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SCL Photo Podcast 21: Christmas Is Coming!

SCL PodcastFive weeks to Christmas, so in this episode I talk about Photography related gifts, for you to hint for, or to buy others.

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Show notes:

Featured Posts:

Creative compacts - Canon G10 and Panasonic LX3..

Andreas Feininger Photo Assignment.

Photowalk 48 - Fresh Air.

Photowalk 49 - Feeling A Little Bit Better!

Christmas Is Coming - Gifts To Hint For (Or Buy For Others)!

My Notes:

There's just over a month to go until Christmas, so now's the time to start laying subtle, or perhaps not so subtle hints about what you'd like as a Gift, or maybe you could use this section to give you ideas for what to buy another photographer.

Obviously a lot of this is going to depend on your budget, but I always like to chose, or give, presents that "will keep on giving" to use a cliche, throughout the year, and not just be over for Christmas.

Lets start off with those obvious must have accessories, that aren't in your camera kit right now, they should be!

A nice tripod, and price depends on the weight of your camera - a dSLR with a heavy long lens is going to need a serious tripod, but for users of point and shoots or super zooms, like me, a budget model works fine. I'd always go for a smaller, light weight vs a larger model - it's all about having your tripod with you all the time, and not resenting having to lug it around.

Polarising Filter - great for enhancing any out-door shot on a sunny day, reducing the glare from water, and boosting the colours in your pics. Check your lens diameter, usually marked on the end, and get the right size. Another option is the Cokin System, where you buy separate adapters, holders, and filters, but these can be had cheap on eBay, so not great for a present! Make sure you buy, or ask for, a Circular Polarising filter, as these will work on all cameras, the older Linear type can mess with the auto-focus on dSLRs.

Some Photo editing software - Photoshop Elements or Lightroom 2 if you're lucky. Every photo that comes out of any camera can benefit from a bit of tweaking, and don't be fooled into thinking Elements is lacking in functionality - it's absolutely superb and a bargain price.

Spare batteries and memory cards make great stocking fillers, just make sure you get the right ones for your, or the other persons camera!

A nice camera bag would make a great gift, but which one to ask for or buy really depends on the kit being carried, so you'd have to make sure you asked for the specific model you wanted, or ask the person who you're buying for.

For the photographer who already has all this you could think about those extras that can be helpful - maybe a monopod or a gorillapod? I know I've always fancied one of those extendable walking sticks that has a tripod mound hidden under the handle.

We're all guilty of not bothering to print out many of our photographs, so a perfect gift for a photographer would be a digital photo frame, there's loads of sizes for most budgets - a perfect way to share your images!

Now lets get onto my favourite type of Christmas Present, books! Now's the type to treat someone to, or ask for, those publications you couldn't justify buying during the year. If your family mention they're going to buy you a photography book it's a good idea to give them specific titles, otherwise you could end up with one of those dreadful "digital photography guides" that is hopelessly out of date and useless.

Great titles to look out for are Joe McNally's "The Moment It Clicks" - a combination of Coffee Table Photographs with hints and tips about how Joe captured the shots.

For any beginner photographer a great stocking filler is Scott Kelby's "Digital Photography Book", now with a second volume of extra advice and help.

In the last couple of Podcasts I've talked about anthologies from great photographers like HCB or Robert Cappa, but maybe go for a book like "Wildlife Photographer of the Year", or "Through The Lens - National Geographic's Greatest Photographs".

Maybe you fancy getting to know a bit more about the History of Photography. In Geff Curtos course at The College of DuPage they use Naomi Rosenblums "World History of Photography" as their main text book, so it must be good.

For the more technically inclined there's Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure", or any of his other great titles.

Now I know you're thinking, what about cameras and lenses, well, if you're lucky enough to get those as presents, or are thinking about buying one for someone else, I'd probably think about something special, like a 50mm prime, or a wide-angle prime. Great image quality without breaking the bank on most cameras, especially if you stick to f1.8 versions.

I guess if a new camera at Christmas is on the cards, you already know what you'll want, but how about this - go on eBay an treat yourself to an old manual film SLR and a few rolls of film. Minolta's are cheap, good quality, and a great learning experience!

Well, I hope all this has given you some ideas of gifts to ask for, or to buy other photographers. What would I want for Xmas? I think it's time to think about a dSLR - the Sony Alpha 200's, Nikon D60s and Canon 450s all look very, very nice, but I think it's going to have to wait until next year - my Fuji S5700 will have to do for now!

Technique challenges (No Time Limit):

No Sky Landscapes

Fill The Frame!

Dawn / Dusk shots

A Landscape Style Shot With Strong Foreground Interest

Remember to email me your photos if you'd like to me work on them for the Photo Workbench.

To contact me, just click on the link near the top of the page under the big picture.

Thanks for listening, see you on Flickr!

Join the Flickr Group!

Cheers, Rob.

Reader Comments (4)

Hiya Rob,

Finally managed to download your podcast and seperately downloading the others whilst my broadband connection is actually broadband!

Really enjoyed listening to it, (21), and looking forward to listening to the rest.

Simply brilliant and very informative.

'See you' on Flickr,


November 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVictor

Hi Victor!

Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the comments!

Cheers, Rob.

November 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

Great cast Rob!

Just to add a suggestion for gifts.

As you know I have a newborn baby and an idea for a gift for my gran was to send her either a slide show DVD or a photo book.

Flickr does not offer DVD's yet but they do offer book printing services from the guys that do the Moo cards. I have to say if the book is as good as the moo cards then I would be very interested in the books.

As for DVD's I have yet to find some really dynamic software to create some sideshows. I know the style I want but I can't seem to find the software to go with it. is a pricey online service that does what I want but I would rather have the software on my computer and under my full control.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Laddie

Hi Laddie!

Great idea - photo book or DVD slideshow - never thought of that!

Cheers, Rob.

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

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