Holiday Gift Guide Season 2008

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Why? Well you get presents, get to eat great stuff , and well there’s snow most of the time. If you don’t have all of your christmas gifts already (I know I sure don’t) I made up a list of reasonably priced photography-related items, which will make anyone in your family remotely interested in photography a happy camper. 

1-Hoodman’s Hoodloupe 3.0 : If you’ve ever shot in the direct sunlight or in a sunbathed place you know that LCD on the back of your camera can become instantly useless unless you’re in the near distance of shade. For all those other times, there’s the Hoodloupe. It’s been redesigned by the folks at Hoodman to fit the newer,bigger LCD’s from camera’s such as the D700, 5DMkII, … and at 79,99$ it makes a great gift. 

Get it at : hoodloupeusa.com 

More after the break

2-Rapid R-Strap from BlackRapid 
   If you swing multiple bodies on occasion, shooting sports,weddings,… where you need the versatility that multiple lenses    bring but don’t have the envy or time to switch lenses on a single camera body, than this is your baby. The R-Strap is        devilishly simple in design but very effective. It allows you to quickly shift to your second body hanging by your side, without having to put it next to your front body on your stomach so the two don’t bounce into each other, and when your sporting 1xxx+$ lenses around your neck, that’s nice. They’re around 60$ and they make great gifts. The guys at BlackRapid.com uploaded a YouTube clip on the use, if it’s not totally clear by now. Anyway, don’t hesitate.

3-Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Book for Digital Photographers kit 
If you don’t know the man, head on to http://www.scottkelby.com and meet one of the most gifted teachers in photography. These two books, at B&H bundled together, are the true resort for an aspiring/upcoming/longing photographer.  
In the two volumes he combines the beginning and more advanced aspects of all kinds of shooting, from portrait to sports, to micro. You name it, it’s in there. At just 39,99$ it’s a steal, and it’ll make a great gift. If you’re already familiar with his work, you can get the limited edition pack, including signed prints for  about a 100$ at amazon.com . Some might think it’s a bit pricy for books, but don’t forget about the stunning prints. 

4-  Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8 Lens

Here’s a great, inexpensive lens that almost everybody has in his bag. It’s light, small and at f/1.8 it’s really fast which makes it ideal for shooting in badly-lit places, like churches. It’s a versatile lens at 50mm, which makes it a 75mm lens on a non-full frame DSLR body. At around a 100$ it’s a steal and you’re bound to make someone happy with it. 

5- Joe McNally’s The Moment it Clicks

Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed photographer’s whose photographs have been seen in numerous magazines, like National Geographic,Time, … If you’re interested, head on to http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/ where he rants passionately about the craft,trade,loops and holes of photography and life in general. Aside from being an awesome photographer, he’s also an insanely gifted teacher. With The Moment it Clicks, Joe has put together a book that can even be interesting to non-photographers.
From amazon.com :
“What makes the book so unique is the “triangle of learning” where (1) Joe distills the concept down to one brief sentence. It usually starts with something like, “An editor at National Geographic once told me…” and then he shares one of those hard-earned tricks of the trade that you only get from spending a lifetime behind the lens. Then, (2) on the facing page is one of Joe’s brilliant images that perfectly illustrates the technique (you’ll recognize many of his photos from magazine covers). And (3) you get the inside story of how that shot was taken, including which equipment he used (lens, f/stop, lighting, accessories, etc.), along with the challenges that type of project brings, and how to set up a shot like that of your own.” 

32,99$ at amazon.com


6- A membership to KelbyTraining.com 
Now if you’re a photographer, wanting to do something more with your pictures, this is a gold-mine. KelbyTraining.com  groups video-based lessons from the world’s top teachers in photography. You get detailed video tutorials teaching you how to edit,enhance,modify etc…your pictures, to really make them stand out. This site is a pure goldmine, for the beginner and the advanced amateur, to professionals. If you’re not so sure the person you’ll give it to will like it, no worry you can sign him up for a month trial and that’ll only set you back for 19,99$ for a month or 199,99$ for a whole year. The video’s are clear, detailed, categorised in groups, and given by the industry’s top pro’s like McNally, Ziser, Kelby, Kloskowski,… I’m even giving it this season’s Top Rated Gift. 

7- PocketWizard Plus II Set

If you’re interested in off-camera flash and it’s possibilities, then you’ll love this. Enter the industry-standard PocketWizards. These devices, you need at least two to start with, allow you to trigger your flash off-camera wise without any cable hassle. It’s rugged, powerful and they just work. Every Single Time. They’re a bit on the expensive side, but don’t worry, consider them like an investment. And at least with this one you’re sure it won’t run off to the caribbean with your savings. Why not use Nikon’s (if you’re a Nikon shooter, like me) CLS system? Well, essentially there’s nothing wrong with that system, and you don’t need PW’s to trigger for the flashed, but the limitation is that your flash has to be in the line of sight of the triggering flash, which isn’t the case with PW’s. 

8- GadgetInfinity “PovertyWizards” Cactus V2s Flash triggers

If you can’t/don’t want to pay around 200$ for the PW’s you can get these so-called ‘povertywizards’. They’re essentially the same as the PW’s but of inferior quality. They misfire sometimes, the range isn’t excellent and the build quality could be better, but hey, they cost around 25$ a piece, can’t go wrong with that can you now? If had them, actually I still do, and as long as you don’t shoot a fashion spread with them somewhere in a remote location, they’ll work just fine in normal circumstances. The new, improved ‘S’ versions have less misfires than the first versions, and I’ve found them to be quite good. 

9- Nikon SB-800/900

Now, if you’re going to buy triggers, you might as well need the things to trigger. Nikon recently released the big brother to the SB-800. It’s big,bold, and beastly. This is the supreme commander in off-camera portable flash systems. It’s a bit on the expensive side running usually at around 380$ but if you’re serious about photography, these babies are something you’ve been wishing for a long time, or will be wishing for once you’ve seen them. Here’s a tip : The SB-800, essentially the same give or take a few fancy features that are rarely used have been discontinued by Nikon, but lots of stores still have ’em in stock and are selling them at higly reduced prices. I got two of them at 250 $ a pop, which was a real bargain. 

10- Adobe LightRoom 2 , by Adobe Software
The ultimate workflow retouching software next to Apple’s Aperture. Lightroom removes every hassle that used to be combined to shooting in RAW format. Lightroom reads the RAW files and converts them into almost anything you want without trouble, allows you to make adjustments to photos, it features a printing module allowing you to be creative and printing your own photos, and an excellent web-based photofolio to display your best work. If you’re serious about photography, this is a must have.If you’re not sure, they also have a 30-day trial on their site. 285$, Adobe.com

 

Well there you have it. This year’s PhotoGiftGuide. I’ve included stuff from every pricerange, so whether your a mom, a sister or a loving wife you need what to get them for christmas!

Warm greetings,

Morgan

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