Well we’ve gotten through another year, the turkeys that made it through the night are all safe once more, and that means it’s time for us to talk about the holidays. Here once again is the Dengrove Studios Holiday Gift Giving Guide for the photo enthusiast in your life. I have some great options for you this year, many of which compliment last years gifts very well. So let’s dive right in to the presents.
Item 1 – Gorillapod Ballhead
You know that funny looking tripod that grips onto railings and you see your photographer using everywhere? That’s the Gorillapod, one of the best presents ever, which is why it made our list last year. If your photo enthusiast friends and family members were lucky enough to get one last year, then you know they use it all the time and love it. So, allow me to introduce you to the Gorillapod Ballhead, by Joby.
The Gorillapod Ballhead is an amazing accessory for the Gorillapod. The Gorillapod revolutionized the way we support our cameras, being able to hang them from railings, handles, and even tree branches, but anyone who’s used one has come up against the following problem at least once or twice.
Picture it…you’ve managed to secure your Gorillapod and camera to a tree branch for some great night-time photography shots. There’s only one problem, since the Gorillapod is hanging sideways your camera is set up in a portrait orientation, but fireworks are big wide displays! If only there was a way to secure your Gorillapod on the light post but angle your camera so it’s in a horizontal position.
Enter the Gorillapod Ballhead…ta-da! The Ballhead secures onto most Gorillapod models and allows you to then rotate and angle your camera while it’s sitting a top the Gorillapod. Add a while new dimension to your Gorillapod experience.
Now you can pan, tilt, and angle your camera in virtually any direction all while your camera is securely attached via your Gorillapod. Bring on the fireworks, tree trunks, landscapes, railings, group portraits and benches.
The Gorillapod Ballhead comes in several different sizes to fit virtually any Gorillapod. Get yours at www.joby.com.
Item 2 – Strobist™ Flash Gel Pack
Does your photo enthusiast love using their speedlights? If so, I have a great accessory for them. Nothing adds a new creative dimension to flash lit photography like adding a colored gel. With all the different color options out there, the possibilities are limitless.
But there is a problem…most gels are sized for theater lights, not small speedlight strobes. Standard gel sheets are 20″ x 24″ and cost nearly $10 a piece. That’s way too much waste when you only need a small piece of gel 1.5″ x 3.25″ the size of most speedlights. Enter the Strobist™ Flash Gel Pack.
A strobist is a person who loves using speedlights over large studio strobes to shoot all kinds of photography. Strobists routinely push the limits of what can be accomplished with small portable flash light. There is a even a blog site dedicated to strobists founded by David Hobby. It’s with David, that Rosco, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of theater and film gels combined to create the Strobist™ Flash Gel Pack.
The Strobist™ Flash Gel Pack contains 55 of the best, most commonly used gel colors in a small convenient pack which is only 1.5″ x 3.25″ in size designed just for people who love their speedlights as much as your photo enthusiast does. Plus it’s less than $20! At that price there’s no excuse why a new creative world of flash photography can’t be opened for any strobist in your life.
Item 3 – The pod™
Sounds like a mid evil torture device, “if you don’t do what I ask, I’ll put you in the pod!” Actually, it is yet another tripod alternative. We all love our Gorillapods, of course, but new on the scene this year is The pod™ and it’s quickly making strong headway in the market for alternative tripods. Look out Gorillapod…there’s a new pod™ in town.
As the name suggests the pod™ is a small beanbag, oval in shape, with a screw which fits right into the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera. It comes in 6 different sizes to accommodate everything from the smallest point and shoot up to large video cameras. Each size is noted by it’s color, yellow, blue, red, green, black and silver although the actual color of all the pods™ is black, the colored portion is on the bottom of the pod™.
If you’ve ever tried to support an object on a beanbag before, you quickly realize that not all shapes may be compatible. Especially when it comes to different shaped cameras.
The pod™ people thought of everything. The filling of the pod™ is accessible through a little velcro flap, this allows you to remove stuffing as necessary to mold the pod™ shape right to your camera.
Still not convinced? The price will help with that, the pods™ start at just $9.99 for the smallest(yellow) all the way up to $44.99 for the largest(silver). At that price there’s no reason not to give one a try!
I don’t own one yet, but I can’t wait to get one, so if you’re looking for a last minute gift for me…give the folks at The pod Industries a call. The pod™ can be purchased at www.thepod.ca/store.
Item 4 – Adobe Photoshop Elements
For the first time in our holiday gift guide we have a piece of software. There are thousands of products out there to help the photo enthusiast in your life take better photos, but what happens after they take all those photos?
Sometimes we want to make the exposure lighter, or remove red-eye from your 3 year old cousin, or perhaps the photo needs to be a little sharper. The king of all photo editing software is of course Photoshop, but with advanced editing features and a price tag of over $500 it’s really overkill for most people who aren’t doing professional photo work.
For those others out there who don’t fit the “Photoshop bill” there’s another Photoshop out there just for you, Photoshop Elements. Think of Photoshop Elements as Photoshop’s little brother. With Photoshop Elements you can add all those finishing touches to your photos without the hefty price tag and advanced user interface.
With Photoshop Elements, you can change the exposure, contrast, fix red-eye, even apply artistic filters. Now all of those photos an be picture perfect. Plus at only $99 it’s an affordable gift for any photo enthusiast. Photoshop Elements works on both PCs and Macs plus you can even download a free trial before you buy it, just to make sure it has all the features you’re looking for. Get yours at www.adobe.com.
Item 5 – Lens Mugs
Yes, this one is a repeat from last year…but it is still so cool! Plus nobody has gotten one for me yet, so I figured I’d put them on the list again.
Lens Mugs are travel thermoses in the shape of a Zoom Lens. They come in both Canon and Nikon versions depending on which side of the debate you’re on and the detail in them is simply amazing! So much so that they actually have a big disclaimer posted on their website that says “This is a lens mug, not an actual lens. Don’t pour coffee into your real lens!”
Starting at about $45 there are many different sizes and options to choose from and each one is simply incredible. They even offer 10-packs so you can get one for every photographer on your holiday list. Get yours right here at www.canonmugs.com. Yeah I know, it seems to make them a bit Canon bias but they have really cool Nikon stuff too, I promise, go look.
As always if you have any questions about any of the products mentioned or own any of the products discussed please feel free to leave comments, reviews, and endorsements. I wish you all the best and a great Holiday Season to you and yours.
Scott Dengrove is a professional photographer from the NYC area. Scott’s work has been featured in many national photography competitions and published in several nationally circulated magazines and publications. In addition, his work can currently be seen in 2 exhibits at Cosi® restaurants in New York and Connecticut and a traveling exhibit entitled “America: Coast to Coast”. For more information, and to see more of Scott’s work visit his website at www.dengrovestudios.com and connect with him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dengrovestudios