If you're looking for those last minute gifts for your favorite photographer here is a list of some of my favorite items I use that make my life as a photographer a whole lot easier.
1. Good Boots. Thought I was going to start out with a sexy lens or camera body, didn't you? Let me tell you. A good boot can go a long way, literally. If your feet are hurting from the long hike into a destination, or from standing around for hours, your photography is going to suff. I grew up in Vans, and often times still wear either Vans or Sperry's. Neither have the support needed for a long day of adventuring and photography, even though I've tried to make them work. Let me tell you from my mistakes. Get some boots. Or at least some supportive and comfortable shoes. Supportive being the key word here. My favorites so far are L.L. Bean Cresta Hikers (Women's/Men's). They have felt like butter since the first day I put them on my feet.
2. Large Capacity External Hard Drive. I'm actually asking Santa for one of these as well. I've maxed out my current backup drives and need a new one. There are several brands on the market, but I'm not going to tell you which one to get. The most important message is to back up your photos! I may be a little on the paranoid side of things when it comes to backing up my digital files. But the fact is, I'd be losing a lot more than just memories. That is why I have two copies of everything and sometimes even three or four copies... OK, you don't have to be that neurotic, but back up your stuff! The only thing you can count on with technology is that it will fail. Once you have the hard drive, be diligent! Set a time on your phone calendar to remind you every month, or every two months, or every week. Depending on your work load and how much you're churning out, set a schedule that makes the most sense.
3. Sturdy Tripod. A sturdy tripod is perhaps one of the most important pieces of gear in a landscape photographer's toolkit...besides the camera, lens and memory card, of course. But that's still pretty high on the list. In combo with a Kirk ball head, my Gitzo GT2531 is my workhorse. It is with me 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time when it's not with me, I have my modified MeFoto Backpacker Tripod. It's a great substitute if I'm really concerned about weight.
4. Inspiration and Education. There are some incredible resources out there for photography. These are only a few of my favorites at the moment:
5. Filters. If you're looking for something to improve your photography game, filters are going to make the biggest difference. The two filters I would recommend to a newbie are first, a warming polarizer, and second, a 3-stop graduated ND filter. I use Singh-Ray Filters, and I would highly recommend them. There are several other filter companies, but I know Singh-Ray and I have used them throughout my photography career and I can vouch for their quality.
*Bonus* 6. Kinesis Filter Pouch. Once you start acquiring some filters, you'll need a place to put them that is convenient and easy to reach. Behold, the Kinesis Filter Pouch. This little gem has saved my filters more than once. Before I got this pouch I stuck my filters in my jacket pockets. Not the brightest idea, but they were within easy reach that way. With this filter pouch my filters are protected, all in one place, and right at my fingertips. Just clip it to your tripod and you're good to go.
*Bonus Bonus* 7. Prints. A personal plug here, I have my prints 20% off thru the end of December, use promo code LDPDecember at checkout. Prints are a great gift to give, and get!
Travel photographer and videographer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Available worldwide. Ready for hire.