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June 2004


How-To

  • Resizing Image Files


    Resizing an image larger or smaller than the original file is a key digital adjustment



    Sooner or later, you’ll run into the challenge of resizing an image. Digital camera files often need to be larger for printing (they magnify in size quite well) or you may need to reduce a photo’s size for e-mailing.
  • Soft And Beautiful Macro


    Take a different approach to creating outstanding close-ups



    Composing close-up photographs for the first time is like discovering a new world. By magnifying the fine details of nature’s most amazing creations, our eyes awaken to the splendor of the world around us. Yet it takes more than a macro lens or a close-up filter to create an exceptional close-up photograph. The "new world" of macrophotography requires a different way of seeing, especially when done through the camera. Here are some techniques I’ve discovered for creating some unusual and exciting close-up photographs.

Gear

  • Carbon-Fiber Tripods


    Take to the trail with these ultralight supports



    For photographers who carry their gear long distances, saving weight is a real issue. We economize every way we can, leaving spare camera bodies behind or bringing fewer rolls of film. We carry lighter tripods, too, but until recently, there was a limit to how much weight we could save in our camera support. Lightly constructed metal tripods just aren’t stiff enough to provide a sharp image.
  • Olympus C-8080


    This solid field camera offers a lot for nature photographers



    While the big buzz is on digital SLRs today, and for good reason, it’s possible to get a top-quality, full-featured, high-megapixel digital camera with truly professional capabilities for around $1,000 (including lenses that will match pro SLR lenses). A perfect example is the new 8-megapixel Olympus C-8080.
  • Summer Gear Guide


    Discover products to help make the most of your photography this season



    Summer is here, and with it come many opportunities to create wonderful photographs. Whether planning to visit your local mountains or travel abroad, you may need more than a camera and lens to make those outings a success.
  • Tokina 17mm Wide-Angle


    A high-quality super-wide-angle at a moderate price



    You can get the focal length of the Tokina AT-X 17 AF Pro lens in a zoom, and sometimes in a similar focal length, so why bother with a single focal length? The answer has two parts: size and quality for the price. The Tokina 17mm ƒ/3.5 lens lists for $810 and has a street price of approximately $400. Zoom lenses that get this wide and are close to this price usually aren’t as sharp as the Tokina in the wider ƒ-stops (stopped down, modern lenses of any major manufacturer at any price are quite remarkable), don’t control flare as well, and exhibit some barrel distortion (bending of straight lines, such as horizons, when near the edge of the frame). After shooting with the AT-X Pro for a while, I found it consistently sharp throughout the ƒ-stop range, with a high degree of flare control, and straight lines stayed straight.

Columns

  • Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey


    The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located only 26 miles from the center of Times Square in New York City. Part of the suburbs near the town of Morristown, N.J., the refuge was formed when environmentalists and developers collided over the construction of a jetport in the 1950s. The Great Swamp Committee came to the rescue; it raised more than a million dollars to purchase the first 3,000 acres of land, which it then donated to the Department of the Interior.

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