Have you been procrastinating? If you have, you've really waited until the last moment. Perhaps you just can't come up with ideas for the photographer in your life?
I've got some last second solutions for gifts from a very hefty $500, if you can afford it, down to under $20. They all are great gifts for aspiring pros, amateur enthusiasts, and vacation photographers who use DSLRs. Any of these gifts would be appreciated.
Each of these items can be purchased via the Internet, many in photo stores. If you can't get it delivered in time, you can always get a photo of each when you order it and stuff the photo in a stocking, or put it in a gift wrapped card. Then, when it comes in, it will be like the holiday's been extended.
Before making my suggestions, I want you to know, as normal, my holiday list only includes products which are part of my personal photography kit, which I use regularly.
- From FM Photography it's the McClamp ($44.95) - When I'm visiting wildlife refuges, botanical gardens, and parks, there is always someone who can't resist photographing the beautiful plantings and wildflowers, but all too often find it's breezy, and the plants keep swaying in the wind, causing blurry photos. With this clamp, plants and flowers can be held steady without damaging them. The clamp can also handle gray cards and small reflectors.
- Lastolite Collapsible Reflector, 12", Silver/White or Silver/Gold ($12.95) – When you're outside taking natural light portraits of people, often the underside of the chin is very dark, making men look like they haven't shaved in days, or women look like even they need a shave. A small, highly portable collapsible reflector pushing sunlight under the chin will eliminate that problem, and other lighting problems, as well.
- Interfit STR100 Strobies Portrait Kit ($129.95) – This kit which includes a Mini Beauty Dish, Softbox, Snoot, Globe, Barndoors, and Honeycomb heads for Nikon, Canon, and Vivitar electronic flash units, is just the item to help your family photographer get professionally lighted portraits. (It does require an Interfit Flexmount ($8.00) to attach the units to flash unit owned.)
- Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia 70-200 ($139.75) – For photographers using DSLRs with zoom lenses up to 200 or 300mm (You must check the physical length of the lens with the DSLR carefully to make sure it fits.) this “camera/lens raincoat” is the best there is. When you travel you can't let a bit of foul weather stop you, and you don't want it to stop anyone from recording those travel memories photographically. Cameras and lenses will be ruined by foul weather. The Hydrophobia is great protection, yet it allows you to easily use all the features of the camera. (You will need to purchase an eyepiece ($35) specific to your camera with it.) I use Hydrophobias when its raining and snowing, on boats when encountering salt spray, and even to protect my camera/lens from blowing sand in the desert.
- Manzella PowerStretch TouchTip Gloves ($30.00) – When its cold outside, photographers need to protect their hands, but most gloves won't permit them to operate their cameras. Most gloves are far to bulky to permit handling of the small controls of digital or even film cameras. These gloves give you reasonable warmth without bulk, and fit well enough to let photographers work in the cold. They even have special finger tips which let one use screen controlled cellphones.
- HyperDrive Colorspace UDMA (500GB version) ($499) – When you're on vacation, especially a long one, and hundreds and hundreds of photos are being taken every day, you don't want to chance loosing a single memory. This portable, battery powered hard drive, which connects to computers via a USB cable is the best way to backup photos. Backups can even been accomplished when you don't have power. These units are very small and light too, perfect for travel. They are highly reliable. I backup to one of these units when traveling, at least daily.
- Rogue Gel Kits ($29.95) – I love playing with color when shooting with my flash, and maybe the photographer in your life would like that too. These kits come with 20 pre-cut color gels which are easily attached in front of an electronic flash's lens. The kit comes with a heavy elastic band to attach the gels.
- Nikon imitation lens thermo Cup (24-70mm f/2.8G lens model) ($29.95) – This one is just pure fun for a Nikon owner. It looks just like a real lens, and makes a great hot or cold drink cup with its stainless steel interior.
- Cozy Camera Bag ($139) – If you live or travel to frigid winter locales, then this camera bag is for your photographer. If fits most DSLR's even with vertical grips, and keeps them warm, plus it adds protection for the photographer's right hand, which is used to control the camera. It's neoprene and has internal pockets for handwarmer packets for handling very cold conditions. The biggest problem with digital cameras in frigid weather is that batteries loose their power quickly. This camera bag combats that problem.