Holiday Gift Ideas 2015
Photography doesn't have to be serious all the time. And to prove my point, here are some fun gift ideas for the season. No, you don't need them, but you know you want them. Odds are, some photographer in your life will too.
First up, we have two T-shirts illustrating the evolution of the photographer. No, we're not talking about upgrading from a point and shoot to your first digital SLR, nor is this targeted to the dinosaurs only now contemplating the jump from film to digital. Or perhaps we are. Both versions start out with the typical sequence from crouched over ape to Neanderthal cave man tentatively walking upright. But from there one continues on to show a standing photographer holding a camera to his eye while the other devolves back to a squatting photographer hoping for a more stable shooting position by returning to the crouched position. Neither one has learned the benefits of shooting with a stable tripod though so their evolution as photographers isn't quite complete.
Other cool T-shirts include ones emblazoned with the old-style mode dial for switching from fully manual to automatic exposure and points in between, as well as shirts that harken back the cameras of days gone by where things were almost certainly manual. Then there's a set of cufflinks featuring the camera mode dial — just the perfect thing for a night out on the town. You can get both a T-shirt and a license plate frame with the moto "eat-sleep-photography" but I'd prefer one more along the lines of "photography-eat-sleep." Photography has to come first, and the sun invariably rises and sets at the most inconvenient times with regard to maintaining a regular meal schedule. How about "shoot-edit-sleep-repeat?"
Available for a few years now, the coffee mug shaped like a camera lens comes in any number of permutations nowadays. Whether the person you're buying for is a Nikon shooter or a
Canon shooter, you can get one would look right at home in their camera bag. If its full of coffee though, I'd recommend leaving it in your car's cup holder or sipping from it in your hand while you shoot. Nobody wants coffee in their real lenses. Some of these are remarkably life like. As a suggestion, stick with the mugs that mimic wide angle lenses. Telephoto models are generally a bit top heavy when full since "lens mount" on the bottom is narrow. If the photographer in your life already has one of these, perhaps a keychain flashlight that looks like a camera lens will do the trick. Sorry, so far as I know, this one is available in Canon telephoto version only.
For those who wish their smart phone camera worked more like the cameras they grew up with, there's a cell phone case with a back designed like an old-time retro film camera. They come in versions for both iPhone and Samsung Android. You can also get several different versions of bookends designed to look like vintage cameras, or maybe a crystal DLSR paperweight would be more what you're looking for. Wait, nobody's really looking for stuff like this, that's why it can make a great holiday gift idea. Perhaps a set of , or molds for camera shaped candy would satisfy your sweet tooth better.
For those who do want something a bit more serious, there are plenty of options too.
If someone you know would love to get a Creative Cloud subscription from Adobe but can quite bring themselves to pay for it, you can get them a prepaid card for the Photography Plan>/a>. This is the future of the digital darkroom. If you know someone who enjoys exploring creative photography in-camera, there's always the simple but wonderful Lensbaby. Tilt/shift and creative blur effects only begin to describe what you can do with one of these and a bit of time and practice. Several versions and accessories are available too.
As a Nikon shooter, some of my favorite lens recommendations would include the outstanding AF-S FX NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED wide angle and the new AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR zoom. I find myself gravitating to the extremes at both ends of the focal length range to achieve a point of view beyond the ordinary. Both of these lenses will take someone who tends to stick to the middle of the focal range a while to get used to, but are well worth learning to use effectively. Both are super sharp. No doubt there are lenses that Canon shooters would lust after as well, but at prices like these, I prefer to recommend only items I have more familiarity with myself. In any case, consider lenses of this caliber as an investment more than just an expense. They can do wonders for your photography and retain their value better than do third party brands.
One drawback of the legendary Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom is that it's hard to fit a filter on the front of its massive five inch diameter front element. Because of the size and the potential for vignetting, Nikon doesn't provide front facing filter threads at all. But all is not lost if price is no object or someone who like you is buying you a present. The WonderPana 66 FreeArc system from Fotodiox does the trick nicely. Two pieces screw onto the lens, one from the front and one from the back, to mate together and provide unbelievably large 145mm diameter filter threads that don't vignette. Screw-on side "ears" even let you slide their matching graduated filters into a frame and shoot the way you thought was impossible with this lens. When you first see one it's hard to believe how big it is, but it is eminently cool. If you want to get a present that will truly make an impression, this is it. If will help you justify the price tag, mounting one to the front of the 14-24mm can also help to protect that bulbous front element. They make adapters for a number of other ultra-wide angle lenses too. Each one is well machined aluminum and custom fit to the fit the lens in question.
So there you have it. I could probably come up with more ideas I've come across recently but these should at least get you started. Happy Holidays.
For full disclosure, all the links here lead to Amazon.com from which I receive a small kick back as an affiliate. You get the same great Amazon price as always I get a small holiday gift from them in return that help support the site here at Earthbound Light. Everyone wins. And thanks for your support. And don't forget that Amazon sells plenty of great books too.