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December 2007


How-To

  • Extraordinary Light


    Learn to use the subtleties of illumination for dramatic landscape images



    You know the difference between frontlight, sidelight and backlight. You’ve heard about the need to capture the "magic hours" around sunrise and sunset. But to master light, the essence of photography, you have to move beyond these basics and learn the nuances—the subtleties that can make a dull image brilliant.
  • Stock Options


    An estimated 80,000 images are licensed for publication each day, with the stock-photo industry making sales of about $2 billion per year. Here‚’s a primer on how to market your images as stock.



    More than 29 years ago, I received my first check in the mail for the use of one of my images. It was an indescribable thrill for a beginning nature photographer—the ultimate affirmation of my work. I now have more than 10,000 published images, and I firmly believe you also can have the same success.
  • Storm Chaser


    When the weather turns bad, it's time to get the camera. Even in the winter, there are astonishing images to be had if you‚’re willing to look for them.



    My choice of seats on the eastern rim of a 1,000-foot chasm was questionable, but the sandstone boulder was a welcome relief from the long hike I had just made along the rimrock in search of cactus flowers in bloom. It was in the spring season, and wildflowers were blossoming in full color over the northern Texas Panhandle, and I needed images for a Texas Highways article on Panhandle flowering plants. The day had been long, and I was taking a much-needed respite before the 200-mile drive home.

Gear

  • Canon EOS 40D


    A major upgrade for Canon's midrange D-SLR



    I own 10D, 20D and 30D cameras, so I could hardly wait for the new Canon EOS 40D to arrive. While the 30D represented a relatively minor upgrade of the 20D, the 40D represents a major overhaul of its excellent predecessor. New features include a 10.1-megapixel Canon-produced CMOS image sensor, a 3-inch LCD monitor with live-view capability, 6.5 fps shooting, a self-cleaning image sensor unit, a latest-generation Canon DIGIC III image processor, 14-bit A/D conversion and more—for $100 less than the 30D when it was introduced.
  • Gadget Bag: The Perfect Cover


    Keeping the winter elements of rain, sleet and snow off your camera is easy, as long as you have the right piece of protective gear



    As winter arrives, it’s a good time to remember that water and most camera gear don’t mix well. Fortunately, a number of companies offer solutions: camera weather protectors.

  • In Focus: December 2007


    Frame your wildlife shots with one of the big-lens additions to Nikon’s super-telephoto lineup. The AF-S Nikkor 400mm ƒ/2.8G ED VR, AF-S Nikkor 500mm ƒ/4G ED VR and AF-S Nikkor 600mm ƒ/4G ED VR are designed for Nikon FX and DX format D-SLRs. All include the VR II Vibration Reduction system, which lets you shoot handheld at shutter speeds four times slower than would otherwise be possible. A Nano Crystal Coat, which is an extra-low refractive index coating, reduces potential ghosting and flare and nearly eliminates internal lens element reflections. Three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements minimize chromatic aberrations. To reduce the weight, the lens barrel is constructed out of rugged, die-cast magnesium.
  • The Essentials


    In the season of giving, check out our collection of inexpensive, but incredibly useful photo accessories for outdoor photographers



    In photography, we tend to concentrate our efforts and our wallets on the big-ticket items. Cameras and lenses always seem to be at the top of everyone’s wish list, but even as the latest camera or super-zoom can be a welcome addition to your bag, it’s often the little things that can make some of the biggest differences in your photography.

  • Zeiss F-Mount Lenses


    A trio of new high-quality optics are available for the Nikon line of cameras



    A new player has entered the arena of digital SLR nature photography. While it’s a name synonymous with exceptional quality and performance in its optics, that reputation has mostly centered on medium-format camera lenses, binoculars, spotting scopes and motion-picture lenses used by Hollywood’s movie industry.

Locations

  • Impressions of Light


    Using the capabilities of a digital camera and embracing a desire to experiment, William Neill is producing a body of unique images that go far beyond literal landscapes



    I’ve been a photographer for 35 years. I started out with my first camera in 1974, a 35mm Pentax Spotmatic. I most often photographed natural patterns and other details in the landscape. In 1982, I acquired a 4x5 field camera, and for the next 20 years, I photographed mostly with 4x5 transparency film. I continued to concentrate on photographing landscape details, as well as broad views and dramatic light.

Columns

  • A Time For Giving


    'Tis the season when Photo Traveler offers some gift advice for photographers



    It’s the time of year when the avid traveling photographer should be thinking of dropping the necessary hints to loved ones of what might be the appropriate gift for the family shutterbug. Yes, dropping not-so-subtle suggestions about what you’d like could be seen as being somewhat uncouth or overtly self-serving. But who else knows the technical subtleties of digital gear and gadgets as well as you, and geez, who needs another tie or scarf with cameras imprinted on it or a cute statuette of a photographer sitting in a sports car with a couple of cameras around his neck and a bumper sticker that reads, "Warning:
    I Brake For Pictures"?

  • Denny Creek Area, Central Cascades, Washington


    The Cascade Mountains of Washington State form a north-south backbone extending from the Canadian border in the north to the Columbia River in the south. An hour’s drive from the Seattle area brings one to the first of many access points into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, a 360,000-acre preserve of mountain streams, alpine lakes, deep evergreen forests and snow-covered peaks. Fifty miles from the Seattle-Tacoma region on Interstate 90, you’ll find the Denny Creek area, with a well-maintained five-mile trail that follows streams and lush mountain meadows to Melakwa Lake. Another trailhead nearby leads to Granite Mountain and more alpine and subalpine lakes.
  • Digital Exposure


    What does good exposure give you? And can you trust the histogram?



    Auto-exposure systems built into cameras today are very good. Camera manufacturers have done an outstanding job in creating complete systems that give excellent results. The computing power inside a camera equals powerful stand-alone computers of not that long ago. Multiple metering points are measured at the instant of exposure, evaluated, compared to a database of what a good exposure should be for the conditions and an exposure is computed and sent to the camera controls to execute in terms of ƒ-stop and shutter speed—all within that same instant.
  • Getting Vertical


    Vertically Challenged • Maximum Quality Formula? • A Little Night Action • Filtering The Sky • Park Photo Permits



    I understand how to properly expose horizontal panoramas using a leveled tripod and leveled camera, but how do I get precise vertical panoramas when working from a tripod?
    J. Forest
    Cedar City, Utah
  • Winter's Grace


    The solitude of photography in snow



    I love to photograph nature during the winter. Emotionally, the quiet and stillness are calming and meditative to me. Here in the Yosemite area, the tourist traffic slows down and so the atmosphere is less frenetic. Over the years, I’ve made more Yosemite images during winter than any other season.

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