It is time again for the annual list of holiday gift ideas for the photographer. This was a tough year to put together my list for ChobeSafari as I was tainted by some personal needs. That said, I have tried to keep this focused on tools that I think should be valued by African Wildlife Photographers and not just Mr. ChobeSafari. With no further prologue, here is my list:
Great Migrations, National Geographic DVD (in Blu Ray if possible – $60) – While one can get a book and DVD combo, the DVD set is the big winner in the package. Three years in the making, and from award-winning National Geographic cinematographers, Great Migrations takes viewers around the world on the arduous journeys millions of animals undertake to ensure the survival of their species.Shot from land and air, in trees and cliff-blinds, on ice floes and underwater, Great Migrations tells the formidable, powerful stories of many of the planet’s species and their movements, while revealing new scientific insights with breathtaking high-definition clarity. Narrated by Alec Baldwin with lots of footage from Botswana as well as eastern Africa.
- HDR Software – I am a big fan of the Photomatix product, but NIK Software has a new product out getting great press. I predict that this will become a favorite tool in your photographers photography workflow. If you don’t know what HDR is the simple answer is High Dynamic Range. The more complex answer is that this tool will allow the photographer to recreate what the eye actually saw versus what the limits of the camera sensor recorded. Depending on your choice, prices run from $100 to $150.
- Apple iPad – I really struggled adding this one to the list. Not that it isn’t a great product for the photographer, it’s just that it seems like a cliché on every site to recommend it. Great for viewing images and simple internet surfing, but don’t confuse it with the need for a travel laptop. A little pricey at $400 and up, but I haven’t found an owner that doesn’t love theirs.
Canon or Nikon Lens Mug – You may say “what?” but trust me, this one is a winner and won’t cost you much. I have only seen this on eBay, so the link I provide may become obsolete; however, if you search Canon (or Nikon), lens and Mug you will certainly get current links. At less than $20 shipped, this will be one of your cheapest safari photographer options.
- BIG, fast Memory Cards for the camera – There is never enough. I typically buy Sandisk or Kingston, but there are other brands that you may wish to consider. The devil is in the details. Don’t buy small. My recommendation is specifically for 16GB or larger. The link is for a 600x speed CF card for under $100. There are a lot of sales this time of year, so make sure you shop around.
- Hoodman Hood Loupe – It may be a little overpriced at $80, but I’m willing to pay the price. After all, I paid
thousands to be on safari. If one can’t see the image histogram due to the bright sunlight, images can be wasted … and what’s the cost of that?
- Infrared camera conversion – Maybe I am approaching true luxury item here, but most photographers have an extra camera body they never use. For about $400, that camera can be converted to capture infrared images. This, my friend, will have you shooting outside of your comfort zone … which means the thrill is there like when you got that first dSLR. LifePixel is well known for doing quality work, so I can highly recommend this one. For illistration, I am borrowing an image from Andy Biggs. See more of his IR and other wildlife images at AndyBiggs.com.
Zimbabwe Shona Art – You probably have enough African wildlife photos from your trip. Now it is time to add a little art to the mantel piece. There are numerous places to buy these stone sculputures on the internet, but my preference is one of the not-for-profit organizations. Prices range from $50 to as much as you are willing to spend. Shona sculpture in essence has been a fusion of African folklore with European influences. World renowned Zimbabwean sculptors include Nicholas, Nesbert and Anderson Mukomberanwa, Tapfuma Gutsa, Henry Munyaradzi and Locardia Ndandarika.
So that’s our list for this year. We would love to hear additional ideas you may have discovered.