“…and a Nikon D3X, and a Gitzo tripod, and OH! can your elves make those Singh-Ray Vari-ND filters? They can? OK, I want one of them too…”
In the face of other gift guides, and in light of the tongue-in-cheek iconoclasm that goes on here at the PixelatedImage:Blog, I offer my 2009 Holiday Gift Guide for your consideration. A handful of gifts you might want to consider giving this year, to your favourite photographer, or even your spouse. Some will cost you a stack of coins, some of the best ones will cost you a few bucks or nothing at all. And some of them are blatantly self-promotional, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good!
1. The full collection of my Craft & Vision eBooks.
I’ll make it easy for you. After so many requests for gift cards or something, here’s the best I can do. Go to Craft&Vision.com and put all the books – 5 of them – into your cart. Then checkout with this code – 3wisemen – and you’ll get the books for 25% off – that’s $18.75 for all 5 books. Download accordingly. Then click here to download a cd/dvd label in layered PSD and in flattened JPG. Drop that file into your favourite label-template, print it, stick it on a DVD, burn the DVD and blammo! Lovely gift that will get used for much longer than a Starbucks gift card. (The discount works only with all 5 books and is valid until midnight on Dec.25)
2. Membership at the local Art Gallery or Museum
Decades and centuries of visual inspiration. We don’t need another catalog full of gear, we need our imaginations fired!
3. A year’s subscription to Kelby Training.
For the money this is one of the best places to get 24/7 learning all year round. Some of the best teachers on the planet, all in one place, all accessible from your laptop.
4. A Magazine Subscription.
A year’s subscription to a solid photography magazine like Digital Photo Pro, or Outdoor Photographer, among many others.
5. A copy of Within The Frame or VisionMongers.
Got those? How about Chris Orwig’s Visual Poetry? Whatever it is, giving the gift of education and learning has much more lasting returns than giving gear. Let someone else shell out on the stuff that’ll go obsolete. Want to go over the top with this one? Get them a couple of these books, and package them with a bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail, arguably the best scotch whisky in the world and one which pairs nicely with books like Within The Frame.
If you’re going to buy them gear and really plunk down some shekels, get them a nice lens. The good stuff. A lens will outlast all their bodies, laptops and anything you plug in or turn on. If they shoot Canon, get them something with the famous red collar. If Nikon, get them whatever’s on the front of Joe McNally’s camera. Or a lovely Zeiss lens – made in both Canon and Nikon mounts and with which you can’t go wrong, there are no crappy versions of those.
7. A week without talking about your camera,
Give your loved-one a week’s reprieve from talking about gear, the lens you don’t have, or mentioning the word “bokeh” – this one is for your spouse and I promise it’ll be well-received. You could also try going for a walk together and voluntarily leaving your camera at home.
8. A gift card from Artistic Photo Canvas.
Every photographer likes to see their work printed and mounted. The bigger the better. APC does a world-class job.
9. A “Still Need The Vision” t-Shirt.
Roger at RubyRed T-Shirt Designs has got some clever T’s, not the least of which is a great-looking T-shirt implying the need for Vision. Find it, and others, HERE.
10. A week in Italy with me and Jeffrey Chapman.
There’s one spot now left on the Italy Within The Frame Workshop, it just opened up. More information HERE. This one will take you into the stratosphere of gift-giving, and I’ll buy the recipient a nice bottle of red wine when we’re there. I’ll even sign it.
11. Time to create.
Married to a photographer? They sent you here? They’ll tell you they need gear. They might, they might not. You know what they really want? Some time to go making photographs without feeling they’ve got things to do at home. Give them a week off and make the kids do the dishes and stuff. Give the photographer in your home the gift of time to go play. Creativity flourishes when there’s time along the margins to play.
Most of us truly don’t need to add to the push to spend money during the holidays. Instead, why not make an investment in a family beyond our own? Spend some time on Kiva as a family and chose a project to invest in while helping a family on the other side of the world get a leg up and start their own business.
13. A goat.
Two of my favourite clients – World Vision and Save The Children, both have holiday Gift Catalogs. You can buy a goat for a family, a dairy cow, stock a medical clinic, or give soccer balls and books to a local school. I know, some of us are cynical about this stuff. But I can tell you first hand from being there that these gifts make a world of difference to the families and communities I’ve spent time with. I know, money’s short and we all need one more piece of gear. But if you’ve got a little room to stretch the budget, remember that there are families out there for whom a tripod is irrelevant. They have no food, no clean water, and no chance at an education. We can’t change the world all at once, but we can make a difference. One of my readers, Jimmy Brown, even started a lending team at KIVA, all photographers pooling their money to make a difference. You can join them HERE.
Still jonesin’ for something shiny? Here’s a random collection of my favorite bits of shiny for 2009:
Kiboko Bag from GuraGear.com. Serengeti sunglasses. Amazon Kindle. Paul Nicklen’s Polar Obsession or the National Geographic Image Collection. A new moleskine notebook, pocket-sized. A larger Hoodman Screen Loupe for the newer 3″ LCDs. A Sony PCM-D50 audio recorder. Think Tank Photo Skins. A used Hasselblad film camera from David Odess. Blackrapid R-Strap. A copy of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.