Christmas Gift Ideas for Nature Photographers

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Gear Recommendations

Lowe Pro Camera Bag

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Why I like this bag!

Tough eva moulded top armored section and protective padding all round the bag ensures equipment inside is protected

Flexible and adaptive dividers inside allow multiple configurations of camera kit to be positioned with ease Modular Includes two quick lock straps and a slip lock tripod cup to mount a tripod securely also fits multiple accessories in the lowepro range with the slip lock system

Comfortable carrying with the activzone system technology delivers targeted support at shoulder blades lumbar and waist for all day carry comfort

Protective laptop carrying with cradlefit pocket suspends and protects 

Rain protection Safeguard valuable gear from the elements with the built-in all weather aw cover

Nikon Z 5 with NIKKOR Z 24-200mm

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This has been the surprise of the year for me.  I have been very happy with this camera and lens setup and this has become my go to for hiking, backpacking, or light travel.  At less than $1,900 this is a great deal and a significant step up from entry level or mid level cameras.

Some of the specs.

Intensely detailed 24MP full frame images and 4K UHD videos VR image stabilization built-in for sharp, stabilized photos and videos.

Superb 273 point autofocus system that can focus near the edges, detect and follow eyes (people, cats and dogs) and track subjects L

ens features Nikon technologies including Aspherical Lens Elements

Vibration Reduction image stabilization

The customizable, clickless control ring offers quick and quiet access to most used camera settings

Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera Bundle

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I am a Nikon guy as that is where I started but I REALLY like the entry level Canon cameras. At under $500 this is a great starter camera bundle that includes

Transcend 32GB High Speed Class 10 SD Memory Card

USB Card Reader

58mm UV Filter

Battery ,Charger 

Lens Caps And Body Cap

Deluxe Gadget Bag 

7" Spider FLex Tripod

Neck Strap 

Feisol Elite CT-3372 Rapid 3-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod

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After using loads and loads of different tripods, I am very happy with this Feisol tripod for the durability as well as the price and weight for a carbon fiber tripod.   Rock solid even for my biggest telephoto.

Some of the features.

Rapid anti-leg-rotation technology

A load capacity of 12 kg (26.46 pounds) R

emarkably lightweight construction, just 1.72 kg (3.79 pounds)

Maximum height of 150 cm (59 inches), more with optional center column

Maximum leg tube diameter of 37 cm (1.46 inches)

Photography Gifts Under $50

Kimtech Wipes

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A favorite of mine to clean and remove moisture.  These at less than $8 is a go to for me in my camera bags.   You cannot remove moisture with a lens cloth, all you do is smear it around.  This removes the moisture from water.  

Task wipes for easy cleaning of liquids, dust and small particles

Antistatic dispensing design reduces electrostatic discharge Waste-reducing, one-at-a-time dispensing


Benro Arcasmart Sidearm

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One that I have yet to try but that piques my interest for a wide variety of reasons.  Often times if I am working with PhotoPills I find myself constantly taking my phone in and out of my pocket to check alignments, or timing.  Other times I might be trying to line up a composition I had taken earlier with my phone.  

Designed to hold a smartphone or camera or both at the same time!

Integrated Cold shoe for accessory mounting.

Adjustable phone angles for perfect viewing, live-streaming or recording.

Arca-Swiss Style or 1/4” mounting capabilities.

Allows you to use your phone as a monitor (additional equipment may be required).

Peak Design Clutch

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One of my favorite things and what I have on every camera.  Not only don't I have to worry about my strap flapping around in my images, or getting snagged but I can easily carry my camera without worrying about dropping it and still have it work on my tripod.

Provides solid grip, but easy access to controls

Attach & remove with ease Compatible with any DSLR (or SLR) camera, including large full-frame bodies and cameras with battery grips

Low-profile aesthetic design

Peak Design Capture Clip

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Hands down.  Without a doubt.  My favorite photography accessory.  Nothing is worse than a camera that is a hassle when you hike or that is not safe.  This securely attaches to my backpack(s) and I don't have to worry about my camera coming out, and I can have easy access to it whenever I need my camera.   If you buy with the clutch above you don't need the plate, just the clip which saves you $20.

Camera mount securely holds DSLR, compact and point-and-shoot cameras during any physical activity.

Access your camera fast with a quick release button that withstands over 200 lbs. of force. Attaches to any strap/belt up to 2.5 Inch (7.6 cm) wide and 0.6 Inch (1.5 cm) thick.

Peak Design adapter plates/kits enable Capture (Clip Only) to carry lenses, GoPros, or binoculars.

Specialized Equipment

Spyder Datacolor

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A very important part of my process for print, processing, and web is color calibration.  At $130 you don't have to break the bank to do it yourself. 

Calibrating your monitor to achieve color precision now takes just a minute or two – several times faster than previous models.

Lens-based color engine provides a higher level of color accuracy for multiple monitors.

SpyderX Pro features room-light monitoring, automatic profile changing and significantly more precise screen color, shadow detail and white balance. .

SpyderX Pro is so intuitive, you don’t have to be a color expert. It features quick and easy single-click calibration and wizard workflow with 12 predefined calibration targets for advanced color accuracy. 

SpyderProof functionality provides before-and-after evaluation of your display and allows you to see the difference using your own images.

WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive

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A must have for backup, travel, or as a primary way to store and organize processed images and RAW files is a large capacity external hard drive.  To be able to get 4 TB for under $100 that is a screaming deal.  

Connect this portable drive to your PC for an instant storage upgrade. WD Elements is the ideal companion for taking important files with you on the go.

SuperSpeed USB-A cable for transfers up to 5Gbps

2-year limited warranty

Compatible with Mac and other operating systems after reformatting

Photography Books of Note

Discover your creative process!

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The Artists Way

Julia Cameron's novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery. The program begins with Cameron’s most vital tools for creative recovery – The Morning Pages, a daily writing ritual of three pages of stream-of-conscious, and The Artist Date, a dedicated block of time to nurture your inner artist.

From there, she shares hundreds of exercises, activities, and prompts to help readers thoroughly explore each chapter. She also offers guidance on starting a “Creative Cluster” of fellow artists who will support you in your creative endeavors.

A revolutionary program for personal renewal, The Artist's Way will help get you back on track, rediscover your passions, and take the steps you need to change your life.


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Look deeper

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Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway

Jeffers discusses the crippling effects of fear in her personal life and explains how she formulated a course of action for conquering it. Her answers are simple, her course of action difficult only because it requires courage. She explains how fear is based on the uncertainty of change and the lack of positive self image.

I found this book really helpful to find ways to think about what and where I was holding myself back from what I could ultimately achieve.  I also like the simplicity in which many concepts are discussed.  

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See how words & photography can align

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More Than a Rock

More Than a Rock, 2nd Edition is a passionate and personal book about creativity and expression. In this series of over 70 brief essays, photographer and teacher Guy Tal shares his thoughts and experiences as an artist who seeks to express more in his images than the mere appearance of the subject portrayed. Following up on the success of the first edition, this revised edition contains updated imagery, a new essay in each of the book’s four sections―Art, Craft, Experiences, and Meditations―and is presented in a beautiful hardcover format.

Tal makes an argument to consider creative landscape photography―expressing something of the photographer's conception through the use of natural aesthetics―as a form of visual art that is distinct from the mere representation of beautiful natural scenes. Tal covers topics such as the art of photography, approaches to landscape photography, and the experiences of a working photographic artist. His essays also include reflections on nature and man’s place in it, living a meaningful life, and living as an artist in today’s world.

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Go deeper and wider in your work

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Perception & Imaging 

When you look at an image, what do you see, think, and feel? How do you want your audience to react when they view your work?  Unlike any other book, Perception and Imaging will give you an extensive understanding of how photography relates to art, design, advertising, psychology, and philosophy, as well as what makes photography unique among the image-making disciplines. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, this information will help you appreciate photography not simply as a mastering of technique and composition, but as a way of truly seeing, especially now in the digital age.

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Go even deeper

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Art & Visual Perception

Since its publication fifty years ago, this work has established itself as a classic. It casts the visual process in psychological terms and describes the creative way one's eye organizes visual material according to specific psychological premises. In 1974 this book was revised and expanded, and since then it has continued to burnish Rudolf Arnheim's reputation as a groundbreaking theoretician in the fields of art and psychology.

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A lighter read full of good information

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Big Magic - Creative Living Beyond Fear

With profound empathy and radiant generosity, Elizabeth Gilbert offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

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Unravel your processes

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Wired to Create

Wired to Create offers a glimpse inside the “messy minds” of highly creative people. Revealing the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, along with engaging examples of artists and innovators throughout history, the book shines a light on the practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking. Kaufman and Gregoire untangle a series of paradoxes— like mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play, openness and sensitivity, and solitude and collaboration – to show that it is by embracing our own contradictions that we are able to tap into our deepest creativity. Each chapter explores one of the ten attributes and habits of highly creative people: Imaginative Play * Passion * Daydreaming * Solitude * Intuition * Openness to Experience * Mindfulness * Sensitivity * Turning Adversity into Advantage * Thinking Differently

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Find that courage

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The Courage to Create

What if imagination and art are not, as many of us might think, the frosting on life but the fountainhead of human experience? What if our logic and science derive from art forms, rather than the other way around? In this trenchant volume, Rollo May helps all of us find those creative impulses that, once liberated, offer new possibilities for achievement.

This book helped me to give myself permission to learn and to create.  The ideas presented allowed me the opportunity to see my entire creative process differently.  An easier read but one that will help you to put your creative process in perspective.  

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Photography Magazines

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On Landscape Magazine

At its very core, On Landscape is a subscription based magazine dedicated to landscape photography. Most magazines also don’t have instant interactivity and community feedback either. And most magazines are only part landscape, usually mixed with the very different genre of wildlife photography.

https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/

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Lenswork Magazine

Focus on images Four to six photographers showcased in print edition issue Anthology style, with portfolios like little "books within a book" Non-technical and non-academic Emphasis on the creative aspects of photography Beyond cameras and equipment, beyond film and chemistry, beyond pixels and technology lie the mysteries of the creative life shared by those who strive to communicate and express themselves clearly – fine art photographers, commercial photographers, amateurs and professionals.

https://www.lenswork.com/

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