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Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Essentials


In the season of giving, check out our collection of inexpensive, but incredibly useful photo accessories for outdoor photographers

This Article Features Photo Zoom

The Essentials

Lexar Professional UDMA FireWire 800 CF Reader.

Now that you have an extra memory card, you need a memory card reader. A distinct advantage to using a card reader is that you avoid using your camera’s connections, which are notoriously susceptible to wear and tear. Mainly, though, the faster you can get your images off your card and archived, the faster you can get back out and shoot. A FireWire 800 interface provides exceptionally fast file transfers, and Lexar’s Professional UDMA FireWire 800 CF Reader offers transfer rates of up to 100 MBps, twice as fast as traditional FireWire 400 (which is already pretty fast). The reader also has a stackable design for combining up to four readers in the same desk space, providing concurrent downloading from more than one card at a time. It’s available at a list price of $79. Contact: Lexar Media, (800) 789-9418, www.lexar.com

B+W Redhancer 491 Enhancing Filter.

There’s no better way to enhance your photography while you’re out in the field than through the use of optical filters. Available in entire spectrums of colors, densities and sizes, you can produce effects that will bring out the colors in a landscape scene and turn it into a work of art. B+W’s Redhancer 491 line of enhancing filters uses didymium glass construction to emphasize the reddish components of orange, near red or brown colors. Images, especially with content such as fall foliage, will seem like they’re bursting with color. The list price for the B+W Redhancer 491 Enhancing Filter begins at $79 (price depends on lens diameter and type). Contact: B+W (Schneider Optics), (800) 645-7239, www.schneideroptics.com.
The Essentials

The Essentials

Ergorest MultiTripod.

Even with modern technologies like optical image stabilization, there’s no better way to ensure sharp shooting than to use a tripod. The Ergorest MultiTripod provides balance for situations in which a normal tripod can’t. Designed for compact functionality, the MultiTripod is specially built to attach to a car door, ideal for shooting through the windows of a vehicle when on safaris or out on the back roads. It also functions as a shoulder and chest support, with a finger pattern constructed for a firm grip when attached to heavy telephoto lenses. The stand is useful for macro photography of flowers and insects, as well, providing low-to-the-ground positioning that you can’t always get with typical tripods. The MultiTripod can also be used for table mounting, flash and lighting support, and even video or sound recording with reversible ¼- to 3/8-inch threads.The Ergorest MultiTripod is available for an estimated street price of $79. Contact: Ergorest (HP Marketing Corp.), (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.

Hoodman HoodLoupe Professional.

If you don’t have the advantage of having a laptop with you, sometimes the pictures reviewed on your LCD may look better in the sun than they actually are. To get the best perspective of what you just shot, Hoodman has a great LCD viewer, the HoodLoupe Professional, which lets you get a clear view on your LCD screen. It eliminates all glare when you hold it up to the LCD and can work on screens up to 2.75 inches. The HoodLoupe Professional can be strapped around your neck for comfort; and for those of you with diopter adjustments like those on your D-SLR, it sets to +3 to -3 diopters. The best part is, it’s only $69. Contact: Hoodman, (800) 818-3946, www.hoodmanusa.com.
The Essentials

The Essentials

Petzl TACTIKKA Plus 4 LED Headlamp.

There are a variety of reasons that a flashlight is important in nature photography. For one, it always helps to see where you’re going, especially when you want to be out for the magic hours of sunrise and sunset. You can capture some great shots during these times, but you run the risk of stumbling around before and after daylight. Another reason is simply to see your equipment and the settings on your camera when there isn’t enough light. Of course, a flashlight means one hand is busy when you usually need both. Petzl takes this problem, literally, out of your hands. The TACTIKKA Plus 4 LED Headlamp uses LED technology for lightweight illumination that fits comfortably to a headband. Positioned just above your eyes, the beam of light will point wherever you’re looking. The TACTIKKA Plus offers up to 150 hours of illumination. There are three lighting levels, and a pull-down red filter makes the light more night-friendly for easier acclimation of your eyes to the darkness. The TACTIKKA Plus is available at an estimated street price of $43, and most other Petzl headlamps are also available for well under $100. Contact: Petzl, (801) 926-1500, www.petzl.com.

VisibleDust Arctic Butterfly 724 Sensor Brush.

It’s important to shoot right from the start. One of the ways to do this is to clean the dust on your camera’s delicate sensor. Dark spots or blotches will form on your images, especially noticeable in the bright areas of an image, like skies or clouds. The VisibleDust Arctic Butterfly 724 Sensor Brush does this by removing debris from your sensor through a positive electric charge on the bristles of the brush. The head then uses a rotor to spin itself rapidly releasing picked up dust and dirt and simultaneously recharging the head. The sensor brush is travel-friendly, unlike air canisters, and uses replaceable AAA batteries. It’s available at a list price of $94, and VisibleDust also offers a range of sensor-cleaning tools and kits to meet your individual needs. Contact: VisibleDust, (877) 999-9404, www.visibledust.com.
The Essentials

The Essentials

Leatherman Charge ALX.

Traveling light is essential in outdoor photography, but so is the ability to perform quick fixes on the fly. Leatherman has solved this problem by manufacturing an entire toolbox of tools as a single instrument that will fit snugly in your pocket. The Charge ALX provides all of the basics, including pliers, knives, saw, screwdrivers and more. The included cutting hook will tear through difficult materials like aluminum, leather and nylon. The aerospace aluminum handles feature an ergonomic, rounded grip for comfort and strength, and the entire system folds down to a compact four-inch tool. Sometimes the best tool for improving your photography is a tool itself. The Charge ALX is available at an estimated street price of just under $100. Contact: Leatherman, (800) 847-8665, www.leatherman.com.

Hama Camera Spirit Level.

Leveling your camera for a perfect panoramic or landscape shot isn’t an exact science, but with Hama’s Camera Spirit Level, it can be. By easily attaching it to the hot-shoe on your D-SLR, the Camera Spirit Level acts as a leveler on two separate axes, vertically and horizontally, allowing you to line up the perfect horizon shot or stitch together a panorama using your tripod. So whether it’s a single frame or multiples, it doesn’t hurt to use this little device when trying to make perfect perspectives. Gain the accuracy you want for your photos without wasting time when the sun is about to set, hook it up, level it out and get what you want with this great-priced item for only $19. Contact: Hama, www.hama.co.uk.
The Essentials

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