January Focus

January 25, 2013

By RF Staff

Rangefinder presents a variety of exhibits; book releases; new products tools and software; special projects by photographers, and more. 

Capturing and Printing Wildlife Images for Charity

Photographer Brian Hampton’s custom limited-edition coffee table books documenting Africa and the Everglades are helping support four very worthy causes: Ronald McDonald House, Carpenter’s Place, Salvation Army and Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the Everglades. 

The books—Captured I: Africa and Captured II: Everglades—are the culmination of Hampton’s global wildlife photography, meticulously captured, printed on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, bound and packaged.

Both are available in 12 x 12-inch and 18 x 18-inch sizes, which retail for $1,895 and $2,500 respectively. Hampton prints the pages and sends them to Mel Englander, of Englander Studios, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to be bound and packaged. The books come in a velvet case inside a black box, to which Hampton applies the book cover image, printed on Photo Tex from LexJet.

“I don’t make a profit on the books, nor do I want to,” says Hampton. “Forty percent goes to the causes and the rest goes toward helping me recover my costs on the project. I want to raise as much money as I can for those organizations.” The books, he adds, are printed using the highest quality printers, either a Canon iPF8300 or an Epson 9900, through ImagePrint RIP software, on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper. 

“I like detail,” says Hampton. “For that reason a glossy paper would be my favorite for detail, but it falls short because it’s generally too touchy; it can show a dimple or wrinkle so you have to be very careful handling it. Sunset Photo eSatin shows very good detail, and it’s a lot friendlier to handle.”

Limited-Edition Color Flash Units

Paul C. Buff, a leading manufacturer and direct seller of professional photographic lighting, recently introduced two limited-edition colors for its B400 (160 watts), B800 (320 watts), and B1600 (640 watts) self-contained flash units. The new Purple Haze and Navajo Turquoise colored strobes will be limited to 3,000 units for each color with a limit of 12 units in each color per customer. Each strobe will include a limited edition sticker and a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity, individually signed by Paul C. Buff. Limited edition strobe prices range from $234.95 to $369.95.

Drift Innovation’s Action Video Camera With Two-Way LED Remote

Drift Innovation, a London-based action sports technology company specializing in the capture and sharing of digital imagery, recently introduced the Drift HD Ghost. Designed to give athlete-photographers the assurance their POV (point of view) perspective is being recorded, the new HD Ghost features two-way LED remote control with on/off indicator light, video recording/tagging capabilities in continuous loop mode, and an integrated, 2-inch Gorilla Glass LCD screen. The seven-element lens camera also supports Wi-Fi transfers, 1080p, 960p, 720p and WVGA resolutions, and waterproof protection to a depth of 9 feet. An optional waterproof housing is good to 180 feet. Price: $399

The Toddy Cloth 

Looking for a year-round gift that’s perfect for all your photographer friends? Consider the new Toddy Cloth, a microfiber plush cloth that safely eliminates dirt, smudges and even germs from cameras and lenses. Designed to clean all sensitive surfaces, including cameras, iPhones, iPads, glasses and TVs, the Toddy Cloth uses AEGIS Microbe Shield Dual-Sided technology, which consists of microfiber material on one side to clean and protect against microorganisms, and a patterned silk microfiber on the other side to buff and polish. Available in 42 different print and pattern combinations (including photography-related images and designs), the Toddy Cloth sells for $9.99, or $19.99 for a three-pack.

New Lenses from Sigma

Sigma recently introduced the first lens of its new Global Vision lineup, the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM. Designed for superior performance in low light situations, the new lens delivers smooth bokeh background effects using new technology. It features one “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass lens and four Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass lenses, which ensure correction of lateral and axial chromatic aberration. It also includes a floating inner focus system for close-up photography, a Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting, and a HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor). Also included is a new USB dock, sold separately, that updates the lens firmware using the company’s Optimization Pro software. The Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM is available in Sigma, Sony, Nikon, Pentax and Canon mounts. 

Price: $899

The FocusMaker 

ID/FX (Copenhagen, Denmark) recently rolled out The FocusMaker, a lightweight focus-pulling system that makes following focus with all DSLR cameras easy. Designed by company owner, Nikolaj Bestle, the new system gives videographers the ability to set both stops and intermediate physical markers while focusing, which allows focus to be smoothly shifted back and forth between multiple subjects. FocusMaker fits all DSLR cameras and can be purchased on the company’s website. 

Price: $89

LensProToGo Goes Mobile

Camera, lens and DSLR video equipment rental company LensProToGo recently announced the release of its free iOS app, which allows U.S.-based renters to browse and order equipment right from their phone in less than 30 seconds. 

The app adds two new features not yet available on the company’s website to make the rental process easier and more efficient. Users can mark select gear as a “Favorite” while browsing over 400 items by type or brand (featuring an up-to-date line up from both Canon and Nikon).   

 If users want to learn more about a piece of equipment, the app’s item detail page provides photos, descriptions, technical specifications, suggested accessories and even a related item for comparison. Because LensProToGo is staffed entirely by working professional photographers and DSLR filmmakers, their expertise is essential to providing these relevant suggestions. The app also provides links to camera manuals for photographers to view while in the field or on the go. Additionally, customers can access LensProToGo’s social media accounts and blog, as well as find directions to the store.

 “The idea for the LensProToGo app came from a desire to make it easier, faster and more convenient for photographers and filmmakers to get the gear they need no matter where they are,” says Paul Friedman, LensProToGo owner. “Whether they are on location, waiting in line at the grocery store or on the side of a mountain, renting gear is just a few taps away. From a development standpoint, we wanted to really focus on efficiency. As photographers and filmmakers ourselves, we understand just how precious time can be.”

The new app can be downloaded from the App Store by searching “LensProToGo” or through the following link: 

Empire Falling

Elena Dorfman’s new book,  titled Empire Falling (Damiani, March 2013), documents the photographer’s most recent focus on abandoned, working, and re-purposed rock quarries in the American Midwest. The book features 22 full-sized images and numerous spreads of the details that make up each of these complex and intricate photographs. 

For two years, Dorfman made more than 25 trips to the rock quarries of the Midwest, traveling hundreds of miles and traversing Kentucky, Ohio and southern Indiana. She was initially intent on exploring the secretive communities of rock jumpers who risk their lives leaping off hidden precipices. As the jumpers invited her into their remote terrain, Dorfman’s project underwent a radical transformation. Deeply intrigued and moved by the vast rock landscapes, she set out for the first time in her distinguished career to produce a body of landscape photography.  She began seeking out the strangely beautiful, isolated, and, in some cases, abandoned rocky terrains that once were the sites of great industry.

Some images were constructed from as many as 300 photographs taken at multiple quarries, and using techniques that Dorfman developed especially for this project. An exhibit on the series opens January 17 at the Modernism Gallery in San Francisco and runs through March 2.

Redefining Port Protection 

Photographer and TetherBLOCK® inventor David Blattel has come up with a way to help protect your camera’s data connection port while shooting on a tripod or hand- held. “On the initial day of shooting with my first digital camera, I was tethered to a computer,” Blattel explains. “During the shoot, I tripped over the tether cable instantly damaging the camera connection. After finding out the cost of repair, I never had that camera fixed.”

Blattel set out to help protect this connection. “What looks like a simple product took close to a year in design production before I was satisfied and knew I had a great product,” he says. “TetherBLOCK® reduces the chances of costly camera connection repairs.” 

The tether cable feeds through a special device that holds it steady, in an S-shaped path, then the TetherBLOCK® screws into the camera. The cable is held securely in place, thus preventing the cable from being yanked out and damaging the data port. TetherBLOCK® has 1/4- and 3/8-inch tripod thread mounts and is also available in a quick release version compatible with Arca Swiss type tripod heads.

Canon’s New EF Lenses

Canon U.S.A. recently introduced two new EF lenses, the new EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM and the EF 35mm f/2 IS USM lenses. Featuring 15 lens elements in 12 groups, the EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM includes two aspherical and two UD lens elements and a 9-blade circular aperture diaphragm. It includes a macro feature at the telephoto end, inner focusing, and a ring-type Ultrasonic Motor (USM) for quiet, fast autofocus. Full-time mechanical manual focus is also supported, even during AF operation. The compact EF 35mm f/2 IS USM lens features Optical IS (image stabilization), optional full-time manual focus, a circular aperture diaphragm and lens coatings that minimize ghosting and flare. The EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM has a retail price of $1,499, the EF 35mm f/2, $849.99.