Now is the most popular time of year to take to the trails and campsites of America. Having the right gear will keep you outdoors in comfort and safety.
Serious outdoor photography tends to be a gear-intensive pursuit, not just with camera equipment, but also with the tools it takes to safely and comfortably scout the great outdoors. The shelter, footwear, clothing, gadgets and other outdoor accessories you choose can be just as important as your photo equipment in helping you get the right images—a fact to which anyone who has ever shivered themselves awake in a lousy sleeping bag or endured a leaky, drafty tent will attest. If you haven’t shopped for outdoor equipment lately, you’re in for a surprise. It’s lighter and more functional than ever, even if there’s the occasional associated sticker shock. When it comes to chasing the best outdoor photo situations, you’ll be glad you’re properly outfitted with items like these.
9-megapixel RAW capture with an optical 10.7x zoom
It’s amazing just how much is expected of a basic camera today. Fujifilm’s loaded FinePix S9100, successor to the S9500, does its best to raise expectations even more with an array of impressive features.
A versatile lens with a fast aperture and popular focal length for D-SLRs
When we all shot film, one of the favorite focal lengths for a macro lens was 105mm. Sigma’s new 70mm ƒ/2.8 macro lens fits that tradition for digital cameras. All photographers using digital SLRs with small-format, APS-C-sized sensors will find that this lens acts like a 105mm lens with a 35mm camera because of the crop or multiply factor.
A hard drive/viewer that lets you leave the laptop at home
Though my wife believes my laptop is permanently tethered to my body, there are times when I don’t want to tote around my computer. Such a time is when I’m out shooting in the field. But since I still want to back up my digital files before I get home, the Epson P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewer provides a good way to both secure and share my images.
Back up and review your images in the field with handheld media devices
Last summer at the Bronx Zoo, I overheard a seasoned professional photographer explaining his Epson multimedia storage viewer to a zoo employee. "I used to work with an assistant," he said. "Now I use this. Best part is, it never oversleeps."
Quickly import, organize, manage and showcase large volumes of your digital photographs using Adobe Lightroom. With powerful workflow tools and a streamlined user interface, Lightroom processes your images nondestructively in RAW, JPEG and TIFF. All of the tasks you see in the main interface—Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print and Web—are designed to act as independent modules so you have full, intuitive control. Tools include a precision white-balance selection option, tone curve adjustment for making midtone, shadow and highlight modifications, and search presets for quicker image retrieval. Lightroom is compatible with Photoshop CS2 and Elements, and works with Macintosh- and Windows-based systems.
A large-format printer for big color and B&W enlargements
The benefit of digital cameras with resolutions of 8 megapixels and higher is the ability to make larger and larger prints. It’s because of these increased resolutions that large-format inkjet printers have gained in popularity among professional labs and photographers producing their own enlargements. With its imageProGraf iPF5000 printer, Canon offers a printer capable of producing exceptional color and black-and-white prints.
Change the qualities of focus for repeatable and dynamic results
The Lensbaby series of lenses has quickly grown in popularity, not only among fine-art and portrait photographers, but also with those of us interested in outdoor photography. Providing some of the creative flexibility of a view camera, these lenses offer the ability to control the quality of focus with a D-SLR.
Take along a tripod when away from home to ensure sharp photographs
Many of us look forward to vacation travel for the photo opportunities such journeys provide.Away from our daily routines, visiting a new and visually rich destination makes it easier to come away with great photographs.
Give your images some room to stretch on the Samsung SyncMaster XL20 monitor. Designed for users with lofty color demands, the 20-inch display uses a unique light-emitting diode backlight unit for an ultra-wide color gamut. The monitor is further enhanced by a color-management system that helps provide vivid and precise color. The system includes color calibration and Image Viewer, a tool that corrects color differences between monitors and printers. Other notable features include a 1000:1 contrast ratio, a wide 178-degree viewing angle and a high resolution of 1600 x 1200.
Show off your images using the latest in projection technology
We may still call our multimedia productions "slideshows," but there’s no way anyone will ever confuse one of today’s digital projectors with the slide projectors of yesteryear. Compared to their analog ancestors, they’re quieter, brighter and more versatile—they’re also more expensive, so here’s what you need to know to prepare for your foray into the world of digital projectors.
Dramatic weather makes for dramatic photos, but you need to protect your camera for the conditions
Raindrops on roses—no problem. But rain, snow or condensation on camera equipment can mean disaster. Likewise, low temperatures can impede battery performance, and very low temperatures can impair human performance as well. High temps are hazardous, too—direct sunlight can make black lenses excessively warm and prevent proper operation. It’s safer to stay indoors when the climate becomes extreme.
A new lens with macro capability and high image quality
A telephoto zoom is an important part of most outdoor photographers’ gear. But unlike the casual shooter, for a pro or serious amateur, a fast maximum aperture becomes essential because we often find ourselves shooting in relatively low light, such as at dusk or dawn. Yet such fast lenses can often be expensive and out of reach for some photographers. With the Sigma APO 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG Macro HSM, a fast telephoto zoom for less than $1,200, I was curious to see how well this affordable zoom would perform.
An effective anti-dust system and 10.1 megapixels come to this D-SLR
I do almost all of my photography outdoors. That means lots of lens changes in the field, and that means dust on my D-SLRs’ image sensors (and my photos). Blower brushes don’t completely remove it, and though I’ve bought a clean-it-yourself kit, I haven’t quite worked up the nerve to try it yet. So one of my favorite D-SLR features is an anti-dust system.
Discover how some affordable accessories can fill a holiday niche
While holiday dreams of the latest D-SLRs rather than sugar plums dance around most photographers’ heads, there’s no shortage of more affordable fair to satisfy passionate shutterbugs. Though a large wrapped box with our name on it is always appealing, we decided to suggest a variety of stocking stuffers for yourself or the photographer in your life. While some of these items might not fit snugly in a stocking, each one fits a special niche that will help keep your favorite photographer happy and perhaps more eager to produce memorable photographs.