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Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Time For Giving

'Tis the season when Photo Traveler offers some gift advice for photographers

For flying through countries where you get only one carry-on (like Great Britain), I’ve been using the UD 60. I can fit my 13-inch MacBook, a couple of hard drives and the power charger in the back pocket, while my two cameras, four lenses, two flashes, filters and other assorted accessories fit nicely in the other compartments. One of the hallmarks of ThinkTank bags is the attention to detail and design ($189, Urban Disguise 60, www.thinktankphoto.com).

Days Of Wine And Loupes

How many times have you been shooting on a bright day and tried to examine your LCD, only to be stymied by the overly bright surroundings? Sure, you can try to cup your hands over the LCD or buy one of those pop-up covers (but man, can they be annoying when things aren’t too bright to take a quick look) or pull your shirt over your head to make a temporary viewing tent. But there’s an easier way.

The ingenious HoodLoupe Professional from Hoodman looks just like a film loupe (remember film?) for examining 21/4 transparencies. But it’s optimized with low magnification and designed to fit over LCDs up to 2.75 inches. It also has a ±3 diopter to adjust to individual eyesight, is rubberized to protect from bumps and scratches, and has a neck lanyard and carrying case. It’s a simple solution to a common problem and can save the day when you need to see, say, your fill-flash ratio in bright sun. On a recent shoot for the tourist board of a major East Coast city, which featured a lot of setups with models and strobe lighting, I was able to share my results with the client on the spot without the hassle of shooting tethered to a laptop. It weighs a couple of ounces and doesn’t take up much room and can really help you make digital hay when the sun shines ($70, www.hoodmanusa.com).

If you’re reading this, it’s a slam dunk that you love photography. Many photographers I know are also wine enthusiasts, but even if you aren’t, you’ll love the visual feast in Chuck O’Rear’s latest coffee-table book, Wine Across America: A Photographic Roadtrip (Wineviews Publishing, St. Helena, Calif.). A longtime National Geographic shooter, O’Rear has made a specialty of photographing the wine industry the world over. When he discovered there are now working wineries in every state of the union, he set off on a two-year, 80,000-mile odyssey to photograph them with writer Daphne Larkin.

The result is a stunning collection of beautiful and informative photographs. O’Rear gives it the full, National Geographic treatment, so we see great landscapes, graphic aerials and insightful portraits. The layout, printing and pacing of the book are exquisite, and the thoroughness of the coverage even includes reproductions of bottles and labels from all 50 states. Like a fine wine, the book has many layers of enjoyment. The pictures and the layout alone comprise a great lesson in photography and design, but if you also read Larkin’s excellent text, you’ll learn about the traditions and innovations of this fascinating industry ($35, www.wineviews.com; $23, www.amazon.com).

For a schedule of Bob Krist's workshops and seminars, check his website, www.bobkrist.com, under the "Teach and Talk" heading.



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