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!

Photoinduced Holiday Gift Guide 2014 Part 1: GoPro or GoHome

Ahhh yes, it’s that time of year again!
Gifting for others, self gifting, deals aplenty, and the economy moves forward.
But how to discern the right goodie to get?
We’ve been looking at a ton of good through the year and will let you know what we feel is worth your time, and wrapping expertise.
Today starts the posting of the Photoinduced Holiday Gift Guide with Part #1, and in a shift from all photography, this time we’ll start with GoPro products. This is one piece of gear that should be in your kit, and the accessories that are available should make the recipient a creative wonder. Or delight them as they open the package.

First up this year is one of the best tools we’ve seen in awhile: the 3 Axis stabilizer from DSLR Pros. Using a GoPro 3 or above, this trick bit of cool gear makes handling a tiny camera, making pro smooth moves an easy task.

About $350.

Next up is a sweet GoPro stabilizer that uses you as the operator. NO Batteries. The Steadicam Curve is a great entry level stabilizer, that does take some practice, and uses weights to make a proper balance. What w like about this is that when the handle is locked in place, you have a great handheld grip for your GoPro. Another advantage here is that you can use any of the GoPro series of cameras with any combo of cases, LCD screens, Batteries, Etc., just make sure you follow the extensive guide and balance right.
The Steadicam CURVE sells for about $100

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries: You need em, and maybe don’t need to stop shooting and change out the batts.
The PolarPro PowerPole is the world’s first battery integrated extension pole for the GoPro. Built into the pole is 5200mAh (the equivalent of 4.5 GoPro batteries) allowing you to film for up to 10 hours. This pole is constructed out of 100% aluminum from the tip to the base giving it unsurpassed durability. In addition to it’s strength it is also very lightweight weighing in at only 13 ounces.The tip of the PowerPole contains two full size USB ports for charging multiple devices at a time. Splash resistant bands cover all exposed areas protecting the GoPro pole from moisture. The pole is however not waterproof and is intended for above water adventures. To charge the Gopro while filming you will need to be using the frame, or skeleton housing. The pole is compatible with the standard housing however you will not be able to plug in the charge cable with this housing. Love this Thing!!
The PolarPro PowerPole sells for about $130 @ Amazon

From the same company as the PolarPro is this sweet phone case, 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.
Only about $30 for the PolarPro GoPro Phone Mount

And to store your GoPro and any accessories, we like the Fotodiox GoTough Cam Case for a single cam or the double for 2. Cut foam to fit it all right, and a mesh top lid for the stashing the hardware.
(items pictured inside the case are NOT included!)
Can’t pass this Fotodiox Single GoTough CamCase for about $10.

Back to batteries for a second. Not the sexiest of gifts, so maybe it’s a stocking stuffer. Everyone needs extra batteries. For everything. Just the way it is.
Sure you may want to make the original camera manufactures batteries, and we applaud you. However, we like to save some dough, and have used Wasabi batteries for awhile now. To make things easier to figure out, always use the Brother label maker to put the name of each units specific battery charger so there’s no confusion. Trust us, with a bunch of cameras needing batteries, there are some similar shaped chargers. But you knew that, and I’m sure already are on the label system.
For about $23, you can stuff the stocking. Or gift for one of the nights.Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Dual Charger for GoPro HERO4

OK, Now for the gift that will make any shooter smile: The latest in the line of GoPro’s, The Hero 4


2x the Performance:
With improved image quality, a 2x more powerful processor and 2x faster video frame rates, HERO4 Black is the most advanced GoPro ever. With professional Video up to 4K30 – records ultra high-resolution, high frame rate 4K30, 2.7K50, and 1080p120 video.
Fast, Powerful Photo Capture: Captures high-quality 12MP photos at speeds of up to 30 fps.
Built-In WiFi + Bluetooth: Delivers enhanced connectivity to the GoPro App, Smart Remote
Durable + Waterproof to 131′ (40m): Designed to withstand extreme environments and conditions. Wearable + Mountable: Enables immersive self-capture during your favorite activities. Compatible with all GoPro Mounts: 60+ mounts and accessories – and counting – for capturing a wide variety of perspective and activities. GoPro App + Software: Control your camera remotely. View and share your content. Easily create gorgeous GoPro-style videos.
Protune – Now for Video + Photos: Cinema-quality capture and manual control of color, ISO limit, exposure and more. Night Photo Lapse: Customizable exposure settings up to 30 seconds for single and Time Lapse photos. Auto Low Light: Automatically adjusts frame rates for optimal low-light performance. High-Performance Audio: New Audio System captures clean, high fidelity sound and nearly 2x the dynamic range. Ultra Wide-Angle Glass Lens: Enables engaging, immersive footage of you and your world. Selecable FOV: Three FOV settings – Ultra-Wide, Medium and Narrow – allow for a broad range of perspectives. HiLight Tag: Mark key moments while recording for easy playback, editing, and sharing. QuikCapture: Power on and record automatically with the press of a single button. SuperView: Captures the world’s most immersive wide-angle field of view.
GoPro HERO4 sells for about $499.

That is the top of the line, but if you’re not sure if the person you are gifting is really into all of this, limit the investment and still have a solid gift. Introduce the lucky recipient into the world of GoPro with the new entry level unit, the GoPro Hero.
You don’t need to do extreme sports to enjoy the camera.
I’ve worn it to parades, and capture the crowd and the festivities. Even if you just want to make a time-lapse from your window, his is a great camera that is easy to carry, easy to use.
Stunning Video Quality: Record gorgeous 1080p30 and 720p60 video., Diverse Photo Capture: Capture 5PM single, Time Lapse and Burst photos up to 5 fps.
Built-in Microphone: Record audio with the built-in microphoneDurable + Waterproof to 131-Feet (40m): Designed to withstand extreme environments and conditions
Compatible with all GoPro Mounts: 60+ mounts and accessories. GoPro Software: View and share your content.
External Memory: Supports microSD cards up to 32GB (class 10 or UHS-1 required) Sold Separately.
Now this unit does not use a replaceable battery, so one less thing to buy.
Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Dual Charger for GoPro HERO4

More holiday gift ideas to come!

Fotodiox Flapjacks : Tasty Name for a Sweet LED Lighting Solution

Have you tried them all? The explosion of LED lighting solutions in the past years have yielded some great choices for the videographer or still photog needing continuous light.
The Studio options are getting cheaper, but are they getting better?
After year of using the square or rectangular, which are still viable, I’ve found that the circular options give the best catchlights.
You know what they are, right? That reflection in the eye which give that spark of life in a portrait. Also, it’s a good lesson in how a shot is lit.
The Fotodiox Flapjack has taken a huge cue from the industry’s needs and produced a well made, set of LED lights with the star for me being the Pro Flapjack being the star for me. Specifically the Pro FlapJack LED 300R 10″ round

The Flapjack Pro does come in a storage and transport case with everything you need: battery, charger, extension cord, even a car charger.


By using an edge array of LED lights the white main panel gives a smooth, even light. All of my previous and current LED light require a layer of diffusion to take the harshness of. Here it’s all done, and done right.

This last item speaks to the portability. I have taken the unit in a backpack, throw in a Nano light stand or 2, add in a reflector and I’m interview ready with beautiful light.


That’s the main deal: with a good, diffused light, your subjects get a gentler touch.

The power output is adjustable, with a twist know to get you the exact output you need or want,from 10%-100%, as a key or a fill.
Battery life is about 1- 1.25 hours at Full output,4.5 at 50% so take extra batts, and the power cord if you need. Check out the Wasabi Batteriesline-up on Amazon. Actually use this company for a lot of battery needs.

Here are some of the specs on the unit. Good, strong, yet relatively light weight.


If I’m in an environment where there is an outlet, I’ll take advantage of it.

And for fast product shots, this Flapjack now lives on a light stand, when not in the bag. The unique slant to the yoke, gives an immediate head start to the top lit shots and lets it reach in just a little bit more.


For $400, you get a well made, solid, great looking, versatile, lighting solution.
Solid recco for a BUY!

And when I’ve coupled it with the some some of the other LED lights they make (like the ringlight I can’t find anymore in the catalog) I’ve got another version for a lightweight portrait studio, with a sweet look.

Fotodiox has been around for awhile, and has been supplying affordable solutions for the photographer/videographer. My kit bag has a bunch of their products an I’ve never been disappointed, plus saved I’ve saved some good dough.

By the way, if you are a GoPro owner, check out their line of accessories, not the least of which is a fantastic case.

Padcaster : An iPad studio tool AND a DSLR Camera Cage

There are times when the gear you need, is cloaked in another format, used for something completely different.
After purchasing the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera recently, the small size is amazing for the media quality you can generate.
There are some drawbacks: you need an external sound recorder, and the small size means you need some way to stabilize the camera. A cage would take care of a lot of needs.The search was on for a solution.


Enter the Padcaster.
Originally designed to act as a tablet frame for shooting video, ( see the home page) this has solved a bunch of problems for my video shooting.
A frame that has a series of 1/4-20 , and 3/8″ holes, along with a centered base, that allow you to use the aluminum frame as cage for your DSLR or 4/3 camera. Add on a mic, light, Zoom recorder, plus combine it with a quick release video mount, and go from handheld to tripod easily.

This company has created 2 frame sizes, iPad and iPad mini. One is best for DSLR’s and the other for a 4/3rd camera as a cage.

OK, they are truly meant to use the polyurethane insert (very strong) insert your tablet, and then you can purchase their padcasting package with lens, mic, and mic adapter, plus all of the mounting hardware, and shoot edit on the fly and upload your newsbreaking story. Or kids recital.
On the site , they give you a list of all of the accessories available.

How was it in the real world?
Took it out to Rockefeller Center today, and gave it a whirl.

First of all, the full size frame with iPad Air and lens installed, fit perfect in my Think Tank CityWalker
Very important, as the rig could’ve been unwieldy.

Felt firm and steady in the hands as the extra weight gave the vid a bit of smoothness. Almost like a FigRig
The hand movements to operate all were in a good place, even with the added frame dimensions.

A bit of fringing on the lens, so I’d use another from the bag, but easy enough to swap.They give you step rings, so more made for the add on type lenses. If you want to use your real glass, there must be an adapter that’ll hook you up.

On the mic, you can swap out for a wireless lav receiver mounted on the cold shoe, your favorite Rode, or just go for a Zoom. Lot’s of stuff on the cage, so gauge your comfort level. def go for the JAM guitar inout for iPad as that’ll get your audio in easily.

My preference is a Mini cage with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema, Litepanel mini, Rode Mic ( may switch it up to a juiced link pre-amp) and a Manfrotto quick release base.

I will tell you that they are making a new tripod mount screw for the Mini. Just a hair too long, right now. I used some furniture foam discs to make the size slack, and my rig works, and it is solid.

This goes in my bag right now.
I’m not an iPadcaster but, I can see how this rig will make things easier for you if you are, especially by editing on the tablet after your shoot, and uploading fast.

Like I said, I had a need, and this rig fit it perfectly and at the right price.
The size,the versatility, the overall build quality makes this a solid buy.
Could be just right for you,too.

Check em out on padcaster on amazon
If you’re looking to get the basic rig, it’s about $100 for the mini and $160 or the fullsize.

Stevie Nicks : 24k Gold At the Morrison Hotel Gallery

24 Karat Gold
Stevie Nicks/Morrison Hotel Gallery

“For every love affair, there are pictures” Stevie Nicks

What do rock goddesses do when they leave the stage? Take Polaroids, it seems.

Stevie Nicks may be on tour now, but her photography is stationary on display at the Morrison Hotel Gallery at 116 Prince Street for the month of October

When viral meant sickness, and the interwebs were far off, Stevie Nicks was exploring photography, while on the road with the biggest rock band in the world at the time, between 1975 and 1987.

This was the time when private photos were private, no negs could be found, no digital images hacked. One image was the original, and the only way you would see it, was if the owner wanted you to.

In this new exhibit, you see some amazingly high res scans of Polaroids made by Stevie Nicks, blown up to massive dimensions. Nash Editions took care of the printing.
Self portraits, sure, and the known persona of the artist gets presented and stretched here. The images illustrate a creative mind that after giving a performance to thousand, comes back to a hotel room and continues to create in a different medium.

Photography can be a solitary endeavor, and perhaps after the intensity of the group/audience dynamic, the relative quiet of a singular exploration gave her a different release. The immediacy and singularity of the Polaroid image, that one of a kind imagery with instant gratification, appear here as a testament to the always on, visual mind.
The fact that she kept shoe boxes full of these images, underscores her connection and feeling of importance of these photographs.

Honestly, though: how many photographers out there have thrown away images?

Whenever I see a series of self portraits, I look for a revelation, a glimpse into the truth of the subject. We can all find our most flattering angle, Ms. Nicks has many, but what have you told me different?
Along with photographs depicting an almost monochromatic zen to the series, there are 3 images in particular, that show the subject at her most stripped down, vulnerable self. You’ll have to see them yourselves at the gallery.
Make no mistake, this is not a metaphor for any lack of strength.

This is why this exhibit is important for her fans, and as a photographic glimpse of a time period.
You get the artist after what could be big performance or event, creating new stories, plus the sprinkle of a different reality. Unfettered, simple, self portraits. These images give you an insight you may never see.


As the show opened, Mick Fleetwood, joined her as she walked from photo to photo, describing private notes to him as his tall frame bent down to her voice, almost on her toes. It was a very sweet scene.

The Dealer
Stevie Nicks/Morrison Hotel Gallery



I wanted to learn how to become a photographer and since I don’t sleep at night, I started thinking, who am I going to ask to stay up all night and then do a show the next night? I’m not going to get Christine (McVie) to be my model. She’s going to say, ‘Are you crazy? I’m going to the bar. Bye.’ Then I thought, well, why not use a plant and I moved on from there.

The Key

Continue Reading »


Upcoming Events

  • CES 2015
  • Jan. 6th – 9th, 2015
  • LVCC
  • Las Vegas

Is there an event we should know about?
Let us know on twitter.

Current Exhibitions

  • Annenberg Space For Photography
  • “Inside Tracks: Behind the lens on the assignment of a lifetime”
  • Through February 1, 2015
  • 2000 Avenue of the Stars, #10
  • Century City, CA. 90067
  • Tel: 213.403.3000
  • ICP
  • Sebastio Selgado – Genesis
  • Sept.15, 2014-Jan 15th,2015
  • 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street
  • New York, NY 10036
  • Phone: 212.857.0000
  • Getty Center
  • In Focus:Tokyo
  • Through Dec.14, 2014
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Yossi Milo Gallery
  • Lorenzo Vitturi: Dalston: Anatomy
  • Nov.6 – Dec. 15th, 2014
  • 245 Tenth Avenue
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel: 212-414-0370
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • Vivian Maier: In Her Own Hands
  • Through Dec. 6th, 2014
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • Staley-Wise Gallery
  • Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture
  • Nov.14, 2014 -Jan 10th, 2015
  • 560 Broadway
  • New York,NY
  • 10012
  • Phone: 1-212-966-6223
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Nicholas Nixon: Forty Years of the Brown Sisters
  • Nov. 22nd, 2014 – Jan.4th, 2015
  • 11 West 53rd Street
  • NYC,NY
  • 10019-5497
  • (212) 708-9400
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Thomas Struth: Photographs
  • Through February 16, 2015
  • 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
  • New York, NY 10028
  • Phone: 212-535-7710

Is there an exhibition we’re missing? Let us know on twitter.

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