Photoinduced Holiday Gift Guide 5 : Bits and Bobs

You know when someone is into a particular hobby, profession, or basic interest, you struggle to find a gift for them figuring that they already have it, or are about to buy it for themselves?
Here’s a few items to fill out your list for the photog on your list. It may just show that you care about their passion. So would a Nikon D4s with a sweet 70-200mm 2.8 lens, but these are more within the range of possibility.

Want a little ink to declare your passion? But maybe not forever? How about a set of the photo-centric, temporary tats?
Tattly Photo Tattoos $15, including shipping.

Yes, we still need a good place to keep the pens, sharpies, styluses (styli?), etc. camera vase. Shaped like a camera,it’s also waterproof if you want to put some short flowered in there. Silvertone resin construction. Rectangular vase measures 5 7/8″ W x 3 7/8″ H x 3 1/2″ D. About $19.


Stay warm with the Film Is Better scarf, designed to look like a strip of film. Looks cool, and works. Cotton/acrylic scarf blend is machine wash, tumble dry. Measures 6″ x 66″. Made in the USA. $39.

Hang it on a tree, or just on the wall camera ornament we all need one of these. Have had mine for many years, and always comes out this time of year. Includes ribbon for hanging. $19, if still avail, but hurry.
If it’s not your style, try one of these Camera Ornaments

Every photographer I know has one of these:

A lens mugs from their brand of choice. About $24. for your brand of choice with a few lens sizes available. Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L 12.5-Oz. Mug

Or you can be a bit more subtle with this cup for about $18.


Available at ICP, who is also a main “go-to” place for all photo goodies, plus an incredibly knowledgeable staff on photo books. Seriously, if you want to know what’s new in the world of photography books, the staff here will steer you to to the legit books.

Just a few things to fill out the gifts this year.

Oh,there is more coming!
Late entries are being looked at and tested as we speak. Don’t want to recco just any old thing.

Photoinduced Holiday Gift Guide Part 4 : It’s All In Your Hands – Phone Photography

Hope you had some Black Friday luck in shopping, and are ready for Cyber Monday!Some sweet deal out there, but the current models of things are a bit elusive in those sales. Oh well.
Now for the current Gift Guide:

We’ve moved past the question about point and shoot cameras V smartphones.
Game over.
So as the phone in your hands is the primary snapshot tool, you have to do what you can to bridge the gap from high end compact cameras and the phone.
Don’t want to take anything away from the fine entries from Sony like the RX100II, the Nikon A, or Canon’s latest G-series.
But the iPhone is sweet (like the HTC, LG, Samsung, Huawei). And the video functions are fun. And I can share directly to all social media with simplicity and no 3rd party interface site.
So lets look at some at some cool items to help make your iPhonography gift list, more complete.

Lets start with the cases.

Speck has been protecting my laptop for years, so when the “Bendgate” furor began, they came up with a solution fast.
Bendgate is no worry with this solid case with grips,solid construction, and a slightly higher lip around the screen for those who have dropped their phones and picked it up to see a spider web of a screen. Not a screen cover, but the lip helps the screen be away from any flat surface. Sure, it’s bigger that the phone, and honestly other cases, but this one can be in the back pocket no problem. Plus the grips keep the phone in your hands.
I know, the sleekness of the new phone, get’s a little bulkier her, but the phone goes in my back pocket with no worries.
$33.for this insurance Speck CandyShell Grip Case

STM has produced our favorite iPad case and has come back with a new iPhone case.


Thin, strong and has a special bottom portion that allows you to stand up your phone and maintain a clean line to the case.There is a pliable joint that allows this, and you may ask how long could that last?
Knowing this companies solid product line, I’d say well into the life of your next phone in 2 years.
About $20.STM Harbour Case

Now let’s talk about lenses for enhancement.
Our favorite has been the Olloclip series, who makes real glass attachments for close-up, fish-eye, Wide Angle, and Telephoto images.
This latest version for the iPhone 6 takes into account the different placement of the lenses on the phone, front and back and they made a full snap on set that lets you use the rear facing camera and get your selfie on with a variety of lenses.
They sell it with a few different colored holders, and a neck strap to keep it with you.
On thing I haven’t tried so far, is the telephoto lens in this edition, but I’m sure that’s coming. Maybe in my stocking, or winning in a dreidel spin off.

Small note: Magnetic lenses are not what you want to put on your phone.

A new entry is Ztylus: a case series with a unique add-on of a lens system that you can take on and off, making the case, just a case. I like the glass, and it also added a filter, a circular polarizer to the sequence.
So, when you have the straight up case, it’s nice and slim, with a kickstand to stand-up the phone. Then add the circular lens system easily, and you have some solid lens additions. Smart call on the polarizer as well.
There is a screw to keep the bottom of the case on, and just keep track of that. It does, allow sliding of the phone in and out of the case an easy operation. Check out the site for a full look at this,Ztylus
This gifting is for a special person as it’s about $85 for ZTYLUS SMARTPHONE CASE WITH KICKSTAND & RV-2 REVOLVER 4-IN-1 LENS ATTACHMENT

You need a “selfie stick” or whatever you’d like to call it. Walking around in the NYC holiday streets, I’ve seen the basics: extending stick with a gripper at one end, depending on a timer to take the shot. Yes,phones and camera will do it.
Polaroid has come up with a perfect alternative, so you can control it all, at up 40″ away with this unit.
Well made, and it alos has a 1/4-20 so you can screw in whatever you want, and use the stick in a non remote way.


For $40, you’ll want to get this in time for the holidays. I meant as a gift for that special person who loves to do selfies. A solid advancement for camera control with the Polaroid 40″ ‘Selfie Stick’W/Bluetooth Remote Release

We all have our favorite photo apps at this point, and we’ll see more coming.
An old favorite was Hipstamatic. While cleaning up the phone, and getting rid of apps I never use (like year-end cleaning of the closets, digital style) I came up that app.
But lo and behold they added a new filter that is outstanding: TinType.
Use pictures from your camera roll, or import to your phone.
Like this one:
FullSizeRender-3 Mick Fleetwood © Damon Webster 2014 all rights reserved
While shooting a Stevie Nicks photo exhibit, the party brought a lot of her friends to the Morrison Hotel Gallery.
When Mick Fleetwood came in, I was able to get some portraits on the fly.

Here is the color version:

Mick Fleetwood © Damon Webster 2014 all rights reserved

For $1.00, you’ve got to try this out.

And don’t forget about this iPhone case/ with a GoPro mount:
From the same company as the PolarPro, The ProView.
Take your smartphone and use it as the monitor and control central for the GoPro in a case or frame. It’s a 2 piece case, with the top having a standard GoPro mounting.
And they include a regular top when you’re not filming. Simple design, works like a charm.One note though, the iPhone 6 size is coming soon. VERY soon.
Only about $30 for the PolarPro GoPro Phone Mount

We’ve got a couple of more guides to help you in your seasonal shopping, with the big camera notes, coming shortly.
And there are some bits and bobs we haven’t touched on, that we’ll list up for you.

Black Friday Photo Gear Links 2014

Before we continue on our gift guide, there are some items you are already looking into, and there ares some deals you may want to take advantage of tomorrow.
Of course there will be Cyber Monday!
Some of the places with special Black Friday links all listed:
SAVE $2300 at BH on this Hasselblad!

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 8.08.15 AM

First up is the photogs happiest place on earth! B&H

Needs some media cards? Always. SanDisk at Amazon :Sandisk Media Cards
Lexar your jam? Try this link

From ThinkTank:
25% off our fave photog messenger bag-
CityWalker Series

And, when you buy a Think Tank Photo rolling camera bag you are eligible to receive their new “Road Warrior Kit,” a $44.98 value, for free! The kit consists of ten Red Whips cable ties, a Cable Management 10 pouch, an AA Battery Holder (holds up to eight AA batteries), and a Small Travel Pouch.

Love our Olloclip phone lenses and now there is a sweet deal on them.

Maybe you need some big hardware? Try my favorite places OWC, and MacMall
And Adorama has some sweet deals as well.

And even Adobe is adding something extra to your purchase of Creative Cloud subscriptions

What am I buying? media cards, since so many things are using micro-sd now, hard drives, enclosures to put full hard drives in for storage, possible laptop. And gifts for a tight group.
Cyber Monday will slide the cc again, no doubt.

Photoinduced Holiday Gift Guide Part 3: The Beauty of the PhotoBook!

The list of items you can wrap now moves into a more classical vein. A book!
You may learn from them, be inspired, be moved, motivated, or just enjoy the images that you share without being logged on.
I’m a voracious collector of books, and have just one pet peeve: when images are split between 2 pages and the image ends up cut in the “gutter” or center of the book. My feeling is either make the image smaller or the book bigger.
Most of these books pass that criteria, but there will be image exceptions.


For the photographer on your list who could use a jump start in the personal assignment area. If you have a series you are shooting, you focus your attention in that area in your world The Photographer’s Playbook: 307 Assignments and Ideas It will lay out, in one page suggestions, ideas from photographers & educators to get you on a path.
This is one of my fave books this year,for 20 bucks

One of the treasures in the world of photography is Douglas Kirkland. An iconic photographer, a teachers, and probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. His retrospective covers a 50 year career, that shows no sign of slowing down. This book will be enjoyed by a huge range of your gift list and it is a great collection by a lighting master. As affable as he is, this book should be in your collection as well.About $93. A Life in Pictures: The Douglas Kirkland Monograph


The wanderlust of the photographic mind is captured in the collection called The Open Road. you may have seen the mages before, or have them in monographs from other photographers, but the spirit of this books makes it special as the turning of the pages, could put you in the mindset of the freedom of the journey. It did for me.
The book features David Campany’s introduction to the genre and 18 chapters presented chronologically, each exploring one American road trip in depth through a portfolio of images and informative texts. This volume highlights some of the most important bodies of work made on the road, from The Americans to the present day.
For about $43, you can get that roadtrip feeling from your couch The Open Road


You know Chuck Close as one of the best portrait artists living today. This collection of his work as a photographer, claiming to be the first comprehensive look at his decades with photography, will cross over on your gift list for those who love modern art AND strictly photography. A great introduction to his body of work, and only about $45.Chuck Close: Photographer

Chuck Close: A Couple of Ways of Doing Something
While we’re here in the Chuck Close vibe, treat yourself, or someone you know to this book.
Originally published as a 75 copy run with original daguerreotypes, this book is printed in rich tritone, and contain portraits of contemporary artists on one page, and poetry on the facing page.
Simply, a beautifully produced photography book. Only $41.

When color photography was in it’s infancy, Robert Capa was given some of the first emulsions to experiment with. As one of the 4 founders of Magnum Photo Agency, and a world renown photojournalist, he was able to put a hint of different reality, to contrast the primarily B&W reportage style. Withe advent of the color push of Life magazine, he felt the need to explore.


At an exhibit earlier this year at ICP, this collection will give a unique perspective in the history of photography. Many of the images have not been widely seen.
$41 for Capa in Color4 Capa in Color


I always want to recco books that warrant more than one viewing. Duane Michals has just come out with 2 new books, and if you are not familiar with him, it’s time.
ABCDuane: A Duane Michals Primer is a sweet introduction to this storytelling photographer. His early work was famous for the handwritten captions and the internal dialogue, as he eschewed the fine art photo formats of the time.
I have already gone back to this book multiple times, as I work my way through the alphabet, and a ready for another round.
There is an almost light touch to his work, while delving deep into a common psyche.
$30 will get you this unique artists scrapbook style themed look at the influences in his life and the photos that have resulted.ABCDuane: A Duane Michals Primer


Maurizio Cattelan is one of the coolest image makers today. He has teamed up with Pierpaolo Ferrari to create a random publication called Toilet Paper: Issue 9, and it publishes on no particular time frame, containing no text, only full spreads of color photographs that appropriate the slick production values of commercial photography to deliver dreamlike (or nightmarish) images.
Admittedly not for everyone, some images are NSFW, still it’s a magazine with no words. Only images.
There was a collection put out in 2012, but you can have a look for about $12.
This is one give for your more forward thinking friends.

OK, this is one book that should be in everybodys library.


I can tell you that this book, made my 8 year old self want to be a photographer.
The human condition is illustrated by over 250 photographers, and to this day, is the most well attended photographic exhibition in history.

Hailed as the most successful exhibition of photography ever assembled, “The Family of Man” opened at The Museum of Modern Art in January 1955. This book, the permanent embodiment of Steichen’s monumental exhibition, reproduces all of the 503 images that Steichen described as “a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world. Photographs made in all parts of the world, of the gamut of life from birth to death.” This is a classic and inspiring work, in print for more than fifty years.

“Symbolizes the universality of human emotions,” The New York Times. The book, in which all of the photographs from the exhibition are reproduced, was first produced by a magazine publisher and sold in hundreds of thousands on newsstands and in airport shops. In more recent years, the book has been published by the Museum. The present Thirtieth Anniversary Edition was prepared from original photographs with all new duotone plates in 1986.

Pick it up from MOMA for only $20

And if you want some extra special gifts, like signed books or original prints, contact our friends at ICP or Aperture and they will hook you up.
Personally, I have picked up 2 WeeGee prints from ICP, as they have the control over the original negs.

Since moving to NYC, my book shelf space has dwindled. Each book purchase is carefully considered. I hope this list helps you make some thoughtful purchase as gifts or for yourself.

Next up Photoinduced Holiday Gift Guide Part #4!

Photoinduced Holiday Gift Guide Part 2: The Extras They Need

Let’s continue on with some more gifting ideas, taken from our real world usage of this gear.
We can call them accessories, but these are some needed items for the photographer.
Hmmmm….. difference between need and want? Not for me to say.

Let’s start with gifting the portrait shooters using speedlights and recco of a couple of cool Lighting Modifiers:

These 2 items from a small company in Eastern Europe have been a well kept secret. We reviewed the RoundFlash™ Ring version here a while back with some other ring flash options. A right price for a product that does exactly what it says it will: soft dewey light, in a ringlight, using your speedlight. Only $113 for the RoundFlash Ring Flash Diffuser

Then they intro’d the folding RoundFlash™ Dish. I took it to a very crowded event in NYC, Comic Con, held my breath and took it for a spin in the crowd.
Wow! Not only does it create great light, but I was able to manage the rig as a one man band. Honestly, the pop-out of the dish was not as seamless as the design for the ring flash , and at one point I had to reach into the back of the unit and get it set-up. No matter, it works and it a great item for your kit or your giftees kit.
For $75, you can’t go wrong with the RoundFlash Beauty Dish Collapsible Softbox

Last year, we saw the Lexar Workflow Tower and after a year of use in the field, still thrilled with it’s performance. When you shoot a lot ( weddings?rock) and need to offload cards fast, this is your unit. The Tower is just the start as you do have to add separate modules to read the cards. This USB 3.0 unit has saved me from staying up all night downloading cards after a heavy night of shooting bands. Simultaneous download to the drive, or concurrent to Lightroom. Customize this gift with appropriate modules for the shooter: SD, CF or even XQD (a good format but is anyone using it?) And they just came out with a 3 slot MicroSd version.
Only $55 for the tower and modules go from $22. per unit.Lexar Workflow HR1 Four-Bay USB 3.0 Reader

Want to be ready for the shot when it happens? Your favorite photographer will enjoy this comfortable hand strap to keep their DSLR right where it needs to be: In their hands. After a solid year of use, we are big fans. have tried a bunch of them. The heavy-duty Velcro strap allows you to instantly tighten or loosen your hand against your camera’s body, making holding heavy cameras and lenses a pleasure to use. Attached to the base of your camera using an Arca-Swiss style plate that also offers a standard ¼” x 20 threaded hole, you can either clamp your camera directly to a tripod, or attach any number of popular quick release plates to the base such as Manfrotto. Placing your camera on your tripod is simple and easy to do, allowing for instantaneous movement from hand-held to tripod shooting in a snap. The ability to use the Cotton Carrier Hand Strap with all DSLR’s and with virtually any tripod on the market will quickly make this accessory a solid choice for novice and professional photographers alike. Only $20 for the Cotton Carrier Hand Strap – with Arca Swiss-compatible mini-plate

Airport International (1)
If you need to the biggest smile ever in the person you are gifting, the easiest way would be to wrap up one of the ThinkTank Airport Series Camera Bags. After 4 years around the world a few times, the Airport International has served me well. Fits in the overhead perfect, easy to customize the inserts, built incredibly well. All of the bags in this company’s line are the best we’ve used. Period. designed by professional photographers who know exactly what you need. I’m calling out the Airport as it’s the keynote in my system, but the entire line will make for a happy experience at gift giving time. Or just get one or more for yourself.
The ThinkTank Airport International is about $390, but you’ll use it forever. I mean, THEY will!

Oh, and a perfect, low cost gift from the same company is the ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rockets. Everyone can use these, and with a variety of configurations, you’ll find the right rig on their site. From $17-$23.
And check out this new version of the Pixel Pocket Rocket


If you own a smartphone, you need extra power. Period.
We have gone through a TON of battery cases, tubes, squares, rectangles, in real world circumstances. mainly loooong shoot days on location, where plugging in is not an option, or ,if it is, convenient. More companies are coming out with battery blocks, claiming 10,000 Mah, selling for about $90.
Forget that noise!
The best battery block we’ve been using is the PNY ID10400 PowerPack

*STAY CHARGED: Provides up to 6 charges for your mobile device when you need it most!
*Works with Apple iPhone/iPad, Samsung Galaxy/Galaxy Tab/Galaxy Note, Nexus, HTC One, Motorola Moto, LG, BlackBerry, and other Smartphones and Tablets
*Intelligent Digital Display reveals the precise mAh capacity remaining as well as the detailed battery percentage
*Dual Universal USB ports with 1 amp & 2.4 amp outputs charge 2 devices simultaneously
*Micro-USB cable included for charging devices and the PowerPack
*Best in the market 3- Year Warranty, and 24/7 Free Technical Support
An the price? Under $50! For the PNY ID10400 PowerPack

Who uses aerosol air cans anymore? No one, really. Give the gift of safe air and help you favorite photographer keep dust and hairs off of their gear.
No, it’s not the final word in lens care, but it is a powerful burst of air, powered by hand. And it has a cool shape. every photographer needs one.
You are getting away easy on this. Under $9.00 for the Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

And for the full size tablet, and mini tablet folks who use their gear for everything, have a look at the Padcaster!
Just reviewed here, we find that it is a versatile piece of equipment, that can be used for a variety of needs.
You may have seen it in the Apple iPad commercial, show around the world, showing how people use the Apple tablets.

Shown here with a bunch of the optional accessories, have a read on the Photoinduced review for more info

There is more coming with the next Photoinduced Holiday Gift Guide 2014 Part 3!