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It's the time of year when gift guides are all the rage, and since I'm an avid digital photographer it's only reasonable that I pull together a cornucopia of gifts aimed at the 'tog' in your life (and if you're the photographer, then maybe you're in the mood to treat yourself!).
In this guide there are gifts ranging from a few dollars to, well, a lot of dollars, and cover a broad range of hardware and software. Because photographic gifts are very specific, it is best to discuss any possible gifts with the recipient before purchasing (unless you're buying for yourself that is!) just to be sure.
Note that all prices are approximate.
If you'd like to check out my photography, or connect with me outside of the tech world, I have some of my images uploaded to Flickr, so if you have sme spare time please feel free to drop by. If you have images available for viewing, please feel free to share with me where so I can see them.
Here's one of the photographs I took on the day of the shoot shown in the shot above.
(Image: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet)
Formatt-Hitech Colby Brown signature landscape filter kit - Highly recommended!
In my mind, once you've invested in the camera and lenses, the next thing to get and master are filters, specifically neutral density filters. These filters allow you to tune what you're seeing in front of you, enabling you to capture as much of the detail as possible in the photos you take by better balancing the light that enters the camera.
Formatt-Hitech is a manufacturer of high-spec camera filters, and the Colby Brown landscape filter kit is a great set for anyone looking to capture dramatic landscapes, and consists of the following:
- 100x150mm (4x6") Resin Neutral Density Grad Soft Edge 0.6 (2 Stops) - Ideal filter for balancing the brightness of a sunny sky against the darker land.
- 100x150mm (4x6") Resin Neutral Density Reverse Grad 0.6 (2 Stops) - A special grad filter that is darkest near the center and lightens toward the top of the filter (opposite of a standard ND grad filter), perfect for balancing out shots of sunrises and sunsets.
- 100x100mm (4x4") Resin ProStop IRND 6 (6 Stops) - Perfect for creating ethereal flowing streams, shorelines and waterfalls by slowing down the exposure time without compromising image quality by closing down the aperture. This filter also blocks out infrared light, thereby further eliminating color casts and keeping the colors authentic.
- Circular polarizer - This fits in front of the square filters in its own ring holder, which means that it can be rotated separate to the filters in the stack. This filter is great for removing glare from shiney objects such as water or metal, and for boosting the saturation of skies and greenery when the weather conditions aren't ideal.
- Threaded adaptor for 100mm aluminum holder.
- 100mm aluminum holder.
The kit comes well presented in a pouch and comes with an instructional (and very inspirational) leaflet.
This kit contains three essential filters, hand-selected by world-renowned photographer Colby Brown, and should be consider a “must have” filter kit for any serious landscape, travel, or outdoor photographer. Below are a few examples of shots I've persoanlly taken with these filters.
I've been using filters for years from manufacturers such as Cokin and Lee, but these are by far the best filters that I've used. The color accuracy is spot on and the light transmission is even, showing no signs of patchyness or color casts. Blacks are a deep, rich black, while whites stay pure. This means I can spend more time taking photos and less time in front of my PC processing.
What's more, in 2011 Colby founded “The Giving Lens”, an organization that combines his prodigious talent as a photographer with humanitarian work on various causes such as clean drinking water, education, women’s rights and species preservation. A portion of the proceeds from this kit will be donated to “The Giving Lens.”
This is a truly wonderful kit and it allows you to take yoru photography to an entirely new level.
Formatt-Hitech also have a great (and for now, free) iOS app that you might like to check out.
More info | Price: $399
Vanguard Supreme 53F case
There's no point having a ton of awesome camera gear and then being too scared to take it into the outdoors. When traveling it's a great idea to have a hard case to put camera bodies and lenses into, and the more gear you have, the bigger the case you need.
The Vanguard Supreme 53F is huge – 24.75 x 20.5 x 9.5-inches – and is built to last.
The Vanguard Supreme cases are O-ring sealed and waterproof up to a depth of 16.5 feet. They are also airtight, and built to withstand the most extreme conditions (-40°F/-40°C to 203°F/95°C), and are great for airline travel because they feature an automatic pressure equalization valve. And, to keep things civilized, it has wheels.
These cases can support up to 265 lbs/120 kg of exterior weight and have anti-slip rubber feet and a solid carrying handle offer extra durability. Thick, quick-release latches lock in place and steel-reinforced lock holders are great for use with pad locks for added security.
Inside is a dense, customizable hexagon-shaped foam for an extremely tailored, custom fit for gear. There's also an option to have dividers fitted.
More info | Price: $250