Grand Canyon Float trip recommendations

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Dstrouse

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In May I will be floating the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I will be on the river for 15 days with a commercial outfitter. I am taking my large format camera and I would like to know from members what highlights to look forward to. I would also welcome anyone who could relate their experiences with commercial outfitters. We are using Outdoor Unlimited and the trip is to be tailored to hiking. Any cautions, suggestions or advice are welcome. Thanks,

Dale
 

Aggie

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Get waterproof cases for everything. I did it with an outfitter who used wooden boats back in the early 70's. You will really enjoy the trip.
 

mark

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Water prrof everything and beware of sandstorms. They will pop up easily in May. Are others on the trip aware of your large format camera and the time it takes? Not to be discouraging but I would talk to the guide about the camera, and if they think it is the best option. It is their job, and they can only do it if they know what the expectations, of the people they are guiding, are. Good luck and have a hell of a good time.

Oh yeah the water is really, really, really damn cold all year round.
 

MurrayMinchin

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Hi Dale...have FUN on your trip!

Do you already have a changing bag, or are you buying one for your trip? I ask this because I bought one years ago - rubberized black nylon outer layer / black fabric inner layer - that puked dozens of tiny fabric fibers onto each of my negatives. I learned this lesson the hard way because I used it for the first time on a 3 day hike in the mountains.

Murray
 

MattCarey

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One tangential suggestion:

I did a canoe trip down the green river a few years back. I found that my Nikonos with 35mm was very useful.

Matt
 

Wally H

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Comments from my experiences of rafting thru the Grand Canyon...

* Using a Pelican case I was thought I was being very clever when I decided to cool the case off by emersing it in the water, (my film was inside the case too, it was very hot down there and my gear was on top in the sun). To my surprise I saw bubbles rising up from the case. Upon inspection, the case had water in it. Reason? The gasket was about three years old AND my Pelican cases always had the lids closed since I used them as my regular cases. This wears out the gaskets faster. Put new one in before you go and take a spare. Keep the gasket free of sand, etc., and take a jar of petroleum jelly to treat the gasket after cleaning (if necessary).

* Depending upon your situation and where they store your gear try to have it on the bottom of the center heap to keep it out of the sun. If it is a very large raft it may be possible to store in in their under the deck storage space midships. This will keep things out of the sun.

* Do not set up your tent at the water's edge, no matter how romantic this might seem. At night the water level can rise. The Dam upstream adjusts how much water it releases. I found it very difficult to find another camp site in the middle of the night.

* Although I knew some about geology and the guides explained things, had I had boned up a bit more it would have been much more interesting and enjoyable (although maybe not directly related to making images). Going down river the geology gets older and older until it is the oldest stuff on the planet?

Enjoy and remember to hold your breath when you are under water!
 
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Dstrouse

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I think the outfitter supplies a dry bag for your clothes, etc., and I am going to by a large dry bag for my photo gear. I also plan on taking a box of heavy duty zip lock bags for individual item protection.
 
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Dstrouse

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mark said:
Water prrof everything and beware of sandstorms. They will pop up easily in May. Are others on the trip aware of your large format camera and the time it takes? Not to be discouraging but I would talk to the guide about the camera, and if they think it is the best option. It is their job, and they can only do it if they know what the expectations, of the people they are guiding, are. Good luck and have a hell of a good time.

Oh yeah the water is really, really, really damn cold all year round.
I have already told the outfitter about my camera so they know. I am pretty self sufficient in the wild, so I know how to use a map and compass and I am skilled in keeping myself "found."
 
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Dstrouse

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MurrayMinchin said:
Hi Dale...have FUN on your trip!

Do you already have a changing bag, or are you buying one for your trip? I ask this because I bought one years ago - rubberized black nylon outer layer / black fabric inner layer - that puked dozens of tiny fabric fibers onto each of my negatives. I learned this lesson the hard way because I used it for the first time on a 3 day hike in the mountains.

Murray
Thanx,
I am going to use readyloads for all my shooting. It won't be my film of choice but I do have plenty of experience with TMax
 
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Dstrouse

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ceratto said:
Comments from my experiences of rafting thru the Grand Canyon...

* Using a Pelican case I was thought I was being very clever when I decided to cool the case off by emersing it in the water, (my film was inside the case too, it was very hot down there and my gear was on top in the sun). To my surprise I saw bubbles rising up from the case. Upon inspection, the case had water in it. Reason? The gasket was about three years old AND my Pelican cases always had the lids closed since I used them as my regular cases. This wears out the gaskets faster. Put new one in before you go and take a spare. Keep the gasket free of sand, etc., and take a jar of petroleum jelly to treat the gasket after cleaning (if necessary).

* Depending upon your situation and where they store your gear try to have it on the bottom of the center heap to keep it out of the sun. If it is a very large raft it may be possible to store in in their under the deck storage space midships. This will keep things out of the sun.

* Do not set up your tent at the water's edge, no matter how romantic this might seem. At night the water level can rise. The Dam upstream adjusts how much water it releases. I found it very difficult to find another camp site in the middle of the night.

* Although I knew some about geology and the guides explained things, had I had boned up a bit more it would have been much more interesting and enjoyable (although maybe not directly related to making images). Going down river the geology gets older and older until it is the oldest stuff on the planet?

Enjoy and remember to hold your breath when you are under water!
Wally, that is a great idea. Since I am a reptile lover I have alredy boned up on the local herptofauna. I guess I will get a book on the geology of the GC too.
 

Aggie

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Dstrouse said:
I think the outfitter supplies a dry bag for your clothes, etc., and I am going to by a large dry bag for my photo gear. I also plan on taking a box of heavy duty zip lock bags for individual item protection.

If they are the same type I had long ago, any sharp object will puncture them, ie. a camera with sharp corners that is a bit more than a t shirt in weight. Better to get something before you go than to find out when you get there it is inadequate, with no place to for an alternative.
 

mark

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Dstrouse said:
I have already told the outfitter about my camera so they know. I am pretty self sufficient in the wild, so I know how to use a map and compass and I am skilled in keeping myself "found."

If you do plan to leave the group for a spell, be careful. Decide how much water you will need and then double it. The bottom of the canyon is hot and like a blast furnace the heat is dry and will suck the moisture away really fast. make sure you post pictures when you get back.
 
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