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California’s Eastern Sierra
Explore the many opportunities for dramatic landscape photography on the sunrise side of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
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In Focus: August 2007
Take landscape and nature shots with finely tuned color using the Sigma DP1. This high-end compact camera features the same unique Foveon X3 direct image sensor, with 14-megapixel color photosites, used in the SD14 D-SLR for capturing full and accurate color image information. The sensor uses three silicon embedded layers of photo sensors, stacked to take advantage of silicon’s ability to absorb red, green and blue light at different respective depths. The sensor is physically as big as sensors on other compact digital cameras by a factor of 10 to 12. The DP1 features a 16.6mm ƒ/4 lens (35mm equivalent of 28mm), a 2.5-inch LCD and shoots RAW and JPEG formats. List Price: Less than $1,000. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigma-photo.com.
Dive deep with the Olympus PT-EO3 underwater housing. designed specifically for the company’s EVOLT E-410 D-SLR. A fluorite window in front of the lens allows for clear, bright images. The PT-EO3’s design lets you easily see the LCD panel, giving a full view of what’s floating in the water. The housing can be used down to about 133 feet. All Olympus housings feature a large shutter button and full access to the camera’s controls. List Price: TBD. Contact: Olympus,
Put your gear in Tenba’s new Shootout collection of shoulder bags designed for the outdoor photographer. The bags come in small, medium and large sizes, covering a range of space needs from a single SLR and lens to multiple camera bodies, lenses and a laptop. The well-padded interiors are customized to fit your needs, with front and side accessory pockets, a removable media wallet and a phone pouch. The medium- and large-sized bags have Quick Access pockets that let you access your gear from the side without having to open the entire bag. List Price: $140 to $228. Contact: Tenba, (914) 347-3300, www.tenba.com.
JUST FOR STUDENTS
Every year, the North American Nature Photography Association awards scholarships to 10 high school students, ages 14 to 18. Winners get to attend the association’s annual summit where they learn about nature photography, meet professional photographers and writers, and take part in classroom and field instruction three days before the conference begins. The application deadline is October 15. The next program will take place in Destin, Fla., from February 24 to March 2, 2008. Application information is available online. Contact: NANPA, (303) 422-8527, www.nanpa.org/scholarships.html.
Make navigation easy with the nuvi 650 by Garmin. The sleek device features a bright, 4.3-inch wide-screen display for improved map viewing, points-of-interest lookup and a touch screen for easy use. A simplified interface, turn-by-turn, voice-prompted directions, preloaded street maps with an extensive database of hotels, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs and more all help you stay on track from point A to point B. Estimated Street Price: $749. Contact: Garmin, (800) 800-1020, www.garmin.com.
When you’re out hiking around, know where you’re going with the Traildrop from High Gear. The device functions as a digital compass, temperature gauge, watch and chronograph. The compass displays your bearings in degrees and cardinal points with a leveling bubble for increased accuracy. The temperature is measured in degrees Celsius and Fahrenheit, while the watch keeps tabs on the hour, day, date and month with dual time zone capability. List Price: $50. Contact: High Gear, www.highgear.com.
Buck Knives new Buck/Mayo Waimea knife features a smooth one-handed opening, contoured frame-lock design and high-quality titanium handle. The stainless-steel blade weighs just 1.8 ounces, making it ideal for everyday use. The handle has a titanium pocket clip, and like all knives made from Buck Knives company, the blade features advanced Edge2x technology for enhanced sharpness. List Price: $270. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825, www.buckknives.com.
When the sun goes down, light up with the 10-LED Hand Torch from Essential Gear. The flashlight has two modes, with one using three LEDs at a burn time of 80 hours and the other using 10 LEDs with a 25-hour burn time. Its rugged, water-resistant aluminum body stands up to the rigors of the outdoors. The light is about 6.6×1.6×1.1 inches and weighs nine ounces. List Price: $40. Contact: Essential Gear, (800) 582-3861 www.essentialgear.com.
The latest version of the Therm-a-Rest ToughSkin backpacking mattress is puncture resistant. Integrated open-and closed-cell foam construction protects against tears from thorns and sharp rocks. Lightweight and warm, the mattress comes in two sizes; the small version is 20×47 inches, and the regular version is 20×72 inches. Both are 1.5 inches thick. List Price: $99 (small); $119 (regular). Contact: Therm-a-Rest, (800) 531-9531, www.thermarest.com.
On your next outdoor adventure, slip on the lightweight Tilden sports sandals from Ahnu. The sandals are constructed with several features designed to keep your feet comfortable and supported, whether you’re on the trail, in the water or on the sidewalk. Some of those features include QuiteLight non-marking rubber outsoles for solid traction, cross-venting and highly breathable cushioning, and arch support that keep your entire foot stable and even. List Price: $89. Contact: Ahnu, (510) 865-3900, www.ahnufootwear.com.
LITTLE BIG DRIVE
Smaller in size but larger in capacity, the redesigned Western Digital Passport Portable Hard Drive weighs less than five ounces and stores up to 160 GB. The drive comes with customizable WD Sync software, allowing you to save important data and take it with you. Plug the drive into any PC for editing files and viewing photos, and then sync all of your changes back to your home or office computer. Available capacities are 60, 80, 120 and 160 GB. List Price: $90 to $150. Contact: Western Digital, (949) 672-7000, www.westerndigital.com.
Move your valuable equipment in the Pelican 1780 Transport Case. With an interior of 42x22x15 inches, the rigid case offers plenty of rugged protection, with humidity gauges and pressure equalization valves to keep moisture out and to prevent vacuum lock so it’s easy to open at any altitude. Additional standard features include two double-wide handles, dual sets of polyurethane wheels and dual-action latches that can withstand nearly 400 pounds of pressure. List Price: $600. Contact: Pelican Products, (800) 473-5422, www.pelican.com.
Whether you’re taking a close-up, wide-angle or telephoto shot, the Sigma 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OS lens helps you do it all. Two Special-Low-Dispersion (SLD) glass elements and two aspherical lenses correct all types of optical aberrations for high image quality throughout the entire zoom range. The lens is equipped with Sigma’s OS (Optical Stabilizer) technology to counteract unwanted camera movement. An incorrect price was given in the June issue of OP. Estimated Street Price: $550. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigma-photo.com.
Add a classic touch to your landscape shots with the B/W Styler version 1.01. The plug-in converts your color digital images into stunning black-and-whites by simulating the techniques and materials used in traditional black-and-white photography. You can choose from different film emulsions, lens filters, lab effects, photo papers and more. The B&W Quick Mode does sophisticated conversions with 16 different controls, and the Expert Mode features dozens of effects, more than 100 controls and almost 200 local presets. List Price: $50. Contact: The Plugin Site, www.thepluginsite.com.
STORAGE ON THE GO
Whether you’re on a short day trip or thousands of miles from home, you need to back up your images. Digital Foci’s Photo Safe portable hard drive features a built-in memory card reader, so you can download files straight to the drive from any kind of memory card. At just 4.6x3x0.8 inches, Photo Safe won’t take up too much room in your camera bag. It’s available in capacities of 40, 80 and 120 GB. List Price: $139 (40 GB); $179 (80 GB); $229 (120 GB). Contact: Digital Foci, (310) 763-9100, www.digitalfoci.com.
Keep your camera dry using Kaiser’s Digicam Wavecase, an all-weather protective housing for compact digital cameras up to 2.2×4.2×1 inches with a 1.5-inch maximum lens extension. The case can be used underwater down to 13 feet with easy access to camera functions. The Wavecase is made from a crystal-clear polycarbonate with a scratch-resistant coating on the lens side and a flexible silicon foil covering the LCD side. List Price: $119. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
Penguin Life: Surviving with Style in the South Atlantic by Andy Rouse (David & Charles Publishers, 2007; ISBN: 0-7153-2682-1). The award-winning photographer captures beautiful images of the flightless birds swimming, fishing, breeding and surviving under harsh conditions. The book is full of powerful and poignant photos.
Dominant Wave Theory by Andy Hughes (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2007; ISBN: 0-8109-9309-0). Hughes uses his photography to explore the conflict between the pollutants generated by an industrial consumer-driven society and the coastal habitat. He has photographed coastal areas for the past decade.
Chesapeake Bay of Light: An Exploration of the Chesapeake Bay’s Wild and Forgotten Places
by Ian J. Plant and Tom Horton (Mountain Trail Press, 2007; ISBN: 978-0-9777933-4-1). Filled with beautiful photographs capturing one of America’s most celebrated treasures, the book also features essays on recent resuscitation efforts.
Flyways: A Celebration of Waterfowl and Wetlands by Gary Kramer (Ducks Unlimited, Inc., 2006; ISBN: 1-932052-28-3). Discover the drama of bird migration in this collection of photographs, which examines the winged creatures and their habitats as they travel across North America.
Once Around the Sun In Yellowstone by Doug Dance (Doug Dance Nature Photography, 2005; ISBN: 0-9738707-0-2). Dance has photographed the landscapes and wildlife of Yellowstone National Park for 15 years. In 2003, he began a one-year mission to tell the story of the creatures that roam the park, resulting
in this large-format book.
California Natural History Guides: Introduction to California Chaparral by Ronald D. Quinn and Sterling C. Keeley (University of California Press, 2006; ISBN: 0-520-24566-0). Learn about the soft bluish-green blanket of vegetation covering much of the California landscape in this in-depth guide, which provides a general overview of the chaparral.
Get better exposures with the help of the Kenko KFM-2100, a flash and ambient light meter. Features include an integrated spot meter for measurements in either ambient or flash mode, a 270-degree rotating receptor head and a vertical LCD that displays ƒ-stop numbers, shutter speed and ISO settings. When metering for flash, the KFM-2100 has settings for both cord and non-cord triggering. There’s also ananalyze function to determine the ratio of ambient light to flash light in a scene. List Price: $800. Contact: THK Photo Products, (800) 421-1141, www.thkphoto.com.
A LEG UP
Use a long lens with the flexibility and proven support of the Manfrotto 561B monopod. Improving on the popular 560B, this updated version is touted as higher, sturdier and more robust, making it ideal for any environment. The monopod has three retractable feet attached with a ball joint for jump-free panning. It weighs about 4.4 pounds with maximum support of 8.8 pounds, and height ranges from 30.7 to 79.5 inches. Estimated Street Price: $222. Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500, www.bogenimaging.us.
Enlarge your landscapes by 1,000 percent with no loss in image quality using Genuine Fractals 5 from onOne Software. Featuring a simplified user interface, faster performance time and an improved scaling algorithm with sharpening controls, Genuine Fractals 5 allows you to crop and resize images in a single step with more than 70 built-in size presets. It’s fully compatible with PowerPC and Intel-based Macs and Adobe Photoshop CS3. List Price: $160 (new users); $70 (upgrade). Contact: onOne Software, (888) 968-1468, www.onOnesoftware.com.
When you’re on a roll capturing vibrant landscape scenes, the last thing you want is for your memory card to fill up. Transcend’s 8 GB 266x Ultra-Speed CompactFlash card achieves read and write speeds of up to 40 MBps, allowing you to shoot continuously with a high-end D-SLR. For more power, check out the 8 GB high-speed Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC), which reaches up to 32 GB. Estimated Street Price: $131 (CF); $108 (SDHC). Contact: Transcend, (714) 921-2000, www.transcendusa.com.
Aesthetics meet function in the new Billingham Digital Hadley camera bag. The main interior compartment is 7x8x4.5 inches with two adjustable Velcro® dividers and a well-padded foam top. The bag holds a large D-SLR with attached medium zoom lens along with an additional lens or flash. A large 8×9-inch front pocket holds power cords, chargers, memory devices and other accessories. All Billingham bags are handmade in the UK. List Price: $265. Contact: R.T.S. Inc., (631) 242-6801, www.rtsphoto.com.
Build your own landscape photography book with the easy-to-use MyBook Photo Book Kit by Peleman Industries. Simply print out the pages, attach the included cover sheets and remove the adhesive strips. The final product is a customized 8¬Ωx11-inch hardcover photo album containing your beautiful images. The kit contains one book, two end sheets and photo book layout software. List Price: Less than $20. Contact: Peleman Industries, www.mybookcompany.com.
FREE DATA RECOVERY
If you lose valuable files, Pandora Recovery can get them back as long as the space on your hard drive hasn’t been reused. Pandora boasts that it can successfully recover any deleted file from NTFS-formatted volumes. The New Technology File System is the default system used in all modern operating systems from Microsoft. The program scans your hard drive, builds an index of existing and deleted files and directories, and allows you full control over which files to recover. The program is available as a free download. Contact: Pandora Corporation, www.pandorarecovery.com.
Lock your camera in quickly and securely with Giottos Pro Series II Ball Socket Heads. Designed to position the camera precisely where you want, the heavily anodized aluminum ball adjusts smoothly, eliminating any vibration and skipping that could affect your image. An ergonomic design and advanced engineering allow for quick adjustment and secure locking. Sizes range from the smallest weighing 2.8 ounces and supporting 6.6 pounds, to the largest weighing 1.9 pounds and supporting 28 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $12-$165. Contact: HP Marketing Corp., (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketingcorp.com.
CLEAN IT UP
Take care of your camera’s housing, image sensor and lenses with the Green Clean Sensor Cleaning System. Use the Mini Vacuum and sterile Pick Up vacuum tubes to remove dust and large particles. The Wet Foam Swabs, presoaked in a nontoxic cleansing solution, dissolve any remaining particles or smudges on the image sensor or lenses. The Dry-Sweeper takes care of any remaining residue. List Price: $80. Contact: BKA Photo, (800) 621-5488, www.bkaphoto.com.
SINGLE DRIVE SOLUTION
Back up and store your high-resolution landscape images using the Mercury Elite-AL Pro “Quad Interface” 1 TB External Drive from Other World Computing. The high-performance drive offers a variety of connectivity options for FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0 and eSATA ports. It’s compatible with Apple OS Versions 8.5 through 9.2x, Apple OS 10.0.3 and higher, Microsoft Windows ME, 2000, XP and Vista, and any OS or device with standard FireWire, USB or eSATA. List Price: $599. Contact: Other World Computing, (800) 275-4576, www.macsales.com.
PRO PHOTO PAPERS
Ilford Galerie. is launching a new line of large-format professional photo papers designed for printers that use pigment-based inks or the latest dye-based inks. The Smooth Gloss and Smooth Pearl brands are available in 13×19- and 17×22-inch sheets and 17-inch rolls. Smooth High Gloss is available in 13×19-inch sheets and 17-inch rolls, and Smooth Heavyweight Matte comes in 13×19- and 17×22-inch sheets. Ilford has listed some 1,300 ICC profiles on its Website so you can get the best results with your printer. List Prices: Varies by size. Contact: Ilford, www.ilford.com.
SLING IT AROUND
Tote your equipment around in the stylish, roomy Sling Bag by WaterField Designs. Designed for versatility and comfort, the messenger bag sports metallic-looking shiny material on the outside, while inside the spacious main compartment features five secure interior pockets to keep your gear separated and organized. Two tapered exterior pockets provide quick access to other needed items. The Sling comes in blue, brown, silver, green and red. Sizes range from 12x8x5 to 17x14x10 inches. List Price: $99 to $139. Contact: WaterField Designs, (877) 546-1040, www.sfbags.com.