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April 2008


How-To

  • Choosing Your Macro


    Getting in close and maintaining critical focus is the forte of this breed of lens



    Macro lenses come in a variety of focal lengths: standard 50mm to 70mm, short telephoto 85mm to 100mm and telephoto 180mm to 200mm. With standard focal-length macros, you have to be physically much closer to your subject to get the full, 1:1 life-size magnification. Lens-to-subject distance usually will be less than six inches.
  • Indecent Exposures (And How To Avoid Them)


    Don't let a bright or dark background sneak in and ruin your exposure!



    While the multi-segment metering systems built into today’s D-SLR cameras provide excellent exposures in an amazingly wide range of situations, there are some scenes that can fool them. Learning to recognize and compensate for those situations will make you a better photographer.
  • Macro Everywhere


    No matter what the weather, the light or the location, you always can get into the close-up world and find "the picture"



    Macro photography is an exciting endeavor—it's an entry into a world that's unseen by most people, who move blithely past the explosion of life all around us because it comes in such small packages. Photographers who find and capture that life in a picture immediately can show off images that will surprise and delight the average person just because the subject matter is largely unseen.
  • Spring In New England


    As the weather warms, the Northeast offers some of its most dramatic and colorful vistas



    The Green Mountains are thickly forested and crisscrossed with a myriad of hiking trails, backcountry dirt roads and rushing streams to explore. In spring, I enjoy venturing into the woods, searching for compositions that feature the rich greens of spring that seem to peak from the middle of May to mid-June.

Gear

  • Canon EOS Rebel XSi


    The latest Rebel D-SLR adds megapixels, Live View and much more


    Canon’s first entry-level digital SLR, the 6.3-megapixel EOS Digital Rebel, was also the first D-SLR to sell for under $1,000. It was followed by the 8-megapixel Digital Rebel XT and the 10.1-megapixel Digital Rebel XTi. Now, the new fourth-generation EOS Rebel XSi continues the Rebel tradition of great value at a low price.
  • Gadget Bag: Multimedia Storage Viewers


    High-tech tools to keep your images secure when you're in the field



    Multimedia storage viewer (MSV) is a fancy name for a compact, handheld image viewer that has a built-in, high-capacity hard drive and certain audio and video functions. They have been around for a few years now, and the current crop is bigger and better than ever. Keen competition has encouraged rival manufacturers to refine existing features and add many new ones‚ and the prices have never been lower.
  • In Focus: April 2008


    Capture sunsets with smoother transitions from light to dark colors using the 12.2-megapixel Canon EOS Rebel XSi, which has an enhanced 14-bit A/D converter, along with many other features and technologies found in the company’s pro models. A fast autofocus system, three-inch Live View LCD with two types of AF and a 35-zone metering system round out some of the top-of-the-line features. The XSi also has the optional Highlight Tone Priority and High-ISO Noise Reduction functions first introduced in the EOS-1D Mark III.
  • Nikon D60


    Nikon's new top entry-level D-SLR combines simple operation with creative capability


    The Nikon D60 adds a number of great new features, including some borrowed from the high-end D3 and D300 to the popular entry-level D40X digital SLR. These include a two-pronged-sensor dust-control system, Nikon’s EXPEED image-processing concept, Active D-Lighting, in-camera NEF (RAW) processing, stop-motion movie mode, white-balance bracketing and an 18-55mm VR (Vibration Reduction) zoom as the kit lens. The result is a quick-responding camera that’s compact, easy to use and capable of creative photography.

  • Your Next Digital Darkroom


    Between the large image files today's new D-SLRs generate and the demands of the latest software tools, your old computer is probably starting to show its age. We have some suggestions when it's time for an upgrade.



    At the heart of most digital darkrooms is a desktop computer system, and compared to your camera and other related gear, it may be lagging behind. And it’s becoming all the more apparent every time you use your sluggish, half-asleep computer. Opening programs. Opening photos. Rendering changes. Saving them. Everything takes too long. It’s time to get a new computer, but what should it be?

Locations

  • A Prairie Photo Companion


    One Colorado photographer takes aim at the plains in a new photo conservation book



    Scenes of the famed Rocky Mountains epitomize the Colorado landscape. Jagged, snowcapped peaks in winter, yellow aspen trees in fall, blooming wildflowers in spring and yearlong wildlife sightings make for the kind of iconic shots that fill photography bookshelves. But one photographer has turned his attention elsewhere in the state. Trading steep, rocky terrain for flat grasslands, Dave Showalter captures the essence of Colorado’s eastern plains in his book Prairie Thunder: The Nature of Colorado’s Great Plains. More than an attempt to show the subtle beauty of a region where few rarely spend time, Showalter joined forces with an army of scientists, conservation groups and private landowners to complete the project. In doing so, his work has become part of a major effort to protect the Colorado grasslands.
  • China South


    Enticing new opportunities for the cultural photographer are becoming more accessible in these less traveled regions of abundant diversity



    With the mega-event of the Summer Olympics coming to Beijing this year, a great deal of focus will be on China’s showcase cities as engines of modernization and commerce. Overlooked may be the incredible geography and ethnic diversity, stretching from the 15,000-foot mountains of Yunnan to the karst formations, clustered villages and rice terraces of Guizhou. These two southern Chinese provinces are populated by a range of colorful ethnic groups perhaps equaled nowhere else in
    the world.
  • Mid-Atlantic Wild!


    From lawyer to naturalist, Ian Plant is now living the dream



    To reach Smith Island, Maryland, from the mainland, nature photographer Ian Plant must navigate a kayak across the Chesapeake Bay for eight miles. While calm seas and blue skies yield an uneventful and rather rapid crossing, it also means a lackluster opportunity for powerful photography. He sets up camp on a remote beach and waits for something better in the morning.

Columns

  • Devil Canyon Overlook, Bighorn Canyon NRA, Wyoming



    Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is a little-known gem located in northern Wyoming and extending through the southern border of Montana. It was established in 1966 after construction of the Yellowtail Dam, which transformed the previously almost impassible Bighorn River into a lake that runs 71 miles south through majestic Bighorn Canyon. The south entrance is located about 10 miles northeast of Lovell, Wyoming, on Highway 37, which is the only road that services the canyon on the south side. Several campgrounds are open year-round.
  • Digging Deep


    Make the effort to create a meaningful body of work



    I can’t stop taking pictures these days. I see images everywhere, and the world is truly a beautiful place. While I live near Yosemite, I needn’t go far beyond my door to be inspired. There’s a wonderful spreading oak tree in my front yard. My backyard is a hillside forest of ponderosa pine, oak and manzanita. Seeking the beauty around me is my ballast, my counterbalance to the craziness out there in the world! The process reaffirms the goodness and beauty that prevails.
  • Digital Formats


    Find the "right" format for you



    It’s interesting to me as an observer of digital photography’s evolution that few people seem to discuss formats. I’m talking about digital formats based on the size of the sensor. In film, we used to talk about formats all the time: 35mm, 645, 6x6, 6x7, 4x5 and so on. Each of these formats has advantages and disadvantages for the nature photographer.

  • Keeping Sensitive To IR's Needs


    Tripping With Infrared Film • Running Out Of Walls • How To Go Pro • Waiting For Long Exposures



    I’m traveling to Patagonia, and I want to carry 35mm infrared film. What suggestions do you have regarding how to get it through international (Argentinean) security? Will they absolutely insist that the film be removed from the canister?
  • Memories From Down Under


    Inspired by a blast from the past



    A long, long time ago, back in April 1985, a talented German rock climber by the name of Wolfgang Gllich succeeded in making the first ascent of the climb Punks in the Gym. Gllich rated the difficulty of the route the staggering grade of 32, or 5.14. The ascent occurred in the small and at the time little-known climbing area of Mount Arapiles, located in the most unlikely of locations‚ the flat, wheat-farming region of southeastern Australia. The local climbing guide reads: For awhile, Punks was the hardest route in the known universe.
  • My Go-To Gurus


    With so much to learn about new technology, it's helpful to have a troupe of experts on whom you can rely



    When it comes to polishing your craft, there’s nothing more helpful than acquiring a mentor. In the Middle Ages, nearly every craftsman and artist spent some time as a journeyman under the tutelage of an elder master with a raft of experience and credentials.

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