Category Archives Photo Gear

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Welcome to another magical collection of awesome gear that’s simply too gonzo to live without for another minute but, at the same time, will give you perfect gift ideas for the gonzo photographer on your Holiday Gift list.

Before we get to the list, just remember: The holidays are about giving (who is giving you what, and how much, so you can post pictures of it on social media). So don’t be shy: Act like a millennial, even if you’re actually old enough to still be a fan of Roosevelt.

NOTE: You can download a PDF version of the gear guide (complete with links to stuff), right here. This is the full version with the layout that appears in the new issue of Photoshop User magazine.

As is my sacred Gonzo tradition, I’m breaking things into three distinct categories:

  1. Stocking Stuffers: But you can use these as actual holiday gifts if you’re not that crazy about the person.
  1. Great Value Gear: Stuff that’s a really good deal for the money, and even though it’s not a lot of money, they’ll still totally dig it.
  1. Cha-ching! Stuff you buy for the surgeon/Wall Street banker/rap mogul on your Holiday gift list. This is the stuff that makes them burst into spontaneous tears of joy. Well, at least I would.

Okay, folks, hang on to any loose body parts; here we go!

STOCKING STUFFERS: 

clamper2

The ProMaster Clamper Junior
This is a really clever, very sturdy mini-tripod, but what makes it unique is that it has a clamp built in to two of the legs, so you can clamp it on a railing. It’s small, lightweight, but tough.

$44.95 at Amazon

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Topaz Adjust (Photoshop and/or Lightroom Plug-in)
Probably Topaz’s most-popular plug-in (for Photoshop or Lightroom), it’s great for creating a wide range of special effects, and it comes with loads of presets, so all your holiday gift receiver has to do is click on presets until he sees one that looks good, and click OK. Of course, he can tweak away to his heart’s content, but by that time, he’ll already be basking in the glow of your generosity for getting this for him in the first place.

Price: $49.99 (at B&H Photo)

blackblaze

A Year of Backblaze Unlimited Backup
There’s more than a reasonable chance that the photographers on your gift list don’t have an offsite backup of their all-important image library, but don’t worry: You can get them one for just $5 a month for unlimited storage. The whole process is automated, and best of all, they can back up external drives. They’ll totally dig this, and one day, if catastrophe strikes and they need to retrieve all their images from this backup, they’ll never forget you! It could be, literally, the ultimate gift.

Price: $5/month; $50/1 year; or $95/2 years (Direct)

diffuser

 

Westcott 30″ 1-Stop Diffuser
Put this diffuser between your subject and the sun, and you’ll turn that harsh nasty light into beautiful gorgeous light and it’s only $14.17, which is a crazy low price to pay for beautiful light. Plus, it’s collapsible and folds down to one- third its size, and the whole thing looks like it cost three times the price. It’s all good.

Price: $14.17 (at B&H Photo)

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Some Cool Books
If they’re into sports, they’ll love You Will Never Get in the Game by Jimmy Cribbs (the story of Atlanta Falcon’s team photographer). Price: $34.95 (direct)

Or how about Photo Adventures for Kids by Anne-Laure Jacquart, which is a really great photo project book to get kids interested in learning about photography. Very well done! Price: $11.57 (from Amazon)

Hey, they just might like my brand-new book, The Adobe Photoshop CC Book for Digital Photographers (2017 Release). Price: $46.74 (from Amazon)

Or if you want to splurge just a little, get them either of these gorgeous coffee-table style photo books:

AIR by Vincent LaForet (breathtakingly beautiful aerial shots): Price: $59.95 (from Amazon)

Paris by Serge Ramelli: (the city of romance in black and white) Price: $75.00 (from Amazon)


GREAT VALUE GEAR:
Stuff that’s a really good deal for the money, and even though it’s not a lot of money, they’ll still totally dig it.

rapid

 

Westcott 26″ RapidBox Octa Softbox for Flash
These pop-up softboxes are just brilliantly designed: They open and close like an umbrella. This particular one is actually a pop-up beauty dish, and it’s awesome! I think it’s the best designed and most durable collapsible I’ve ever seen, and it fits in such a small, lightweight, soft-sided case that you won’t believe it could even fit. I would call this “ultra portable,” to say the least. Designed to work with your off-camera flash, it comes with a well-made hot-shoe bracket, so you’re ready to go in 60 seconds. I’m a big fan of these, and Westcott now also makes 10×24″ strip bank versions. (I have two of them!) They’re worth every penny.

Price: $169.90 (at B&H Photo)

sling

Think Tank Photo TurnStyle 10 Sling Camera Bag
A friend turned me on to this small sling bag and I love it on a level you can’t imagine! I took it with me on my last photo trip, and now it’s my travel companion—perfect for carrying a couple of lenses and accessories. You carry it like a backpack, but then you swivel it around in front of you for easy access. So well designed, super-lightweight, and built like a Think Tank bag (amazing quality). They’ll love this.

Price: $84.75 (at B&H Photo)

haida

Haida 150 Series Filter Holder System
If the photographer on your holiday list shoots landscape, architectural, or travel photography, they’ll love this filter system that lets you take long exposure shots in broad daylight. Really wonderfully designed and built. (I started using these this summer, and I was just so impressed.) And the price (especially for the quality) is really amazing—much lower than the competition’s—plus the case and overall presentation makes them look like you spent way more than you did. Make sure you know which type of lens your photographer friend uses, get the filter holder adapter ring set that fits their landscape lens, then pick up a Haida 150×150 ND 3.0 Optical Glass Filter, which is a 10-stop neutral density filter, to go in the bracket. You’ll feel much love when you give this gift!

Haida 150 Series Filter Holder: Around $150 (at B&H Photo)
Haida 150×150 ND 3.0 Optical Glass Filter: $129 (at B&H Photo)

platy

Platypod Pro and Pro Max
This new model grew out of a huge Kickstarter campaign because photographers are either looking to put cameras where tripods aren’t allowed or into spaces that are too small or tight for a tripod; or they just want to shoot at really low angles. (I use one for shooting remotes at football games or weddings, where I can place it behind the altar.) The Platypod Pro Max is probably the best solution ever! Built with lightweight but crazy-strong commercial aircraft aluminum, this is such a clever design.

Pro Deluxe Kit (for midsize cameras) Price: $49 (at Platypod)
Pro Max (for larger cameras) Price: $99
(at Platypod)

C20i_product_Image_wCable

Lexar 128 GB JumpDrive C20i Lightning to USB 3.0 Cable with Built-in Flash Drive
Okay, that’s a boring name, but this is a really cool, handy device that does more than you might think. Not only can you transfer up to 128 GB of photos, either from your iPhone or iPad to your computer (or vice versa), it also actually acts as an iPhone or iPad charger. So small and lightweight, but backed with power!

Price: $136.99 (at B&H Photo)

teth

Tether Tools Case Air Wireless Tethering System
Photographers have been dying for an inexpensive, reliable, easy way to shoot directly from their DSLR straight to an iPad or iPhone (also works for Android devices), and Tether Tools totally nailed that with their new Case Air Wireless Tethering System. You can even focus and fire your camera using their app (for iOS or Android). So easy to set up and use, and the price is right. Very cool stuff!

Price: $159.99 (at B&H Photo)

Battery Grip
This is one of those gifts that they’ll love you for forever because it’s so handy and it makes their camera look and feel more like a high-end pro camera, as it gives them a second battery holder and a shutter button for when they’re shooting vertical. The price starts at around $50 for a third-party grip, but if you buy a Nikon brand for a Nikon camera, or Canon brand for Canon, expect to pay at least 2–3 times as much, so give the Vello brand at B&H a serious look. You’ll be a holiday hero for this one!

Starting at $50.00 (at B&H Photo)

mpix

Mpix Premium Panoramic Photo Books
I made my first one of these photo books earlier this year, and I have to say, they scream quality! The thickness of the pages just gives it such an expensive feel (but without an actual expensive price). Your giftees can design their books right on the Mpix site (it’s so simple to create a book; anyone can do it), and they’ll be amazed when their photo book arrives—just beautiful! Either gift them the ability to make one using their images, or make a book of your images and present it as a gift.

Price: Starting at $39.99 (at MPIX)

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B&H Photo Gift Cards
Not sure exactly what to get your photographer friends? Yes you are. Get ’em a B&H Photo Gift Card. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want something from the greatest photo store on earth, plus this way they can get whatever they want (within the limit of how much you put on the card, of course). You can order them direct from the B&H site, and they send a card and a catalog, so it looks pretty substantial.

Price: Starting at $25 (link)

lum

Macphun Luminar (plug-in for Photoshop and/or Lightroom)
If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s just because it’s brand new. I think this might be the perfect plug-in for people who are just getting into using plug-ins, because: (a) it has lots of presets; (b) it does tons of stuff; (c) it’s very easy to use; and (d) it’s super affordable at $69. It does everything from photo special effects to editing tasks (even editing RAW images); and again, its big strength is lots of presets that create good looks. It’s pretty full-featured photo-editing software on its own, so you’ll see stuff like Layers, Noise Reduction, Curves, and more, but I just use the special effects—of which there are plenty to keep your giftee busy. The downside is that it’s Mac only at this point, so make sure your photographer giftee uses a Mac.

Price: $69 (at MacPhun)

3leg

3 Legged Thing Equinox Albert Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod and AirHed 360
This has become my go-to tripod for travel, because it really packs up small, it’s fairly lightweight, but sturdy as all get-out, and it comes with a really nice ballhead (and a nice ballhead alone can cost more than this entire rig, so that helps make it a great deal). They make an even smaller, lighter travel tripod called the “Leo,” if size and portability is #1 on your list; otherwise, I’d go with the Albert, even though it’s a little heavier, and a little bigger.

Albert: $489.99 (at B&H Photo)
Leo: $349.99 (at B&H Photo)

phottix

Phottix Mitros Flash (and Odin II Wireless Flash Transmitter)
If you want to get the photographer on your gift list a really good quality flash without spending $600, this is what I’d go with. They’re awesome quality flashes, but I have to say it’s the wireless transmitter—the Phottix Odin II Flash Trigger Transmitter, sold separately for around $199 and used for wirelessly controlling one or more flashes—that made me fall in love with this system. It’s like it was designed by a photographer (rather than an engineer). If you’ve seen me out on the road this year, these are the flashes I’ve been using.

Phottix Mitros+ Transceiver Flash: Around $350 (link)
Phottix Odin II Flash Trigger Transmitter: $194.90 (link)


 

CHA-CHING!
Stuff that’s a really good deal for the money, and even though it’s not a lot of money, they’ll still totally dig it.

inpact

Impact Venture TTL 600W/s Battery-Powered Monolight Kit
The hot things in lighting right now are these studio strobes you can take on location and, instead of having a separate battery pack, the battery is built right into the light itself, so it’s just the light, on a stand, and that’s it—no cables whatsoever. Of course, the problem has been that they’ve been crazy expensive, which is why I like this Impact version so much: The light, a 32″ hex softbox, the wireless controller, and a spare battery are available as a kit from B&H Photo for just $1,249.95, which is a pretty screaming deal. It has built-in high-speed sync and LED modeling lights. And did I mention the price? It’s less than one-half the competitor’s. Sweet!

Price: $1249.95 (at B&H Photo)

mark4

Canon EOS 5 Mark IV
If the Canon shooter on your holiday list is looking for a new camera body, the 5D Mark IV is perhaps the best all-around camera Canon has ever made. It’s a big upgrade over the industry workhorse Mark III, and just about every single aspect is improved or enhanced on this bad boy. It has more megapixels, better sensor, built-in wireless, built-in GPS, more frames per second, and I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: It makes better images. If you buy them this body, they’ll follow you around like a puppy for the rest of their lives.

Price: Body only $3,499 (at B&H Photo)

 

elc

Elinchrom ELC Pro  HD 500s Flash Head
Want something awesome for the studio photographer on your list? These new strobes from Elinchrom are the best I’ve used from them (and they’re known for their quality/value ratio). Great new design, but beyond that, it fires about as fast as you can shoot with virtually no recycling time between shots. And you can do stroboscopic, sequence, and delayed strobe effects easily—these modes are built in. Very consistent, well designed, and a lot of bang for the buck.

Price: $1,049.99 (at B&H Photo)

16-35mm

Canon EF 16–35mmf 2 8L III USM Lens 
This 16–35mm range is one of my all-time favorites for a super-wide-angle lens, and Canon just released a new updated version of this classic lens that’s sharper than ever. If your photographer giftee shoots landscape, travel, architecture or football (I use it for my remote cameras), he’ll lose his mind if you get him one of these. This is the good stuff!

Price: $2,199 (at B&H Photo)


STUFF FROM US
I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least make mention of some of the cool gifts we have over here at KelbyOne.

k1

A One-Year KelbyOne Online Education membership
Wanna give them a gift that they’ll remember all year long? How about world-class, online training on everything from Photoshop to Lightroom to photography. It’s $199 for an entire year (with 24/7 access to literally thousands of lessons), or just $19.95 a month. Not only will they love you for it, so will I.

Monthly: $19.95 (at KelbyOne.com)
Annual: $199 (at KelbyOne.com)

how-do-i

My “How Do I Do That In Photoshop?” and “How Do I Do That In Lightroom?” Book Bundle
I created these two books for people who are already at least somewhat familiar with Photoshop and/or Lightroom and they want reference books they can keep right at their desk, so when they ask themselves, “Isn’t there a way to do that in Lightroom or Photoshop?” they just turn right to the page in the respective book that describes just that one topic. These books have a been a huge hit with readers (the Lightroom book is already in its third printing), and you can get a deal from the publisher on the two-book bundle for only $30.00.

Both eBooks: $20 (from Rocky Nook)
Both Paperbacks: $30 (at Rocky Nook)
Both Print and eBook Bundles: $45 (at Rocky Nook)

psw

Treat them to the Photoshop World 2017 Conference in Orlando next April
Treat them to the Photoshop World Conference in Orlando Okay, do you want to totally blow them away to the extent that they need a spinal tap? Give them a full conference pass to the Photoshop World Conference in April in Orlando, Florida. It’s a three-day Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography love fest, and they’ll be talking about this gift, what they learned, and the overall experience, for years to come.

If you’re a KelbyOne member, if you buy it for them now, you get $100 off for being a member, and another $100 off with the Early Bird discount, so it’s just $599. (at http://photoshopworld.com)

For everybody else, it’s $699 (but if you buy it now, before the early-bird discount cut-off) it’s still $100 off). (at http://photoshopworld.com)  ■


Well, there ya have it folks. Remember, it’s not how many gifts you get. It’s about how many gifts you get me! ;-)

Happy Holidays!

-Scott

Happy Tuesday and welcome to November everybody (I know, I can’t believe it’s November already either).

tt

So, you guys know I’m a huge fan of TetherTools, and I use a bunch of their gear when I shoot tethered either in the studio or on location, so when I saw this blog post from them on how to shoot tethered directly into your iPad, I thought you all might be interested (and yes, I know there are a bunch of different ways to do this, but there are some distinct advantages to their solution).

Anyway, here’s a link to their post — it’s really useful, and I hope you find it helpful.

In other news…
(1) Did I mention Photoshop World Conference 2017 Orlando registration is now open? (I know I did, but it bears repeating, right?) We’re there in the Spring of 2017. You oughta come out (and get your tickets now while they’re really cheap!).

(2) Thanks to everybody who follows me on Instagram (and has been with me on my Instagram journey, or maybe took my class on how to build your audience on Instagram). I just hit 100,000 followers there last week, and I’m very grateful to everyone who follows me there, and let’s me share my travel photography images with them there daily. You guys rock!

(3) If you’re into Lightroom Mobile, I have a brand new super-awesome book on it, and it’s available right now in print or in ebook version from Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, or wherever cool Lightroom books are sold. BTW: It’s only about $20 for the print edition, and around $10 for the eBook version. Pretty sweet deals both (well, of course I would say that, but it’s true). 

OK, that’s pretty much all the news I got (though Adobe MAX is happening, so check my Facebook page for the latest stuff about any Creative Cloud updates to Photoshop, Lightroom and stuff).

Gotta run — hope your November is off to an awesome start!

Best,

-Scott

 

lock1a

Above: My MacBook Pro in the photo workroom, secured with “The Ledge” and cable lock.

A couple of weeks ago I covered the Bucs home game vs. the LA Rams, and I tried out a new lock for my MacBook Pro Retina laptop called “The Ledge” from MacLocks.com (while I’m out on the field, my laptop is back in the photo workroom, and I don’t like to leave it there unattended without it being locked down).

lock5

Above: Here’s the cable lock I keep in my Thinktank Laptop bag.

Why we need a separate lock today
The MacBook Pros’ used to have a built-in slot for attaching a lock directly to the body itself, and I used a MacBook cable lock back then, and it worked perfect. But then in 2012, with the newer, thinner MacBooks, Apple sadly did away with that locking slot on the body, so I had to find another solution, and MacLocks.com had the only decent solution I could find, which had you attaching a lightweight, yet strong, thin horizontal bar along the bottom rear of your MacBook, and on the end there was a slot where you inserted the lock (here’s the link to that review here on the blog). While it did add a long bar to the back of your MacBook, it did the job well (I still have my MacBook despite being left on its own many times). My only big complaint with this older lock was there was not a combination lock model available — you had to use a key lock.

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Above: Here’s a close-up of The Ledge — it’s really small and unobtrusive.

The Ledge is That Much Better!
Beside the fact that you couldn’t get a combination lock with the other bar method, the other downside to the “locking bar” is that bar would sometimes get caught when  taking it in/out of your laptop bag. No biggie, but it happened enough that it was a bit annoying. Not enough to remove it, and take my chances with an attended laptop just lying their begging to be stolen, but annoying enough. That’s why when I saw “The Ledge” I wanted it badly — It’s the smallest, most unobtrusive, and easiest to install MacBook Pro lock I’ve ever used (just remove one screw; pop the “Ledge” on; use the included MPB screw and you’re set). Two minutes tops. And now I can say hands down The Ledge is absolutely my favorite. It addressed my one minor gripe from the old version, and it did it in a better way than I was expecting. It’s just so small and so simple. I love simple design.

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Above: Finally — a combination lock option! Note: be careful when setting your combination — you press in a little button on the bottom (with a pen or small screwdriver) while setting the number you want for your combination (unless, of course, you want 0-0-0-0 to be your number). If at any time you let off the pressure even a tiny bit, it will choose whatever number you’re currently at, but you won’t realize it until it’s too late. Yes, this happened to me, and I had to get a replacement cable lock. It’s tricky to do with just one person, so ask a friend to help. 

You can choose a key lock or combination lock (I went with the combo lock).

Highly recommended if you worry about protecting your Mac anywhere you have to leave it unattended, even for a minute. It’s $79.95 for the Ledge with the cable lock, special little screwdriver, and slightly longer screw to attach the Ledge to the bottom of your MacBook Pro. More details at bit.ly/2dzFrd1

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Above: Here’s a close-up of combo lock attached to The Ledge.

Overall Rating
If I actually had a five-star rating-system, with 5 being best, this would be a 5-star (I gave the old version I a 4-1/2 star rating, knocking off the half star because at that time they didn’t offer a combination lock option (only a key lock) but now they do, it’s just a $5 upgrade.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars! ✭✭✭✭✭
Price: $79.95 (includes key lock cable)
Combination Lock Cable Option: Add $5.00
Works on: 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros
Available from: MacLocks.com

Hope you found that helpful. Try to stay safe and dry out there, and have a great weekend! #rolltide

Best,

-Scott

Hi Gang: Thanks to all the KelbyOne members who tuned in to catch my “Iceland Landscape Adventure” members-only Webcast on Thursday. One thing I didn’t get to cover on the Webcast was a look at the backpack I took with me on the photo trip — the Vanguard Quivio 44.

I did a quick field review for you (below) with what I liked about it; what I wish were different, what the bag does best.

If this bag looks like the one you’ve been looking for, here’s the link. It’s $169 at B&H.

Tomorrow I’ll have an update on my 9th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk, so I hope you’ll check back then. :)

Have a great Monday. Well…you know what I mean. ;-)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Next week: I’m in Minneapolis on Wednesday September 21st, and then Milwaukee on Friday the 23rd with my “Shoot Like a Pro Tour: Reloaded.” Tickets here. Come on out and spend the day with me.

If this ever happens to you — you go to open a JPEG image in Photoshop, and you get a warning dialog box saying you have an ‘Invalid JPEG Marker’ and it won’t open the image, here’s what I do (I made a video with what to do step-by-step – it’s easy).

 

I’m in Iceland right now….
…and I’m sharing my behind-the-scenes crazy stuff over on Instagram, if you follow me over there.

Tomorrow: It’s Canon 5D Mark IV day on “The Grid”
The wonderful Larry Becker is sitting in for me tomorrow on “The Grid” doing the hosting duties with our guests, Canon Explorers of Light, Rick Sammon, and video guru, Bruce Dorn, who both got a chance to shoot projects with the just-announced 5D Mark IV, and they’ll be sharing their experiences and answering questions. That’s tomorrow at 4pm ET on “The Grid.” http://kelbytv.com/thegrid

“Gear Head LIVE” is back tomorrow…
That’s right — they’re back — Rudy Winston (Canon’s super genius tech guru, and hero to KelbyOne members around the world), will be here tomorrow with  Brent Ramsey (Canon’s video Tech Genius guy and the other part of the Gear Head Tag Team) answering KelbyOne members questions live, and the Webcast is hosted by the always-fun Larry Becker.

KelbyOne members can watch this free Webcast at http://kelbyone.com/webcasts

If you’re not a member, you can still watch by signing up for the 10-day free trial. Then you’re a member (well, for 10-days anyway).

OK, that’s it from here in Iceland
Don’t miss tomorrow’s Guest Blog, right here. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Best,

-Scott
Brrrrrrrrrrr!

NFL 2014 -- Buccaneers vs. Packers

The drought is over — Football is back, and tonight’s my first game of the season (well, it’s a pre-season game, but ya know — I definitely need a pre-season game to warm up and shake the dust off a long off-season).

I’m excited to once again be covering Tampa Bay Buccaneers home games for Zuma Sports, and that starts with tonight’s epic clash against the Cleveland Browns (stop snickering). I think it’s going to be a solid year for Tampa, so I’m psyched to see how the season plays out.

NFL loadout

Here’s the load out I’m using for tonight’s game (No, I don’t have any 1DX Mark IIs – I’m still using the old 1Dxs). Buried in there is a Rapid Strap camera strap. I can probably take the Hoodman Loupe out, since it’s a night game, right? ;-)

OK, gotta run. Hope you guys have a great weekend — I’m heading to Iceland on Monday, so could be a sketchy blogging schedule next week. We’ll see.  :)

Best,

-Scott

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