Oprah has her "Favorite Things" program. "Best Ofs" are popping up all over the place. So, why don't I just jump into the mix?
Since getting my first dSLR almost two years ago, I've started to realize that merely having a camera with a kit lens isn't enough. Sure, it's the means to actually take a picture, but there are so many accessories that make it so much more interesting and allows us as artists to create some more inspired work. There are some things that I own that I'll put on the list for those of you to put on your own list, as well, but because I'm still starting out, and because I upgraded to a Canon camera earlier in the year, I've got a lot of catching up to do regarding building up my arsenal of toys to play with. I've gotten by with what I have so far, and I am definitely happy with what I have, but since the grass is always greener, I thought I'd share some things that I'm hoping Santa will put underneath the tree (since the Hanukkah Fairy didn't leave me shit... that stingy bastard).
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
I'm not sure how good of a boy I've been this year, but if I'm high up on Santa's list of Nice, this is a great place to start. I'm fully aware that I need a lens that has a wide aperture, and the 24-70mm gives me a lot of range for the kind of shoots I'm regularly on. With the wide f-stop, it gives me a lot of flexibility in low light situations and a great range when I'm shooting weddings in the awkward lighting of churches and such. It allows me the wide angle shots as well as a good crop for portraits. This is definitely a big wish. If Santa thinks I wasn't that good of a boy this year...
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8
Now, clearly, if it were up to me, I'd go for the f/1.2 in a heartbeat, but at $2200, I'm not trying to break the Santa's bank, especially when I have so many other things on my wish list. However, a f/1.8, the aperture is certainly wide enough to handle a lot of low light situations and gives excellent depth of field for my food shoots. Plus, for portraiture, I can't think of anything better than an 85mm. The crop feels perfect for head shots and the like, and being a fixed lens, I can drop the f-stop all the way to create some amazing bokeh. If Santa wants to throw in the EF 50mm f/1.4 along with it, I won't be offended.
Mind you, I don't want to exclude the Nikon users out there (*snicker snicker*... Nikon...), so the principles definitely apply to you, as well. A solid, fast prime lens is a great way to go, no matter what you shoot, and finding a lens that has a great range with a good f-stop is also a legit addition to any photographer's tool kit, no matter which brand of camera you own.
Lens Baby Muse
I already own this for my Sony, but I don't have one for my Canon. If you haven't played with this attachment, you are missing out! I love its ability to create some fun photos straight from the camera without having to 'Shop in those effects and helps me become a little more inventive in the way I create an image. I like the feel of the Muse and the accordion mechanism you use to get the lens effects, and for $100-$150, it's an inexpensive way to get creative with your camera!
The Shootsac by Jessica Claire
I remember reading a Jasmine Star blog post about how much she loves her Shootsac, and she continuously refers to it, so I had to check it out. This thing looks AWESOME! It's sleek, stylish and light, with the ability to carry a number of things. I find this to be extremely useful for wedding shoots, since I typically carry everything in my backpack and it's too bulky to lug around in the middle of a wedding. I'll have all my lenses at my disposal, and changing them out will be a breeze!
Phottix Strato 2.4 GHz Wireless Trigger
I know Pocketwizards are all the rave right now in the photography community, but I had the pleasure of using these during my shoot with Amber, and I gotta say: I love them. They're extremely simple to use and are very responsive. I used Pocketwizards before, and maybe it's just me or just that session, but I experienced problems when I used them. Could be a user error - I'm not counting myself out of the equation. Suffice it to say, I'm in love with these things, especially with the $55 price tag.
One Light Field Guide DVD
It's no secret that Zack Arias is one of my favorite photographers, especially considering his brilliance in his ability to manipulate light. I remember watching his creativeLIVE class and being completely amazed in what he accomplished with one light, which is what he preaches regularly. So when he announced that he had created the One Light Field Guide to go along with the DVD, it is no surprised that this has to be on my wish list. Learning from someone with that kind of talent is a must for any photographer, and you should certainly check out his work if you haven't already.
I have been following Jeremy Cowart's Help Portrait work for quite some time now, and he does some amazing editorial work that is truly inspiring. Discovering the release of a "behind the scenes" DVD only makes sense to check out, since looking into the mind of someone who creative will most certainly be educational - and that is a huge understatement!
Chase Jarvis' Book, The Best Camera Is The One That's With You
I never really used my iPhone as a camera until I was introduced to Chase Jarvis' Best Camera app, and after seeing how amazing the pictures could actually turn out with a little processing, it's not become my favorite tool to capture life as it happens. So to see a book released by him of his work through an iPhone, I am one very excited camper. I think his work is inspiring enough, but to obtain this book alone will be quite a welcomed addition to my library.
David duChemin's Book, Visionmongers
Speaking of "welcomed additions", if you don't own this book, you are missing out on some invaluable information! I picked this up over the summer and could not put it down. David duChemin recounts what he's learned from his time as a travel photographer and shares his knowledge about making a living in the photography business. The lessons he teaches in this book are truly amazing gems, and I have been recommending it to photographers everywhere. Do yourself a favor and pick this up if you haven't already!
I feel like I could go on forever on my wish list, but I think this is a great place to start for any photographer. I hope I have shared a good amount of things to get your photographer for the holidays, and I'm sure I will be adding to this list whenever I get inspired to do so!
This is just on my wish list - what's on yours?
Until next time,