Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Accessories For Max Color
Take full advantage of the vivid hues of autumn with our selection of gear for getting your best colors
Even the newest high-tech LCD monitors can be hard to see in bright light, so a device like the Hoodman HoodLoupe (www.hoodmanusa.com) can be very useful. The HoodLoupe 3.0 fits over 3.0-inch or smaller screens, eliminates glare and brightness problems, and provides +/-3 dioptric adjustment for easy focusing, composition and histogram-checking outdoors.
While fall color is on everyone’s mind at this time of year, it’s not the only thing going on for nature photography. This also is the time of the year when there can be some amazing wildlife opportunities. It’s rutting season and, of course, it’s the time of year for southward bird migrations. When you’re out to get wildlife images, a different kind of camera support can make it possible. The BushHawk Shoulder Mount evolved from a basic gun stock, but instead of a rifle barrel, it supports your camera and telephoto lens. The setup is extremely intuitive to use. BushHawk mounts are available in a variety of configurations. Estimated Street Price: $160 ( basic shoulder mount with a trigger). (www.bushhawk.com)
One of the least considered but most useful accessories is the tripod. We write a lot about using tripods in OP and with good reason. If you ask any workshop leader for a single tip that’ll improve your photography, the answer is likely to come back: “Use a tripod.” Just the act of setting up the shot with a tripod forces you to slow down and compose the shot more carefully than if you were snapping away handheld. There are times and places for fast, from-the-hip shooting, but going for more vibrant colors isn’t one of those times.
In addition to slowing you down, a tripod also is a tool that lets you use the optimum camera settings for maximum color. Today’s D-SLRs offer some phenomenal advancements in ISO range, but to get the deepest colors and the most detail, low ISOs are still your best bet. To get the lowest ISO while maintaining an aperture for the kind of depth of field you want in a typical landscape shot, a slow shutter speed will be in order. Also, because we often get the best color at “magic hour” when the overall light level is somewhat low, a slow shutter speed is even more necessary. Keeping the camera rock-steady on a good tripod with a good ballhead is critical.
With so many tripod and ballhead choices in various sizes, extensions and load capacities, we’ve listed the main manufacturers and their websites here. When choosing your tripod or ballhead, evaluate how much weight you’ll need to support (be conservative here) and how much extension you require. Once you have that, decide on whether you want carbon fiber, wood, aluminum or another exotic material.
Wooden tripods do a great job with vibration dampening, but they’re usually somewhat heavy compared to other materials. Aluminum models are relatively inexpensive and quite sturdy. The tripods made of carbon fiber and other more exotic materials tend to cost more, and their combination of light weight, sturdiness and dampening makes them a perennial favorite of nature professionals. Some of the choice brands are Benro (www.benro.com), Berlebach (www.hpmarketingcorp.com), Cullmann (www.rtsphoto.com), Davis & Sanford (www.tiffen.com), Flashpoint (www.adorama.com), Giottos (www.hpmarketingcorp.com), Gitzo (www.bogenimaging.us), Induro (www.indurogear.com), Manfrotto (www.bogenimaging.us), Novoflex (www.hpmarketingcorp.com), Really Right Stuff (www.reallyrightstuff.com), Slik (www.thkphoto.com) and Vanguard (www.vanguardworld.com).
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