point, but people do stay in vans etc. There are a couple of parking areas at the ski area not posted, the overflow area above the main ski area has an outhouse that makes it a nice spot - not as cold as Artist Point either.
     
  8. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

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    Thanks - not sure I really qualify as a "van" so the ski area parking lot might be the more prudent solution in my case. I have a preference for a heated bathroom so the outhouse isn't a necessary feature for me - just a vaguely level parking spot. The ski area is a lot closer to what I want to shoot than any of the campgrounds along the highway leading up there and none of them have any facilities I care about anyway.
     

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