As we count down to Christmas, some of us who haven’t yet started our Christmas shopping may have a slight feeling of panic building. Time is ticking…..
The way I figure it, there are two challenges with Christmas shopping. Challenge #1 – what to buy. Challenge #2 – actually getting out to buy it and in particular, getting out before it’s too late and the stores are picked over, looking much like the way the Grinch left the Who’s houses after his Christmas pillage. But even with the Grinch, there was a happy ending….. 🙂
If you’re shopping for friends and family who are photographers, don’t panic. I’ve already posted a list of 12 great photography gift ideas. And the great part is that most of these things can be purchased online. So if you can’t get out and about to buy them, don’t worry. However, I will say that if you can buy locally, why not support your local camera store?
One item I had on my list that I’d like to write a bit more about are a pair of e-books, about bird photography, by Alan Murphy. If you’re into bird photography, you’ll know Alan Murphy’s name. He’s one of the top bird photographers out there. I love his images – clean, simple, tack-sharp and well…. stunning! Check out Alan’s website.
Producing incredible images is certainly the first thing that attracts me to a photographer. But the second thing that seals the deal for me – makes me a loyal follower – is that person’s attitude toward the rest of the photography world. By this, I mean, their willingness to share. Those who are willing to share their techniques and not keep them closely-held secrets are tops in my books. And Alan is one of those. In fact, I emailed Alan recently to ask him a question about one of his books and got a really pleasant and informative response.
Alan has written two e-books on how to attract birds for the purpose of photography. His first e-book, The Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography, is a 106 page pdf e-book packed full of fantastic information and advice about setting up perches using natural materials (flowers, tree and shrub branches, rocks, etc.). For example, Alan includes a section on setting up flowers for hummingbird photography. He includes a tip on how to ‘bait’ the flowers with a bit of sugar-water to get the birds to the flower. Can’t wait to try this approach next spring! He also includes chapters on how to attract certain species of birds as well as how to attract and photograph certain taxa of birds, such as waterfowl and shorebirds.
One of Alan Murphy’s fantastic bird photos
Alan’s second book, The Photographer’s Guide to Attracting Birds, released recently,offers up even more detailed and specific information . For example, Alan has a chapter on blinds and camouflage, which is extremely informative. His book also includes chapters on attracting birds using insects, decoys, and audio playbacks. He also has chapters on attracting specific birds such as flycatchers, songbirds, and shorebirds. This book is as jam-packed with excellent information as the first one.
If you’re interested in bird photography, I very highly recommend both these books. As far as e-books go, they are a tad pricey ($50 each or both for $90), but the way I look at it, Alan has shared information that has taken him years to accumulate. There’s no point in re-inventing the wheel and so I think his books are well worth the price. You’re purchasing Alan’s wealth of knowledge and experience, which will allow you to fast-track your bird set-up photography. Personally, I don’t have 20 years to figure it all out myself. I’m not getting any younger! 😉
Copies of the book can be purchased directly from Alan’s website. I highly recommend these books as a wonderful gift for the nature or bird photographer on your Christmas list. You can’t go wrong with these books. And by buying e-books, you’ll see sparing a few more trees.
Good luck with your Christmas shopping. But most of all, don’t forget to enjoy the magic of the season.