Tag Archives: photography gear

What’s on the web for photographers? Part I

I recently received a really nice comment from a follower, who said:

Greetings! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading through your articles.
Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects?
Thanks!

This follower’s comment made the think of the photography resources I follow on the internet. There’s a ton of stuff out there and for me, the key is to limit my regular ‘surfing’ to the things I get the most out of or enjoy the most. I wish I had more time because the internet is packed with fabulous resources for photographers. But reality means I only have so much time in a given week to surf for all things photographic. And so, as an answer to my wonderful followers question, I’ve decided to list the top 15 websites, blogs and other resources I follow.

There are lots of others that I follow, some not-so-regularly, but I’m going to limit this to 15 sites – a three part series with 5 sites listed in each post.  This way, you won’t have a honking big blog post to read and you’ll have a chance to visit each of the 5 sites and have a look before the next ones come out. And I’ve tried to keep the descriptions really short and just highlight some of the things I like about the site. The best thing is for you to click on the links and see them for yourselves.

So I hope this helps my kind follower and provides him/her with some great resources to check out. And for everyone else reading this post, maybe some of these will be new to you and offer some great new things to follow.

In no particular order, here are  5 photography websites that I tune in to regularly:

1. Jim Bradenburg’s website and blog

One of my all-time favourite photographers is Jim Brandenburg. He’s been around for a long time, makes incredible images, and has such a connection and passion for nature that I can’t help but like him. His images are stunning. Many of them stir the soul and communicate the deep love of nature that he feels.

Check out Jim’s website. His gallery is full of soul-stirring, inspiring images. You’ll also see Jim’s passion for conservation – he has his own charitable foundation for the preservation of native prairie habitat in southwest Minnesota.

Jim Brandenburg's website

Jim Brandenburg’s website

Jim also has a blog. He doesn’t post frequently, but what he does post is fun reading. I especially liked his posts about the new Nikon D800 camera that Nikon asked him to review prior to its release.  I did my own blog posts on his review, which you can find by clicking HERE.

Check out Jim’s blog:

Brandenburg blog

I can’t let this opportunity pass without mentioning Jim’s iPad app. Definitely check it out! I have it and love it. It’s inspired me to make my own app (it’s in the works…). Click HERE to read my review of Chased By The Light.

2. Art Wolfe’s blog

Here is another master. Like Jim Brandenburg, he’s been around for a long time, but this is why he’s a master at what he does. Art’s images are nothing short of stunning. I love tuning into his blog because it’s always packed with images – some from his adventures, some from the workshops he teaches. He also announces photography contests, print sales and a host of other things.

Check out his blog by clicking on the thumbnail below…

Art Wolfe_blog

He also has some short instructional videos in his archive that are definitely worth watching…

Art Wolfe_instruct video

 

3. Photo News

If you haven’t seen this magazine, you definitely need to take a look! It’s a Canadian photography magazine – packed with tons of great info such as gear reviews, latest news in the photo world, photo tutorials,  and a some online photo challenges where you can submit images.  I just like this as a good, all-rounds newsy photo mag. You can subscribe to the magazine for FREE. To subscribe to the online version (saves on trees), all you need to do is type in your email address. Highly recommend you bookmark this site and sign up for the free online version of the magazine. Click HERE to visit the PhotoNews website.

Shell's List_PhotoNews

 

4. National Geographic Photography website

I almost feel like I don’t even need to write anything about this – NG speaks for itself. What I will say is that their site is more than  a collection of stunning photos – candy for the brain!  I love the video tutorials they have on their site. They are free and offer some great information from the masters themselves. I could easily spend have a day perusing NG’s photo site…..Click HERE to visit the NG Photo website.

Shell's List_NG Photography

5. Outdoor Photographer blog

Outdoor Photographer magazine has a great blog that I tune into. The blog posts are written by well-known photogs who know their craft well –  folks like Jay Goodrich, Ian Plant, Jon Cornforth, and Michael Clark. Some of the posts are instructional ones describing a certain technique such as sharpening your images in Photoshop, others are about a photo shoot  at a specific location, while in other posts, they present an image and talk about what they did to make that shot. Their blog posts are short and sweet and well worth tuning into. Click HERE to visit OP’s blog.

Shell's List_OP Blog

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED……  the next 5 are coming soon!

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Filed under Creative Photography, Digital Photography, equipment, Featured Wildlife Photographer, learning, Nature, nature photography, Opinion, photography, technique, technology, Vision, Wildlife Photography

Photography Gift Ideas for Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching. A bit too fast, for me. I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping yet. And if you’re like me, you’re only just beginning to think of gift ideas. Or maybe you have a hard-to-shop-for person on your list? Don’t worry, here’s a bit of help.

I’ve put together a list of 12 great gift ideas for the photographer on your Christmas list. It doesn’t matter whether that person is a pro or just beginning, there’s something on this list for everyone.

Disclaimer: the info provided below is given purely as suggestion. I receive no sponsorship or endorsement from any of the companies listed below. These are just items that caught my eye and that I think might be great gift ideas for any photographer. These items are listed in no particular order.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…..

1.  Kwik Camo Blind

Does your photographer love to photograph wildlife? Birds in the front yard? If so, I highly recommend one of these. I already own a couple of blinds, but none is as portable and lightweight as this one and so I’ll be asking Santa for one of these this year. Two places that I know of that sell this item are the Naturescapes.net store and Outdoor Photo Gear. I’ve ordered from both companies in the past and am impressed with their prices and very fast shipping. Great, hassle-free online shopping.

Outdoor Photo Gear currently sells it for $99.95. It’s also available in white for those hardcore photographers who are happy to sit out in the cold to get that great shot!

Kwik Camo Blind

Kwik Camo Blind also available for your winter photography

2. AquaTech Sensory Gloves

Now these babies look great! I’ve already snipped the fingers off a couple of pairs of gloves so that I can better operate my camera while wearing them. But this is pretty destructive. Instead, how about a pair of gloves made especially for the photographer? Warm and cozy, but with finger holes already in them. No hauling out the scissors to make your own finger holes. Waterproof and breathable. A must for anyone doing photography in winter or on cold, rainy days. Outdoor Photo Gear currently sells them for $49.95.

AquaTech Gloves

3. Apex Mini Bean Bag

 I own one of the bigger ones, but the mini is probably a better all-purpose bag. I highly recommend this item. I use it to steady my camera when I’m lying on my belly in the forest photographing spring wildflowers. It allows me to get down low, move my camera around, but also keep it steady. Also great for wildlife photography from your car window.

NatureScapes sells this for $84.95.

Apex Mini Bean Bag

4. Overboard Waterproof iPad Case

It’s not just the photographer who could use on of these. I frequently take my iPad out in the field with me, but I worry about getting it wet or banged up. One of these would be great!

Outdoor Photo Gear currently sells them for $47.95

Overboard Waterproof iPad Case

5. Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly Sensor Brush

Everybody who shoots with a dSLR needs to clean their sensor from time and time. And so another must-have a Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly 724 Super Bright Sensor Brush. It’s a fantastic product! I own an older model of this and I wouldn’t use anything else. A friend of mine killed one of his first dSLR cameras by scratching the sensor because he was using a cleaning kit that consisted of a padded bit on the end of a wooden stick. Turns out the stick can poke through if you press too hard. Ouch! With the Visible Dust sensor cleaners, no hard parts touch your sensor. It’s just a very soft bristle brush that rotates and grabs and attracts the dust and gunk off your sensor. They work really well. Highly recommended.

NatureScapes currently sells these for $120.95. They are kind of expensive, but well worth the price. And if you scratch your sensor while cleaning it, it’ll cost you far more than $120 to have your camera fixed!

Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly Sensor Cleaner

6. Alan Murphy’s new e-book, Photographer’s Guide to Attracting Birds

E-books are an excellent gift for your photographer friends and family. Personally, I think they are great value for money, e-books save trees since they aren’t printed, and these days  everyone seems to have an iPad or some sort of tablet. And you can take your books with you anywhere without weighing down your luggage. If you don’t have an iPad or other tablet, don’t worry. You don’t need one to enjoy an e-book. You can read it on your desktop or laptop computer.

Alan Murphy’s e-book, available as a downloadable pdf for $50 (U.S.).

Alan Murphy’s new e-book, Photographer’s Guide to Attracting Birds, is a superb new book, the second on the topic that Alan has written. I’m going to write a more in depth review of this book soon, but suffice it to say it’s an excellent book. For anyone wanting to learn to photograph birds and how to create set-ups in your own front yard with attractive perches, this is THE book. I find the $50 price tag a bit hefty for an e-book, but Alan’s book is not only packed with lots of important information, I figure it saves me years of inventing the wheel myself, so to speak. Alan’s years of experience in figuring out what works best for attracting birds and getting those great images is worth the money for his book. I don’t hesitate to highly recommend this one!

You can purchase Alan’s latest e-book  as well as his previously published e-book, The Guide to  Songbirds Set-up Photography, directly from his website. 

7. Memory Card

Every digital camera needs a memory card on which to capture those amazing images. As a photographer, I can never have too many of these. There are a bewildering number of sizes and brands of cards these days. But I think there are three main considerations to take on board when thinking about buying one. First, make sure you buy the correct kind of card (e.g. compact flash and SD are currently the most common ones for cameras). Different cameras accept different cards so make sure you know what kind your photographer’s camera uses. Second, there are huge memory cards these days. You can buy 64 GB cards for around $100. But is this the best purchase? I’d argue that buying two 32GB or four 16 GB cards would be better. Sure, it’s a pain to change cards in the middle of a shoot. But cards unfortunately, do fail from time to time and I’d sooner not have all my images on one card. I’d sooner have them spread out over a few cards. As we know, putting all of your eggs in one basket can be bad. So why not buy a few smaller sized cards, which spreads the risk of losing images. Third, is the photographer on your list shooting video too? If so, then you’ll want to consider buying the card with the greatest write-speed.

You can purchase memory cards from your local camera shop, online, or even from local discount stores like Walmart. Regardless of where you buy them, just  don’t buy the absolute cheapest cards on the market. Remember, these cards might be holding your honeymoon photos or those of your childs’ 1st birthday. Those are important photos so don’t trust them to a cheap card.

SD and CF cards are used in cameras. Be sure you know which one to buy for the photographer on your list.

8. Subscription to  a Photography Magazine

There are a ton of photography magazines on the market today. This is great news for the photographer, but if you want to give a subscription, which magazines should you consider? I’d suggest going to your local book store and having a look through the magazine section and picking out a magazine that you think might suit the photographer you’re buying for. Some of the popular print magazines include: Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photography Magazine, PhotoLife, Popular Photography, Nature Photographer Magazine…. The list is long. But here are a few that I really like and have no problem spending dollars on:

Nature’s Best Photography Magazine – stunning images by nature photographers from around the world. Highly recommended!

Nature’s Best Photography magazine

Photograph – a new photography e-magazine by David duChemin at Craft & Vision. Available as a single pdf download for $8 or an annual subscription. I bought the first issue a week ago and am really enjoying it. Definitely recommended.

David duChemin’s new e-magazine, Photograph

Outdoor Photography Canada – one of the few magazines I buy on a regular basis. Great info, not overly loaded with advertisements. A great read.

Outdoor Photography Canada.

9.  Support a Wildlife Conservation Organization

There are a lot of great conservation organizations out there – Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International – just to name a few. Consider making a donation to a conservation organization in the name of your photographer friend, rather than giving them a gift directly. The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a great organization that I support. I love that you can support species conservation efforts by  ‘adopting’ an animal. You get to choose which species you’d like to ‘adopt’ (e.g. Polar Bear, Grey Wolf, Beluga Whale, and others). It costs $35.00 and that money buys you a small stuffed animal to give your photographer friend, a certificate of adoption, and an info booklet about that species. But most importantly, your dollars go towards conservation efforts for that species. I think World Wildlife Fund and other conservation organizations have this same kind of ‘adoption’ programme. Have a scroll through their websites to see what you can find.

Consider ‘adopting’ an animal and supporting species conservation.

10. A Lensbaby

This is the perfect toy for the creative photographer. I’m not even going to attempt to explain what it does or how it works. Want to see for yourself? Just visit the Lensbaby website and have a look at their gallery. But anyone who uses a Lensbaby is guaranteed to produce interesting, surreal, and creative images. I own an older Lensbaby and find it a ton of fun!  Have a look at the Lensbaby website.

The Lensbaby, a fantastic creative tool!

11. An iPad or Android App

With so many people having tablets these days, this is a fantastic gift idea. I actually bought a photography App last year that knocked my socks off! It’s Jim Brandenburg’s Chased By The Light. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must.  I think any photographer would be happy to have this. The images are stunning and I love that the App is interactive, with info pop-ups and videos embedded throughout. Chased By The Light App is available through the iTunes Store and Amazon.com.

Jim Brandenburg’s Chased By The Light App.

Another App I just came across that looks fantastic, is Paul Nicklen’s App, Pole To Pole. I think I’m going to have to ask Santa for this one myself! Paul’s photography is stunning and he’s a really passionate conservation photographer. This App is available through the Photo Society store website. Have a look at the video trailer advertising Paul’s App. I think you’ll be buying this one….

Paul Nicklen’s App, Pole To Pole.

12. My new e-book, Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips

Ok, so it’s Christmas and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to tell you about my new e-book, Flowers: fine art photography techniques and tips. It’s  109 pages packed full of great info  and many example images on how to use a variety of creative techniques to make stunning fine art flower images.  It’s full of descriptions of creative techniques and approaches, as well as inspiration and encouragement. And all for only $8.95 (wait, now I’m starting to sound like a TV add for Matel….). It’s available as a pdf download from my website, 44th Parallel Photography.

Not sure how to give an e-book or an App to that photographer on your list? Purchase it online. You’ll receive a link to a pdf file that you’ll download. Once you’ve downloaded it, why not buy a 2GB USB stick and put it on that? Then you just need to put the USB stick in a nice little gift bag and voila! Christmas pressie is done. 🙂

My new e-book, a 109 page downloadable pdf, available on my 44th Parallel Photography website.

Good luck with your Christmas shopping. I hope some of these suggestions help.

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Filed under Digital Photography, equipment, nature photography, photography, technology