Sunday, December 6, 2015

Through the Glass Holiday Gift Guide 2015



This is my second annual holiday gift guide.  I'll share some photography-related gifts for a variety of budgets.  To see what I recommended last year, click here.


Stocking Stuffers

Casey's Profile

Flash Gel Set ($10-$30) - Flash gels can easily provide a nice colorful background for your subjects (see above), color correct so that the light temperature from your flash matches that of the ambient light, and create a number of special effects.  I received a pack of flash gels in a range of different colors for Christmas last year, and I've been hooked ever since.  Click here to see more photos I've taken with flash gels.

Mini LED Flashlight ($3-$10) - Aside from its function as a flashlight, LED lights are great for painting with light.  Simply point the light towards the lens and draw a picture or spell out a word.

Hand Warmers ($5-$15) - Ok, not the most exciting gift, but we're talking stocking stuffers here.  Hand warmers are an essential part of an outdoor photographer's kit.  In the winter, hand warmers can  really extend the amount of time you're able to spend outside taking photos.



PhotoPills App ($9.99) - PhotoPills has so many features, I haven't even come close to using them all.  The app is meant to help photographers plan the perfect photograph in advance, by showing the user when the sunlight will be hitting a certain angle, or where the milky way will be positioned.  I mostly use it to find the milky way in places where it's not visible to the human eye.


Mid-Size Buys

The Copyright Zone Book ($35)
- Ed Greenberg and Jack Reznicki are an attorney and a photographer, respectively, who team up for their blog, workshops and books about copyright in photography.  This book will tell you everything you want to know about keeping your work safe and what to do when your work is infringed.

The Many Buildings of St. Malo

ScanCafe Gift Box ($159.99) - After taking my old negatives to WalMart to be digitized and being sorely disappointed in the lack of quality, I tried ScanCafe after reading about them on a blog.  The above photo is just one example of the results I got back.  If your recipient have old negatives, slides, or even photos, that they'd like to have digitized, ScanCafe will do just that, and do it well.  The gift box makes the process easy; the recipient simply fills up the box with their photos and sends it out, already prepaid.  They will get a DVD with all the photos on it, along with all the originals.  If the price of the gift box is out of your price range, you can simply purchase a gift card, and the recipient can choose the services he or she wants.

National Parks Pass (up to $80 for US) - National Parks are a landscape photographer's playground.  Most countries offer a year-long pass option that allows you to visit any park as many times as you want.  This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves to capture the beauty of nature.


For Big Spenders

Loughberry Lake and Wilton from Above

Helicopter Ride ($300+) - If your recipient has seen it all at ground level, why not get them up higher?  An alternative to purchasing a drone, which are becoming more and more difficult to fly legally, a helicopter ride will give your recipient the opportunity to photograph the world from up above while also seeing it in person.  I had a great time photographing Saratoga from a helicopter this summer (see above).  Look for local helicopter companies and choose an aircraft and time period that suits your budget.

Tamron 150-600mm Lens ($1100) - Last year I suggested the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 as a "big spender" idea.  This year I am suggesting the much more affordable (and arguably more versatile) Tamron 150-600mm.  After renting this lens in 2014, I got one of my own earlier this year, and it has really nicely rounded out my kit.  This lens is perfect for wildlife and compressed landscape photos, and because it's more of a "budget" telephoto lens, it's just light enough that it can be handheld easily enough.  Any budding nature photographer is sure to love this lens.  Click here to read more about my experience with it.

Alaskan Photo Expedition ($6000+) - Explore a plethora of photo opportunities on National Geographic's cruise through some of Alaska's highlights.


Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.

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