I decided to make a holiday shopping list for landscape and wildlife photographers. I did not include any cameras, lenses, tripods, bags, etc. as there are multiple websites with thorough reviews to help you choose. Rather, I have created an eclectic list of items that I have and use. Some are unique to photographers while other items are not found in most if any photography stores. I hope you enjoy and my recommendations improve your photography!
I was a little hesitant when I purchased these gloves a few years ago. However, I am a big fan. I have photographed in very cold weather and my hands never felt cold. The first time I used them it was near zero degrees with what felt like a 40 mph wind blowing on shore and off shore. The glove have a nice a nice silicon grip on the palm so that your equipment will not slip out of your hands. If you are looking for something to keep your hands warm, these are great.
I found these and have been very pleased in the past with Hoodman products. I have a variety of lens cleaning wipes, drops, clothes, and brushes. However, this is the only one that includes a wet wipe and dry wipe.
If it is warm, there are probably ticks around. I purchased a box of these last year and never saw a tick! The individual wipes are great. I also carry a spray in my car, but never used it this past year. I have already ordered a box for next year.
One of my children gave me a pair of these last year for Christmas. I really like them. I have two pairs of bifocals. One is my every day pair on that has a leather glasses holder or keeper and clip-on sunglasses. It is a real hassle to keep taking of the sunglasses every time I want to check something on my camera. Thus, I have two pairs of glasses on my neck! It may not be a fashion statement, but it works. Now, if I could just find a way to keep from mangling my bifocals in my camera and backpack straps (that is why I have two pairs of bifocals).
If you are photographing birds, then a blind is essential. I have two types of blinds. The first one is similar to a rain poncho. You cover yourself and then sit on a five gallon buck with a seat pad. Your tripod and camera fit inside the blind and there is an opening for you camera. It works well. But, sitting on a five gallon bucket for three hours is hard on my back and other body parts. My wife took me to the doctor two days later and I was given a shot of something in the hip for the pain and stiffness.
On my second trip, I decided that comfort was important. I purchased a larger blind often called a dog house blind. I cannot stand up in it, but I could put my recliner, a small table, cooler, television, and all my camera gear inside if I could just drive my car to the location! The dog house blind allows me to use a more comfortable and supporting camping chair. Plus, there is room for my camera backpack. I would guess I will use both blinds this year. The poncho version fits nicely in the five-gallon buck making it easy to carry. The dog house is quite light, but the camp chair is bulky.
It seems you never have enough pockets and when you do, what you want to put in them is too large. I use this stone bag to place my lens hood while adjusting the polarizing filter. It is also a great place to put extra filters or filter cases while shooting. I always to remove things before moving my tripod….
I do not keep my lenses in these cases. Rather, I purchased one for the ball head on my tripod and one for the ball head on my monopod. They do a great job of protecting the ball heads when traveling and in storage.
I got really frustrated one day last summer when I was shooting on a grated bridge. It took me too long to find the right spots to balance three tripod legs through the slots in the grate. I came to the conclusion that the bridge designers did not consider photographers when they designed the bridge! These shoes are great for cover bridges as well as shooting in creek bed that is sandy or muddy.
Have you ever noticed that the best location for a photograph is typically in mud or requires you to walk through mud? I have high quality rubber mats throughout my SUV, but somedays it helps to have a way to clean your boots. I keep this brush in the back of my car for those days. My wife will usually let me in the house if I clean my boots before coming inside.
I carry a lot of maps, a few books, and some printed information on the locations I will be exploring for the day. I also keep extra pens and notepads with me. I found this organizer to be a great addition. I keep all my standard materials in it and add printouts each day. I can remove it from the car with hand making it easy to carry inside to wait for the next trip. It hangs by the garage door with a few extra jackets I take.
A friend of mine introduced me to Delorme maps a few years ago. I now have a collection of most Midwestern states. They are great for doing research and planning trips. I still use Google maps and my phone for navigation. However, I generally check my Delorme map before leaving home.
Tim Grey is one of the very best photographer teachers. He has a number of products that range from free to bargain prices. I would encourage you to sign up for his Ask Tim Grey Newsletter that is free. You receive a daily email on a single topic that covers Lightroom, Photoshop, or a camera technique. Tim is an excellent writer and always includes topics of interest to a wide range of photographers. He publishes a monthly e-magazine, Pixology, that requires an annual subscription. Last, is GreyLearning. He has produced a number of courses on Lightroom and photography techniques. I wish I had more time to watch more of them! They are all very informative and well done.