FLASH DIFFUSER KIT
If you want to make your nature photography look more dynamic, be sure you’re getting the most out of your lighting accessories. The Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible kit is a worthy option if portability and power are of equal importance. There are two versions, basic and pro, and both kits are built around the Lightsphere Collapsible diffuser, which attaches to your flash without a strap or band. In addition to the diffuser, the basic kit includes the White Dome, AmberDome and ChromeDome accessories. The domes fit over the diffuser for warming up light or increasing output. The basic kit also comes with gels for adding color. The pro version adds the chrome-plated PowerSnoot with a grid for creating more dramatic lighting effects. Estimated Street Price: $119 (basic); $169 (pro). Contact: Gary Fong, Inc., (800) 906-6447, www.garyfonginc.com.
The Lensbaby 35mm optic is the creative lens maker’s first and only model to have an internal 12-blade adjustable aperture that goes from ƒ/2.5 to ƒ/22. Rotating the aperture dial creates a sweet spot of sharp focus that you can move around by tilting your Lensbaby lens. Since the aperture opening controls the size of the sweet spot, you can see it change through the lens and take shots you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The size of the sweet spot ranges from 15% at ƒ/2.5 to 40% at ƒ/22 of the total image area on APS-C-sensor cameras. The optic focuses down to 7.5 inches from the front of the lens when used with the Composer and as close as three inches with the Muse. Estimated Street Price: $180. Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.
If a laptop, an iPod, an external hard drive and other gadgets are essential when you trek outdoors, the Lowepro CompuDay Photo bags are designed to carry all of those items and more. An adjustable padded camera compartment holds a compact DSLR with an attached lens and up to a 15.6-inch laptop, plus a cell phone, an iPod or MP3 player, a portable hard drive and other extras. The DSLR chamber can be adjusted for a snug fit with the cinch strap. When the camera is removed, the chamber collapses to create more room. A side pocket gives you quick access to your DSLR for on-the-go, grab-and-shoot situations. The CompuDay Photo 250 is a traditional backpack, and the 150 is a messenger bag. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.
The Kodak Professional Portra 160 has a significantly finer grain structure for a 160-speed color-negative film. Advanced Cubic Emulsions help to achieve the finer grain for improved scanning and enlargement as well as sharpness. The film, which will be available in 35mm, 120/220, 4x5 and 8x10 formats, does away with the NC (Natural Color) and VC (Vivid Color) demarcations of previous Portra films. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Kodak, (800) 235-6325, www.kodak.com/go/professional.
The Induro Adventure AKP Series Tripod Kits are designed for ease and convenience, both of which are needed when shooting outside. Non-rotating aluminum alloy legs with a quick flip-lock system make setup simple, and a three-way panhead delivers precise camera positioning, as well as a snap-in quick-release plate for fast operation. Three models are available, the compact four-leg section AKP0 and the heavy-duty, three-leg section AKP1 and AKP2. An oversized, center-column locking collar provides a better grip and reduces vibration. A closed cell-foam grip delivers comfortable handling in cold or wet weather. Estimated Street Price: $164 to $219. Contact: Induro, (914) 347-3300, www.indurogear.com.