Holiday Wish Lists and Recommendations from Great Photographers

December 10th, 2012 by Chris Klapheke


This time of year, all photographers have a wish list for the holidays.  From worldwide famous shooters, to our wonderful vendors, to our local pals, we bring you great photographers’ picks for this Holiday Season.  You’re sure to get some great gift ideas here!

Thanks to all of our participating photographers, and here we go…






Chris Dodds

Hailing from Canada, Chris Dodds is an inaugural member of the elite Canon Northern Explorer of Light and X-Rite Coloratti initiatives. He is a full-time freelance nature and wildlife photographer, nature photography workshop & safari leader/instructor, photography educator, blogger, and lecturer.  Check out Chris’ popular blog at , his workshops at and his stunning portfolio at

  1. Cotton Carrier System for Two Cameras.  This has got to be one of the most useful photo accessories that I own – and it’s a Canadian Company, eh!
  2. Jobu Jr. 3 Gimbal Head. I love mine so much, I bring it everywhere that I go! (and it’s made in Canada as well).
  3. X-Rite i1 Display Pro. Well, for all the money that so many spend on their photographic equipment and computers, this is to make sure they all see the world the way it is supposed to be seen; in a color managed environment where prints match the computer screen.
  4. LensAlign MkII Focus Calibration System. There are so many people that should invest a small amount to ensure RAZOR sharp images from all of their lens and camera combinations – this might still be my biggest secret to consistently creating tack sharp imagery.
  5. Eckla Multi Rolly Gear Cart. The one thing I would really like to have under my tree!







Alan Murphy

Alan Murphy is the premier songbird photographer in the nation, if not the world.  Author of several ebooks on songbirds, Alan’s images are stunning and masterful.  If you’re serious about bird photography, by all means attend one of Alan’s workshops.  Find out more about Alan at

  1. Apex Bean Bag. So many uses for getting that shot, either in the car or on foot.  The included plate makes a great mount for a gimbal head.
  2. LensCoat RainCoats. Great for shooting in snow this time of year!
  3. Kwik Camo Photography Blind. I have several of these poncho blinds and recommend them for every one of my workshop participants.  A must have for approaching birds in the field.
  4. Ameristep Doghouse Blind. The best portable, quick set up blind on the market.
  5. Think Tank Photo Airport Security. For us long lens shooters, you can’t beat this roller bag.  Well built, well thought out, and perfect for tough travel.







Juan Pons

A contributor to our blog, a great gear reveiwer, and a business sounding board, Juan runs The Digital Photo Experience podcast with Rick Sammon.  You can see his website at and learn about his workshops at

  1. Photographer’s Guide to Attracting Songbirds ebook by Alan Murphy. If you like shooting birds, there is no better way to learn or get better than Alan’s guide. I consider Alan to be the best bird photographer currently teaching, so this is a must for anyone who is serious about his or her bird photography.
  2. NEOS Adventurer Overshoes. As someone who spends a lot of time shooting outside, I have come to depend on my NEOS boots to keep my feet dry, clean and warm in all sorts of conditions, from the depths of winter in Yellowstone to the swamps in Florida.
  3. Color Munki Display Calibrator. What good are your pictures if the colors are not right? I rely on the Color Munki Display calibrator to make my images look their best on my monitor, and on print. An absolute must for any serious photographer.
  4. Kinesis Safari Sack Beanbag. When shooting wildlife there is no accessory that is more versatile than a bean bag and my choice is the Kinesis Safari Sack. Compact, easy to use and inexpensive, this is a no brainer.
  5. LensCoat Lens Covers. I like to protect and take care of my equipment, specially my lenses, and I can’t imagine not protecting my lenses with a Lens Coat lens cover. The prevent your lenses from dings and scratches and make them much more comfortable to hold and carry around.







Daniel Lenihan

Daniel leads  3Legged Thing, the British tripod company that’s about to take the US market by storm with award-winning tripod systems that you’ll just have to have.  Like most busy photo vendors, Daniel is passionate about photography, and of course, about his tripods.

  1. Think Tank Photo Airport Navigator. I’ve been a very good boy this year, and the Navigator is perfect for a photographer like me, always on the go.
  2. A Waterproof Case for my iPhone 5. It rains a lot here in England.
  3. The Sony NEX 7 with at least 10 lenses.  All of which are very pretty and very expensive.
  4. A print of Paul Harries’ iconic photo of Cory Taylor hugging Paul shortly before he died.
  5. This, because Chris stole my last one.






Bret Edge

Bret is a nature and adventure photographer based in Moab, Utah.  Bret’s images appear an all kinds of outdoor magazines.  Bret had a gallery and a thriving workshop business in Moab.  You can learn more about Bret at

  1. Benro MeFoto Tripod. Lightweight with a smooth strong ballhead.  Reasonably sturdy for the price.  I take this thing everywhere, even on my bike.
  2. Acratech  Ballheads. Simply the best ballheads for nature photographers on the go.  I really like the open ball feature as it never gets gummed up and never needs lubrication.
  3. Hot shoe bubble level. Always on my list.  Cheap, useful, and I lose them a lot.
  4. Ebooks. It’s never been so easy or so inexpensive to learn.  Perhaps one of the best ways to improve your photography and post-processing skills
  5. f-stop Gear Backpacks. Comfortable to wear and carry all day, modular design allows you to carry only the gear you need, well built and durable.






James Madelin

We first met James at Photokina in Germany. He’s a mad scientist inventor extraordinaire. James is an ex pro photographer who’s come up with the Orbis Ring Flash, the Frio Coldshoe, the ioShutter and more. He runs Enlight Photo Ltd, a company he founded to bring great photography gear to market. Find him on and

  1. iPhone 5.  Topping my list this year… although widely heralded as not being much of a step up from earlier models, the moment I held one I knew I HAVE to have one.
  2. ioShutter for SLR. I only launch gear that I absolutely love. ioShutter is the original SLR camera controller for your iPhone. If you’ve ever wanted to make great portraits, long exposures for star trails, city light trails and timelapses easy to shoot, ioShutter for your Canon or Nikon SLR is the way to go.
  3. Olloclip Lens System for iPhone.  I had a good play with one a few weeks ago and can’t stop thinking about it.
  4. Frio Coldshoe.  The world’s best way to fit your hotshoe flash to your tripod and lightstand. The only hotshoe adapter with DualLock™ security, it’s a cool little bit of blue in your camera bag.
  5. Some relaxing time with my family.  After recently moving from New Zealand to be closer to them in dark, grey England. Bring on the mulled wine!







Marc Gottula

Marc is head of sales for Black Rapid camera straps and has been an avid photographer for years.  Marc’s Black Rapid job takes him all over the world, visiting dealers and attending shows, and he always makes great use of his camera in his travels.


  1. Think Tank Photo’s Retrospective 5 Bag.  When I travel I stick to mirrorless cameras for their size.  This bag is perfect for those cameras.
  2. Giottos Microfiber Lens Pouches. These little pouches are great for all kinds of gear, and clean your lenses to boot!
  3. Olloclip Lenses for iPhone.  Incredible quality images from these little lenses.  I can’t wait for the iPhone 5 versions.
  4. OnOne Perfect Photo Suite. I use this software all the time.  Easy and powerful.
  5. Black Rapid Metro Strap.  Well, I had to get one of our products in!  I use the Metro for my mirrorless setup.  Perfect size and great price.









Jim Caldwell

Jim is the publisher of the popular and informative podcast The Fotobug.  The Fotobug covers all kinds of photography subjects with both audio and video podcasts.  You’ll catch Chris on The Fotobug from time to time, especially during the holiday season with gift ideas.

  1. Black Rapid Straps. I have two of these straps and they are the most comfortable and easy to use strap that I have ever worn.  Now that Black Rapid has come out with a Metro Strap for half the price I recommend grabbing one or maybe even two!
  2. Gura Gear Backpacks. These aren’t the cheapest bags out there, but they are one of the most durable and will last you for many Holiday seasons ahead!
  3. Trigger Trap Mobile. My friend, Haje Jan Kamps, came out with a really clever smart phone app (for IOS and Android) and is giving it away free until the first of the year!  All you need to buy is the “dongle” to connect the smartphone (or tablet) to your camera for $29.95.  The app will allow you to do HDR, time-lapse, trigger by motion, trigger by face recognition and a whole lot more – it even has a WiFi connection to allow more than one smartphone to be used!
  4. Storm Jacket.  Don’t put your camera away in bad weather. Put one of these on and go on out there to capture some awesome images!
  5. NEOS Overshoes. Yeah, I know this isn’t really a photography item, but since I tend to find myself trudging through mud, marsh and even slush and snow, you will appreciate the Neos overshoes to keep your feet warm and dry while you are chasing your elusive images!






John Adkins

John is our locally famous photographer and light wrangler.  If you want to learn speedlight techniques, John’s your man.  John has been a local supporter of OPG from the beginning and tests a lot of new lighting products for us.  Check out John’s website at


  1. Phottix VND Variable Neutral Density Filter. For those times when I want bright days to go black.
  2. Sirui Ball Heads. I want a new ball head that securely hold my camera and still give me full range of motions.  The Sirui heads are well made and priced right!
  3. ioShutter Release Cable for Nikon. Because I just can’t put my iPhone down!
  4. Nikon 24-70 f/2.8G ED AF-S.  Lots of initials, and my dream lens.  (link to Roberts)
  5. Nikon SB-910. Because you can never have too many flashes. (link to Roberts)







Theodore Stark

Residing in Denver Colorado, Ted is a Web Usability Engineer by day, and a serious photographer every other minute.  Ted contributes to our blog quite a bit, and always with a bit of humor!  You can view Ted’s website here.

Ted says:  According to my wife, Santa has already declared I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ this holiday season… Perhaps this may have to do with the leg lamp I gave her for our anniversary… I mean really… what wife wouldn’t want a leg lamp?

  1. Dual Axis Bubble Levels.  Why leave your horizons to chance? Get it right in the field and save yourself the brain damage for correcting it in post. I also tend to lose these so it is good to get a couple. Why have 1 when it feels so good to have 3 (or in my case… about 12).
  2. Better Beamer Flash Extender. To me, this one is a no brainer. Take your wildlife photography to the next level by adding fill flash. You will notice the difference and most animals will fixate when you use it. Good for pros and hobbyists.
  3. Book:  10 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People. For anyone who has enjoyed my UX for #togs series, or those of you who want to make your websites easier to use, this book is a must read. You will gain valuable insight to the cognitive science that drives behavior on a site. This can result in heightened ease of use as well as understanding how to compel your users to purchase.
  4. Induro PHQ1 5 Way Panhead.  This is my workhorse head. It is the best (non-gimbal) tripod head I have ever used. Tripods matter. Both the legs and the head.
  5. Outdoor Photo Gear Gift Certificates. If you are of the opinion that photographers are hard to shop for (and according to my wife, we are)… Give them the best gift of all. Let them shop for their very own.






Nick Roberts

Nick is a local photographer specializing in HDR and in his passion for fast machines.  Nick just finished a photo documentary on an Ohio River bridge project that is slated to become a local landmark.  You can see Nick’s work at

  1. AquaTech Field Jacket.  You can’t beat the price on these closeout jackets, and I really like the material.  Not to mention the many big pockets.
  2. ColorMunki Photo Color Management Solution. I can calibrate everything I have with this.  Monitor, printer and projector.  A must have.
  3. Kenko Extension Tube Set. I have always wanted a set of these.  I like to get closeup shots of car details, and these would work perfectly.
  4. Tenba Shootout Lens/Bottle Caddy.  Great for when I am on my bike.
  5. ALM MC Camlite for iPhone.  I love any accessory for my iPhone. The build of this one is amazing.



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