July/August 2011

PHOTOSHOP APPS

Work with Photoshop in a more mobile way using a few new apps that Adobe has developed for the iPad. Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel and Adobe Nav allow you to create custom color swatches, and paint and control Photoshop tools from the iPad, respectively. With Color Lava and Eazel, the iPad’s touch-screen capabilities are put to good use by letting your fingertips mix colors and paint. With Nav, you can access toolbars, zoom in and out of images, and create new files. The apps are available from the iTunes App Store. Estimated Street Price: $2 to $5. For traditional Photoshop users, Adobe now offers a monthly subscription plan for those who want to stay up to date or are new to the program. Estimated Street Price: $49 per month, or $35 per month for a one-year subscription; $699 (standard version). Contact: Adobe, (800) 833-6687, www.adobe.com.

CREATIVE LENS

Get smoother focus and greater tilt control with the Lensbaby Composer Pro, a refined version of the company’s flagship model. With an all-metal construction, the lens has an upgraded swivel ball-and-focus mechanism. The Composer Pro ships with either the Double Glass Optic or the Sweet 35 Optic installed. Each optic produces a "sweet spot" of sharp focus that you can move around the image by tilting the Composer’s swiveling lens body. The unit is compatible with the Lensbaby Optic Swap System. Estimated Street Price: $300 (with Double Glass); $400 (with Sweet 35). Contact: Lensbaby, (877) 536-7222, www.lensbaby.com.

ADJUSTABLE CARRIER

Take the Tamrac Evolution 9 on your next trip and wear it as a backpack or a sling pack that you can throw over your right or left shoulder. Doors on each side of the pack allow you to quickly grab the camera when wearing the bag as a sling. When carrying it as a traditional backpack, there’s a front entry panel for getting the camera out when the pack is removed. The main compartment holds a DSLR with grip and up to an 8¾-inch lens attached, as well as several more lenses, a flash and up to a 17.3-inch laptop, which is held in the rear laptop pocket. Also included are a clip for holding a tripod and a removable rain cover. Estimated Street Price: $259. Contact: Tamrac, (800) 662-0717, www.tamrac.com.

FLASH MODIFIER

Create edgier images by maximizing your lighting setup with the ExpoImaging Rogue Grid. The device produces three honeycomb grid angles of 45º, 25º and can be stacked to create a 16º angle. The grid angle determines the size of the spot projected forward, with smaller-degree grids producing smaller spots and larger angles producing larger spots. The unit has a modular design that makes it easy to change grid angles or add lighting gels. It attaches to your flash with an adjustable tension strap, weighs 3.5 ounces and comes with a nylon pouch for easy storage. Estimated Street Price: $49. Contact: ExpoImaging, (800) 446-5086, www.expoimaging.com.

HD DSLR RIG

Get yourself into better shooting position when capturing video with an HD DSLR by using the Novoflex MMR BLUEBIRD. The kit features integrated chest and neck support for even weight distribution during long shoots. Twin handgrips use a MagicBall joint with adjustable friction for precise camera alignment. Simultaneous horizontal and vertical swiveling camera movements, similar to a ballhead on a tripod, are possible. The rack system also accepts monitors and microphones with the optional mounts, as well as focusing units. List Price: $1,399. Contact: Novoflex (HP Marketing Corp.), (800) 735-4373, www.hpmarketing.com.

SDCH MEMORY

Capture lots of high-resolution stills and HD video clips with the Patriot LX PRO Series SDHC memory cards. With 20 MB/s transfer speeds and capacities of 16 GB and 32 GB, the Class 10-rated cards deliver twice the classified speed of the SD Association’s performance specification for uninterrupted continuous mode photography and top-notch video recording. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Patriot Memory, (800) 800-9600, www.patriotmemory.com.

SAMSUNG NX SHOOTING

Get yourself some new glass with five more lenses now available for the Samsung NX series of mirrorless cameras. The lineup features a little something for every kind of shooter. A versatile 18-200mm has Optical Image Stabilization for delivering crisp and clear images. The fast-aperture 16mm ƒ/2.4 is ideal for landscape and low-light shooting. A Super Sonic Actuator in the 60mm Macro helps deliver fast and quiet autofocus; this lens also has full-time manual-focus capability. The fast 85mm ƒ/1.4 includes the SSA function, as well as manual focus, and the 16-80mm features O.I.S. and modes for capturing video without recording the sound of the camera’s autofocus system. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Samsung, (800) 726-7864, www.samsung.com.

O BRACKET

Take sharp close-ups with support from the Flashpoint O-Shape Twin Flash Bracket (FABO), which consists of two C-shaped tracks that form an O for attaching two flash units as desired. The bracket is an ideal solution for producing light from multiple angles. The flash units can be placed vertically or horizontally, depending on what the situation calls for. The length of the bottom bar is extendable for matching different lenses of varying lengths. Estimated Street Price: $26. Contact: Flashpoint, (800) 223-2500, www.adorama.com.

BIG STORAGE

Back up your valuable image files to the dual-drive Western Digital My Book Studio II. With four interfaces and 6 TB of storage, it’s more than capable of handling large HD and still files. The drive features eSATA and FireWire 800 for maximizing performance, and FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 when you need more flexibility. For Mac users, the drive is now compatible with Time Machine. Powered by WD’s GreenPower Technology, it consumes about one-third less power than standard dual-drive external storage systems and runs quietly without a fan. Estimated St
reet Price: $549. Contact: Western Digital, (949) 672-7000, www.westerndigital.com.

LOTS OF BAGS

Choose from an assortment of bag styles and sizes that make up the Tenba Vector collection. With small camera pouches for point-and-shoots, top-loading bags for an SLR and single lens, and shoulder bags and daypacks for larger camera systems, there’s a bag for every need. The lightweight bags are constructed of water-resistant fabric, and some of the models include an all-weather cover wrap. Every zipper, clip, D-ring, rain cover, lens cloth and piece of fabric is custom-dyed to match the colors the bags are available in; those include Krypton Green, Oxygen Blue, Cadmium Red and Carbon Black. Estimated Street Price: $12 to $79. Contact: Tenba, (914) 347-3300, www.tenba.com.

HEAVY PRINT

Produce sharp-looking prints of your pictures using Lasal Exhibition Luster 300 from Moab. This 300gsm exhibition paper is heavy and excellent for archival use. Fourth-generation coating technology allows for a high D-Max, which produces a broad tonal range with deep, rich blacks and bright whites. The new coating also improves scratch resistance, enhances stiffness, reduces curl and increases opacity to prevent light from spilling through the paper. The paper is compatible with all archival pigmented and dye-based inks. It’s available in a variety of the most popular sheet and roll sizes. Estimated Street Price: $40 (50 sheets of 81?2×11). Contact: Moab By Legion, (800) 727-3716, www.moabpaper.com.

LIGHTING POWER

Boost your flash output with the XT Flash Extender from Harbor Digital Design. The unit mounts securely to the flash with a custom adapter so no straps or Velcro® are necessary. Quick, secure mounting allows for easy and accurate focusing on your subject, helpful when shooting action or fast-moving wildlife. It produces up to two or more stops of additional light at 100 feet. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Harbor Digital Design, (253) 851-6117, www.harbordigitaldesign.com.

GADGET HOLDER

Keep all of your gadgets with you no matter where you venture off to using the CompuDay Photo bags from Lowepro. The bags are made for carrying laptops, external hard drives, iPods, cell phones and other gadgets, as well as camera gear. An adjustable padded camera compartment holds a compact DSLR with an attached lens, up to a 15.6-inch laptop and more. The size of the DSLR chamber can be adjusted with the cinch strap. A side pocket gives quick access for on-the-go grab-and-shoot situations. The CompuDay Photo 250 is a traditional backpack and the 150 is a messenger bag. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Lowepro, 800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com.

SOUND CHECK

Improve the sound of your video clips with the PIX 220 from Sound Devices. It connects to cameras with HDMI and records directly to QuickTime using Apple’s ProRes or, optionally, Avid’s DNxHD codec. Since the recorder uses ProRes and DNxHD, files recorded in the field can be used directly in postproduction, making workflow simple and fast. A 5-inch, 800×480-pixel LCD display gives immediate confirmation of recording, playback, audio metering and Setup Menu selections. Estimated Street Price: $1,595. Contact: Sound Devices, (800) 505-0625, www.sounddevices.com

WORK OF ART

Push your creative limits with the visual-effects software PhotoCopy from Digital Film Tools. The program lets you copy key characteristics from some of the most famous movies, photographs and works of art, and apply them to your picture. The color, tone and brightness of the original work are duplicated while texture, grain and detail can be simulated. You can pick from movies such as Apocalypse Now, Gone with the Wind and The Lord of the Rings, paintings by Monet, Rembrandt and Van Gogh, and photographs by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston. Estimated Street Price: $95. Contact: Digital Film Tools, (818) 761-6577, www.digitalfilmtools.com.

LIGHT TOOL

Soften up harsh shadows with the Graslon Flash Diffuser, which takes a different approach from other traditional diffusers. Instead of only using a translucent material in front of the flash to scatter light and soften shadows, Graslon makes use of an innovative reflective mirror system that enlarges the light from the flash before it exits the diffuser. By the time the light gets to the diffuser lens, it’s evenly distributed from the furthest corners, across the middle and along the side. This process eliminates hot spots on the diffuser and delivers even softer shadows. The diffusers come in two sizes. Estimated Street Price: $69 to $99. Contact: Graslon, (877) 967-7766, www.graslon.com.

BOUNCE WATER

Ensure that your video clips maintain their image quality even if rain or snow tries to interfere by using the Spintec lightweight rain deflector from Innovision Optics. Designed for HD DSLRs, the deflector allows you to shoot in wet conditions without getting a gyro effect when panning and tilting. Rain and snow are deflected via a glass filter that spins 3,000 times per minute. The centrifugal effect of the filter removes water splashes and raindrops instantly. A vacuum effect removes lighter snowflakes that are tougher to remove. The deflector is easy to mount on lenses that are 75-105mm in diameter with either internal or external focus. Estimated Street Price: Starts at around $2,000. Contact: Innovision Optics, (310) 453-4866, www..innovision-optics.com.

SWITCH COLORS

Apply a color profile developed for one camera to RAW files produced by a different one with Cross Camera Color DNG Profiles from PSKiss. The color profiles used by your DSLR are a result of the manufacturer’s interpretation of how that color should appear. With Cross Camera Color DNG Profiles, you can use a Nikon D300 with a Leica M8 DNG profile to produce the color look of the M8. Or you can use a Nikon D40X and produce the look of a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II. Simpl
y open up a Camera Raw file with Photoshop CS4, CS5, Elements or Lightroom, and choose the colors you want. Estimated Street Price: $9 (per camera). Contact: PSKiss, www..pskiss.com.

Hard Copy

Chasing The Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light by Ibarionex Perello (New Riders Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-321-75250-5). Lighting can be the most effective tool for creating dramatic imagery. Perello shares his techniques for controlling focus, exposure, white balance and sharpness to capture photographs with more power. The book bridges the gap between the technical and creative aspects of photography.

The Art and Business of Photography by Susan Carr (Allworth Press, 2011; ISBN: 978-158115759-8). A professional photographer and former ASMP president, Carr delves into the realities of the photography industry. Topics include how to balance being an artist and a businessperson, the basics of copyright, pricing skills, how to find future opportunities, and the importance of craft and creativity.

The Photographer’s Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman (Focal Press, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-240-81517-6). Illustrated with more than 400 images taken on real assignments, Freeman delivers useful insight on how to avoid cliché photography. He breaks down the images with schematic illustrations, demonstrating how and why they work.

How to Do Everything: Digital Photography by Jason R. Rich (McGraw-Hill Osborne Media, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-07-175471-2). This basic guide offers advice on how to take better pictures using a variety of techniques for photo composition, lighting and creativity. Get tips on photo editing, printing and archiving, as well as avoiding common mistakes that result in poor images.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3: Learn By Video by Tim Grey and Mikkel Aaland (Adobe Press, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-321-70094-0). With more than 10 hours of instruction and a full-color, 120-page guide, this training program delivers all of the basic principles you need to know for mastering Lightroom 3. Topics include creating custom montages, exporting to MP4 video and converting RAW files into DNG format.

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