FOCUS POINT Create the look typically produced by using special selective-focus or tilt-shift lenses with FocalPoint 1.0 by onOne Software. The FocusBug control allows you to quickly define the “sweet spot” either in a round shape or a plane and then control how much and what kind of blur you want to add. The same tool allows you to add vignettes, which lightens or darkens the area outside of the sweet spot. Both effects are designed to help viewers focus on the subject and not the background. Using the FocusBug, you can also tilt the sweet spot aperture in 3D, simulating the effect of a view camera or tilt-shift lens. List Price: $159. Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.ononesoftware.com.
SECURE DRIVE Mac users now can take advantage of the sleek, smartly designed backup solutions offered by Western Digital with My Passport Studio. The portable drive comes in capacities of up to 320 GB, so you can back up images while out on the road. The drive supports Time Machine, Apple’s backup software utility in the Leopard operating system. Weighing less than five ounces, My Passport Studio comes with FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 interfaces. A smart capacity gauge lets you know how much space is left. List Price: $219 (320 GB); $159 (250 GB). Contact: Western Digital, (877) 934-6972, www.westerndigital.com.
PHOTO EDITOR Nikon’s Capture NX2 imaging software takes a major step forward with improved Control Point technology and workspaces that make better use of the screen layout. Expanding from the first version’s Color Control Point tool, the Selection Control Point tool lets you make nearly any adjustment to a specific area by clicking on the image and using sliders to change it—D-Lighting, brightness, color, focus, correction and noise reduction all can be changed using this technology. The newly developed Auto Retouch Brush allows you to clear away spots and blemishes in a few mouse strokes. List Price: $179. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.
BOOKS 'N SUCH
Canada by Daryl Benson (Cullor Books, 2008; ISBN: 978-0968457641). A collection of 144 color and black-and-white images fill this beautifully bound, hardcover edition. From the Queen Charlotte Islands of western British Columbia to the eastern edge of Cape Spear in Newfoundland and Labrador, Benson crisscrosses his homeland. He also includes a series of short stories on his travels and experiences while photographing.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 6: A Visual Introduction to Digital Photography by Philip Andrews (Focal Press 2007, ISBN: 978-0-240-52099-5). Learn all of the ins and outs of the software’s latest version with step-by-step tutorials and a CD containing more than two hours of video lessons. There’s also a website, www.guide2elements.com.
Our Arizona by Kerrick James (Voyageur Press, 2007; ISBN: 978-0-7603-2837-8). From the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert to the Petrified Forest and Monument Valley, James captures and explores Arizona’s history, culture and natural beauty in this coffee-table book. He takes readers on a tour of historic towns, missions and forts.
The Creative Digital Darkroom by Katrin Eismann and Sean Duggan (O’Reilly, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-596-10047-6). Traditional darkroom techniques and concepts are translated into digital solutions using Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom. This how-to guide is ideal for intermediate and advanced photographers.
Great Smoky Mountains by Steve Kossack (www.stevekossack.com). In his latest DVD, Kossack photographs the mountain range, capturing the beautiful colors of fall. Throughout the shoot, he delivers tips and techniques for improving landscape photos. The DVD is part of his Photographing the Great American Landscape series.
ANOTHER CRUMPLER BAG Known for giving its bags unusual names, Crumpler is just as creative when it comes to the design. The Rufous Whistler is a limited edition of the bag maker’s most popular photo bag, The 5 Million Dollar Home. The bag has a Velcro® silencing option for quiet, but quick access. Features include a padded and brushed nylon-lined main compartment, configurable dividers and a plastic stiffening base layer. There’s also an external pocket with an internal mesh pocket, two hidden internal side pockets, a mesh zip pocket under clip and a Velcro® release flap. The shoulder strap is adjustable. List Price: $90. Contact: Crumpler Bags, (718) 384-3020, www.crumplerbags.com.