Keep your lenses free of dirt with the Hoodman Lens Cleanse natural cleaning kit. The towelettes are made of organic plant enzymes that break down grime without damaging the coatings on your glass or the environment. They're also constructed with soft natural wood fibers that won't scratch lenses or filters. There are wet and dry kits, and they come in single units or packs of 12. List Price: $9 (12-pack). Contact: Hoodman USA, (800) 818-3946, www.hoodmanusa.com.
If you do a lot of shooting from the car window, the Puffin Pad gives your DSLR a steady base. It's a lightweight alternative to a beanbag with a slot that fits over the car window and allows the camera to tilt up or down. Constructed of automotive closed-cell foam, the pad weighs just 3.4 ounces and measures 7x5x5 inches. When the window retracts into the door, it saddles most car doors. You can use it on other surfaces, as well, such as a fence post, table or gate. Estimated Street Price: $29. Contact: Puffin Pad, (407) 207-8198, www.puffinpad.com.
Copy and store up to 500 GB worth of imaging files on the Flashpoint DataBank 500. With a transfer rate of up to 5 MB/s, the storage drive safely copies 1 GB of data in about 3.5 minutes. It's compatible with most popular memory card formats and is small enough to be used as a portable drive out in the field. All image formats are supported, including RAW. When transferring files, the backlit screen lets you know the status, as well as remaining drive capacity and battery charge. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Flashpoint (Adorama), (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.
The circular shape of the Really Right Stuff Flash Ring flash bracket gives you more flexibility when shooting with an off-camera flash. Up to 240 degrees of rotational positioning is possible, allowing you to put your flash exactly where you want to. Two models are available: The FR-87 weighs 6.1 ounces and is ideal when shooting with a moderate telephoto lens; the FR-91 weighs 7.2 ounces and works when using a larger tele. Flash mounts from the Really Right Stuff B-series flash brackets are compatible with the new rings for each respective size. The brackets are available alone or bundled with the B87-QRFM or B91-QRFM flash mounts, which measure 2.6x1.9 inches and weigh four ounces. Estimated Street Price: $288 (FR-87 with head); $320 (FR-91 with head). Contact: Really Right Stuff, (888) 777-5557, www.reallyrightstuff.com.
BOOKS ’N SUCH
Tibet: Culture On The Edge by Phil Borges (Rizzoli, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-8478-3691-8). Combining stunning photography with firsthand accounts, the book explores the indigenous lifestyles of the Tibetan people, as well as their natural surroundings. Threatened by industrial development, climate change and political struggles, Tibet remains one of the most intriguing places in the world.
TIME Great Places of History: Civilization's 100 Most Important Sites: An Illustrated Journey edited by Kelly Knauer (TIME, 2011; ISBN: 978-1-60320-196-4). Take a tour of more than 100 places where history was made, from influential battles and artistic renaissances to important discoveries and religious events. Hundreds of photos fill the book's pages, with places such as the Kremlin, the Forbidden City and the Acropolis.
The Elements of Photography: Understanding And Creating Sophisticated Images by Angela Faris Belt (Focal Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-240-81515-2). Improve your skills, learn new techniques and expand your creative boundaries using this practical guide. More than 300 images, including portfolios from more than 40 acclaimed artists, provide visual inspiration for taking your photography to the next level.
Temples of Cambodia: The Heart of Angkor by Barry Brukoff and Helen Ibbitson Jessup (Vendome Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0865652620). Experience these architectural wonders in the pages of this large-format hardcover. Originally built as modest brick structures in the 7th and 8th centuries, the temples gradually became more monumental as technology progressed.
Frozen Planet: A World Beyond Imagination by Alastair Fothergill and Vanessa Berlowitz (Firefly Books, 2011; ISBN: 978-1-55407-991-9). This is the third installment in the BBC Earth series, a companion book to the television series. It follows some of the world's top wildlife photographers as they capture rarely seen animal behavior and landscapes, including Antarctica's active volcanoes and the once-restricted Russian Arctic.