Okay I’m taking a totally different spin on the holiday gift list here. What I realized is that my wife doesn’t read the blogs and websites I read. So when I read about all these photography gift lists out there, and the 12-days of Christmas emails I get – she doesn’t get them. So then I have to forward to her and my family, and well, that takes all the fun out of it. Plus, there’s mostly adults reading this. And let’s face it. As photographers, when we want something we tend to save for it and buy it. So rather than spin this blog post off as, you’re going to buy these things for some one else, I figured I’d throw around some ideas for you. Yep, you… as a landscape photographer, to buy yourself 🙂 Some are from my list last year, but some are new as well.
1) A National Park Pass – If you live near any national parks, or you’ll be traveling to them, a National Park pass is a nice gift for around $80. And if you live near another park that isn’t covered here, most parks usually have annual passes.
2) North America Video/DVD Set (or Amazon Prime) – This is a great way to kill some time if you have any days off during the holiday. A while back I wrote about a must-see TV series on the Discovery channel called North America. The landscapes, scenery and wildlife that they capture is amazing and so interesting to watch. You’ll not only learn a lot about the places we love to photograph, but it’ll inspire you at the same time. And some of the behind-the-scenes stuff about how they captured this show is amazing.
You could always order the DVD set to give to some one (about $20), or you could also buy each episode for $1.99 and watch via Amazon Instant Video.
3) Rain-Gear – No matter where you live, chances are you could get stuck out in the rain. You don’t want to spend all that money on camera gear, just to have to go inside because you’er not dressed right. Good rain gear helps in a few ways. For starters it keeps you dry. But it also serves a dual purpose in helping out when you’re out in windy conditions. Most people have warm clothes, but sometimes the wind cuts right through them. Putting something like this on top helps keep it out.
I like this one from Mountain Hardwear. It’s a bit pricey, but I live in FL where it’s warm and rainy a lot. And I sweat a lot too. You’ve probably had rain gear on and been hot before, and it gets really muggy inside and doesn’t breath well. This stuff works great. I’ll admit, it sucks when you buy it for the first time, but it lasts forever.
3.5) Camera Rain Covers (cheap ones, that is) – Of course, if you don’t have rain gear for your camera, you’ll want to pick that up as well. I’ve had expensive rain gear before and, don’t get me wrong – it works great. But I always lose it, rip it, or lend it out to some one and forget who and never get it back. So I’ve gone cheap with my rain cover now. I like these cheapo rain sleeves by OP/TECH. They’re less than 7$, comes with 2 and they get the job done. Plus, I’m always losing stuff, so I don’t mind if I use it once, and toss it. Buy a few packs and you’re good for the year.
4) Therm-a-Rest Seat Pad – I’m pretty much always shooting low to the ground. Maybe not laying on the ground, but pretty darn close to it. Well, I saw this seat on another gift list years ago (sorry, but I forget which one) and picked one up. If you’re been out shooting before and sitting on cold, hard, rocky, or wet ground then you already know what a good idea this is. It’s small and light to carry with you too, and really makes getting yourself in to the right position to shoot low (and staying there), much more comfortable.
5) Hex Wrench – Just about every photographer has been stranded out with their camera/tripod and not had the right hex wrench to put on/take off/tighten/adjust their equipment. The problem is that the wrenches that we have are so tiny they get lost easily, or we just forget them. Grab a couple of these hex wrench sets – you can get them anywhere really, but the ones from Amazon worked well for me. For starters, there’s multiple sizes which comes in handy. But it’s also big enough then it probably won’t get lost in your camera bag and it’ll be easy to find when you need it 😉
6) An Airline Ticket – One of the biggest hurdles for people who love to shoot landscapes is getting there. Get yourself an airline ticket to a national park or shooting location you’ve always wanted to go. I’m not talking your dream trip to Fiji (although go for it if you can!), but something a little more attainable and affordable. Pick a date and do it. Hotels, rental cars and the extras will come as you get closer. But if you plan it and buy it now, you’ll do it.
7) Xume Filter Adapters – This things are so cool (www.xumeadapters.com). I learned about them last year and they really come in handy if you shoot with screw-on ND filters. They basically let you screw your ND filters in to these adapters. Then, the adapters snap on much faster (and easier) than filters normally screw on.
Bonus: A 500px.com Membership – As a landscape photographer, 500px.com has some of the best of the best photos I’ve seen out there. There’s a ton of inspiration there, and having your own account to start posting your photos to really motivates you to get out there shooting and sharing.
Enjoy and happy holidays! Have a good one! 🙂
Hi Matt, have you used the Xume system with a circulating polarizer? Does it allow you to move the outer ring without coming off? I like the idea of the pad for wet or hard ground too!
UPDATE on Xume Filter System. I got it on Christmas Eve, and man this is really great! I got the adapter and three holders. I put my UV in one, my Polarizer in another and my Close up filter in another. Now I just have to Pop them on and off … I love it!! The close up filter I got goes with my new Sigma 18-300 lens. It’s really great for getting up close for flowers, bugs and dogs! 🙂
Thanks for letting me know about the Xume!!
Some of the reviews on the xume talk about vignetting on the wider angle lenses. Have you had any problem with this?
I haven’t but it’s similar to stacking filters. If you stack and shoot wide, then you’ll get vignetting. I just zoom in a little if I see it and it doesn’t bother me.
I’m off to purchase the Xume Filter Adapter. I’ve also sent your link to our Photo Group. Being an older dude … I get a free life time National Parks Pass. Love it! Off to read about the Sony Camera.
The National Park pass for seniors allows access to all National Parks in the system for the rest of your life. This for a one time price of $10. Yes, you read that correctly: $10
Another gift that keeps on giving is a Golden Eagle Passport, AKA Senior Pass, AKA Golden Geezer Card for the older photographer. It is a pass for all National Parks, Wildlife refuges, etc. It for all seniors over 62 and it’s good for life. I’m not sure of the price ($50-$75) because it’s so long since I got it.
Wow, thanks for the Xume, I hadn’t heard of that and it sounds perfect for me.
Happy holidays! Looking forward to another year of interesting photos and stories.