Hey everyone. I’ve seen a lot of holiday gear guides online, but none specifically for the landscape photographer. And, a lot of the guides I see have a lot of the same stuff in them. So I put together one with 5 things that you may not think a landscape photographer would want for the holidays. Heck, the photographer may not even know they want these things, but I think they’re great ideas. Also, I tried to keep it cheap. Most things are under $20. A couple are over, and only one will make you cringe at a whopping $140. But, for the most part, you could buy everything on the list and barely spend $250. Here goes:
1) A National Park Pass – If you live near any national parks, or you think they’ll be traveling to them, a National Park pass is a nice gift for around $80. And if you live near another park that isn’t covered here, most parks usually have annual passes.
2) North America DVD Set (or Amazon Prime) – A while back I wrote about a must-see TV series on the Discovery channel called North America. The landscapes, scenery and wildlife that they capture is amazing and so interesting to watch. You’ll not only learn a lot about the places we love to photograph, but it’ll inspire you at the same time. And some of the behind-the-scenes stuff about how they captured this show is amazing.
3) Rain-Gear – No matter where you live, chances are you could get stuck out in the rain. You don’t want to spend all that money on camera gear, just to have to go inside because you’er not dressed right. Good rain gear helps in a few ways. For starters it keeps you dry. But it also serves a dual purpose in helping out when you’re out in windy conditions. Most people have warm clothes, but sometimes the wind cuts right through them. Putting something like this on top helps keep it out.
I like this one from Mountain Hardwear. It’s a bit pricey, but I live in FL where it’s warm and rainy a lot. And I sweat a lot too. You’ve probably had rain gear on and been hot before, and it gets really muggy inside and doesn’t breath well. This stuff works great. I’ll admit, it sucks when you buy it for the first time, but it lasts forever.
3.5) Camera Rain Covers (cheap ones, that is) – Of course, if you don’t have rain gear for your camera, you’ll want to pick that up as well. I’ve had expensive rain gear before and, don’t get me wrong – it works great. But I always lose it, rip it, or lend it out to some one and forget who and never get it back. So I’ve gone cheap with my rain cover now. I like these cheapo rain sleeves by OP/TECH. They’re less than 7$, 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 😉
Bonus 1: Aaron Hockley posted a great idea in the comments below. How about a gift certificate on an airline. One of the biggest hurdles for people who love to shoot landscapes is getting there. So that’s always an option – help them get there.
Another 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.