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From the author of The Extras

The Extras

I've barely scratched the surface of the gear that's available—most of the things I've talked about so far are items that I own and use on a regular basis. Now let's look at a few devices that may not be essential, but I wouldn't want to be without them.

Radio Triggers

You connect a radio trigger to the lights and camera so that you can fire the lights remotely each time you press the shutter. You don't need line-of-sight in order to use radio triggers, so you can hide lights anywhere you like—even inside boxes and behind walls. You can also set up a radio trigger to fire your camera remotely if the camera needs to be mounted in an unusual spot, such as on the front of a moving car or the ceiling of a gymnasium. The most common radio triggers (and the brand that I use) are called PocketWizard, but other types are less expensive.

Loupe Hood

It's next to impossible to view the images on an LCD monitor when standing outside in bright sunlight. But place the Hoodman HoodLoupe over the LCD monitor and look through it—you'll be able to see the screen, regardless of where you're standing (see Figure 3). It doesn't magnify the view, but it makes viewing images much easier in the sun, and can help you to determine your exposures better than trying to shade the back of the camera with your hand while you squint to see the image.

Figure 3 The Hoodman HoodLoupe is great for viewing an LCD monitor when photographing outdoors. This little girl was trying it out on me as I took her picture. She's not really using it for its intended purpose, but it made for a great photograph.

Battery Grip

Last, but definitely not least, is one of my favorite "extras"—the battery grip (see Figure 4). Some high-end, expensive cameras come with this feature already attached, but it's available for purchase for most other camera bodies. I like using this device mostly because it makes shooting vertically a breeze—I don't have to twist my hand and arm around to get the shot, since there are strategically-placed buttons and dials located on the lower-right side of the grip.

Figure 4 I use a battery grip on my Canon 7D for the majority of my photography.

I hope you already know that photography is not only about the equipment you own. Photography is about seeing light, capturing moments, and making memories. All of that extra stuff is definitely fun to use, but ultimately the person taking the photo is the deciding factor—how we use our equipment will always be more important than which equipment we have.

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