All I Want For Christmas
Christmas is already just a couple of weeks away...time flies! It feels like I was in Norway just a couple of weeks ago but no, it was in January!
Now the question that comes to everybody’s mind every year is: what do I want for Christmas? Or, what does my photographer friend/partner want for Christmas? It’s always easier to give gift cards for Christmas but personally, I prefer to give actual gifts…There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a person’s face light up when they open their gift and see something that is exactly what they wanted but had not even asked for! A gift that is meaningful and useful that they will actually enjoy! I’m sure you know the feeling.
As a professional landscape photographer and workshop co-leader, I see what most participants are often missing in their camera bag. So here are a few useful gift recommendations:
-You can click on pictures to see more details about actual products-
SPARE CAMERA BATTERIES
Spare batteries are always going to be useful. I mean…we can always charge on the drive to locations using a USB cable connected to the camera but what if we forget? Two batteries won’t do the job especially if you plan on photographing during the colder months of the year. Batteries tend to die faster when it’s really cold outside. The worst I have seen were dead batteries after 20 minutes at -40 Celsius!
An important point to consider is to buy OEM batteries and not the after-market ones. I have only had bad experiences to share with after-market batteries…including one that almost caught on fire while charging! Not joking! So, don’t take any chances and pay a little more to go with the manufacturer’s original camera batteries. Lastly, make sure to purchase them from a trustable source! Counterfeit batteries do exist...
HARD MEMORY CARD CASE
I often see people store their memory cards in cheap soft fabric memory card wallets…those aren't going to do the job well and your precious memory cards will get damaged. You should always be kind to those memory cards! Treat them well! I always store mine in hard waterproof cases to ensure they are safe from accidental drops, squeezing or even from water and moisture. This has ensured that my memory cards last years. I have never had a memory card failure in over 10 years… Companies like Pelican and Ruggard both make amazing hard cases for memory cards. They are excellent quality for such a low price and are well worth it!
GOOD QUALITY MEMORY CARDS
And speaking of memory cards...we never have enough of those! Most of today's cameras have two memory cards inside the body and also have the option to shoot redundant. That means we can capture images that will be mirrored on both memory cards. That's a very good thing to do because it instantly gives you a second copy of your images on the spot! A second copy means having a backup in case a memory card crashes. But capturing images on two memory cards also means having to use double the amount of memory cards. One very important aspect of memory cards is to buy the ones from good well-known brands such as Sandisk, Lexar or Sony and buy them from trustable sources because counterfeits are abundant on the market!
CAMERA REMOTE SHUTTER
Personally, I use a wired camera remote shutter release. It can be wired or wireless… It is extremely useful. Some people prefer the 2 second timer and while I come from the film age and we didn’t have a 2 second timer, you can call me old school, but I still prefer my trusty wired remote. In many situations, minimizing physical contact with the camera to avoid potential camera movement will result in a better overall outcome. I do a lot of Focus Stacking and Bracketing. Those techniques not only require the camera to be mounted on a tripod, making sure that the camera moves as little as possible in between each exposure is paramount…having a remote shutter helps a lot in that department.
CAMERA RAIN COVER
The nature of landscape photography requires us to spend a lot of time outside to capture our images. And spending time outdoors more often than we can possibly think possible also means that we will come across some bad weather every now and then. Having a good fabric Camera Rain Cover will definitely make it much easier to protect the equipment from the elements. Companies like Ruggard or Think Tank both make some really decent options to protect your expensive camera setup. Once again, a very inexpensive piece of equipment that will protect your expensive camera setup!
CAMERA NECK STRAPS QUICK RELEASE
Some people don’t like to use a camera strap…Personally, I love to be able to use one when I need it without the hassle of attaching it to the camera every time. Those camera strap quick releases are genius! The camera strap can be attached or removed within a few seconds. Having a camera strap is very useful when you need to swap a lens or manipulate the camera in sketchy environments. Having the possibility to have the camera strap attached to the camera near a cliff will definitely add an extra safety measure. Peak Design created this amazing kit which is a must use on all my cameras.
I always carry a small Rocket Blower in my bag. They are super useful to blow dust off a lens or even off a camera sensor. Most mirrorless camera sensors are exposed to the elements when swapping lenses and are highly prone to dust and contaminants… The Rocket Blower can help to dust off those contaminants quickly! Giottos among many other companies make Rocket Blowers…here’s the one I use.
I can’t tell you how many of these I have purchased over the last 10 years as a landscape photographer. Definitely a great gift that will make any landscape photographer happy! Already an inexpensive thoughtful gift, you can buy them in bundles and save more! When one cloth is too dirty, simply take out a second one! That way, you will always have a fresh cloth to clean your camera lenses.
LENS CLEANING KIT
A good lens cleaning kit is always useful. Some stains won’t come out unless we use a bit of liquid. Now one thing to keep in mind is that the most recent age lenses have exotic element coatings preventing lens flares and fog…those coatings can be sensitive to chemical products, so you definitely want to buy a lens cleaning kit from a trustable optical lens company such as Zeiss which make lenses themselves. Using the wrong products could potentially result in damaging your expensive lens.
In conclusion, I am sure that if you give (or ask for) any of the recommendations mentioned, I know that someone will be profoundly delighted on Christmas morning! Since most of these items are small and compact, they will fit perfectly in your Christmas Stocking! And if you are just like me, I am always overly excited to see what I have in mine!
And if you want more Christmas present recommendation, see my good friend Gina Yeo's Christmas List article!
On that note, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas Holiday Season!