Holiday Wishlists From Our Favorite Photographers

December 3rd, 2010 by Matt Dennison

Editors' note:  We thought for this Holiday Season we'd poll our photographer friends to see what would be on their wish lists.  From our local pals to worldwide celebrity shooters, here are their picks.  We're sure you'll find some great ideas here!

Rick Sammon

Rick Sammon

Rick is a Canon Explorer of Light and probably the most famous guy we know, so we'll start off with him!  You can check out Rick's blog with a new address at

  1. Signed 19×20 inch print of Chris's Fire Mist Crane shot at Bosque
  2. "I Shoot RAW" t-shirt. XL.  Funny!
  3. PowerEX 8 Cell battery charger.  I need to keep charged at all times.
  4. Dust-Aid Sensor Cleaner  Keep clean.  Enough said.
  5. AquaTech Sensory Gloves  XL  Up here in New York, a necessity.

James Shadle

James Shadle

James is the Publisher of, an extensive resource site and lively forum for bird, nature and wildlife photographers.  When James isn't working on BPN, you'll find him leading workshops on his boat, the Hooptie Deaux.  You can check out James's site here.

  1. Lensbaby Composer for Nikon.  Makes me see in a different way.
  2. Datacolor LensCal.  You'd be surprised how many of your lenses need calibration.
  3. Think Tank Hydrophobia for 300-600mm Lenses.  The best raincover made!
  4. Nikon SD-9 High Performance Battery Pack.  Makes my flashes recharge much faster than I do!
  5. AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4 ED VR. The big gun.  Nothing else to say.


John Batdorff

John is a frequent contributor to our blog, and we run photo contests with him as well.  Splitting his time between Montana and Chicago, John is an active blogger and conducts workshops.  You can view his site here.

  1. Gura Gear Kiboko Bag.  I’m going to Africa in January and I need a big bag for the 400mm I’ll be renting.  Plus, I thought it would be a cheap way to bring my kid along as a carry on…;)
  2. Hoodman EyeCup.  I lost my last one and now my eye feels naked without my HoodEye.
  3. Nik Software HDR Efex Pro.  My trial version finally ran out so I guess if I don’t get it for X-mas I’ll be buying it.  I love this software.  If you’re into HDR this is the way to go.
  4. Hoodman Super HoodSkin screen protectors.  These are great stocking stuffers and one pack will last you a while.
  5. Any book by this wonderful author!  Wait, is that shameless self promotion?


Rob Knight

Rob is an Atlanta native and an award-winning tattoo artist by day.  Part of the DPE gang and OPG blog author, Rob is a certified Adobe instructor and conducts workshop as well.  You can check out Rob's site here.

  1. Benro Travel Angel.   I got one of these last spring and I love it. It is really light weight and it folds to 14'! A bigger heavier tripod is great unless you leave it at home because don't want to lug it around.
  2. Nik Software HDR Efex Pro.  The new HDR software from NIK is my go-to software for creating realistic HDR images without having to jump from one plug-in to the other.
  3. Think Tank Retrospective 20.   This bag holds a pro size DSLR with a 70-200 f/2.8 lens attached AND two other lenses. There are plenty of other pockets for accessories and even a second camera body. This is my "daily driver" camera bag.
  4. X-Rite Color Checker Passport.  If you're not calibrating your camera with a tool like this, you should be. The included software makes the Color Checker Passport easy to add to your workflow.
  5. Better Beamer Flash Extender.  If you shoot wildlife you've probably heard this before. I don't know another tool under $40 that will improve your photos as much as a Better Beamer.

Jim Caldwell

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 can also view Jim's Specialty Media site here.

Ok Santa, get ready – I think I've been a good boy this year and although the coal I received last year was thoughtful, perhaps this year I deserve something a bit more practical!

Well, I love my photo vest, but it can be hot and in many instances I found it to be impractical.  So this year, I would really like a Think Tank Steroid Speed Belt.  In addition, I really want to be comfortable, so how about throwing in the Think Tank Pixel Racing Harness as well to distribute the weight nice and even.  Finally, the belt does me little good without the pouches to carry all my cra… er, I mean my photo equipment – so how about the Large Lens Drop In, the Multimedia Wired Up 20 for my DSLR, the Multimedia Mic Drop In for my podcast microphone and recorder, and why not the Speed Demon Beltpack as well?

Finally, I while working on a recent PBS TV show in the Everglades, I really fell in love with the little GoPro Hero HD Camera.  This clever little camera is a full HD video camera, 5 Megapixel still camera, comes with an underwater case that is good to 180' underwater and is so small, it can be mounted anywhere!  The base unit with case, mounts, battery and cables is only $259!  The entire camera is smaller that a business card and should easily drop into one of those Think Tank pockets!

Thanks and enjoy the milk and cookies!

Mike Moats

Mike Moats

Mike is a familiar face around Outdoor Photo Gear, and he contributes to our blog and comes town for presentations and his Macro Boot Camp workshops.  Mike also has several ebooks in our store. Check out Mike's beautiful macro images here, and read his blog here.  Mike has also started a great new Macro Forum!

  1. Gitzo Fleece Photo Jacket for the cold winters up here in Michigan.
  2. Strobies Remote Trigger, as I've always used my cameras self timer and on occasion the remote would come in handy.
  3. Genus ND (Neutral Density) Fader Filter for those longer shutter speeds for that silky look on waterfalls.
  4. A new Hoodman HoodLoupe 3.0 for the larger LCD on my new Nikon 7000.
  5. Upgrade to a AquaTech SS-Zoom Sports Shield rain cover, as I now use extra large ziplock storage bag!.
Missy Brown

Missy Brown
Missy is a local wedding and event photographer and organizes the Louisville chapter of SmugMug.  Thanks to Missy, we have some great monthly meetings with speakers from around the country.  You can view Missy's website here.
  1. A Nikon D700 with Dual Card Slots (I know they don't make one but I still want one!).
  2. Kenko Extension Tubes.
  3. Expo Disc Professional Digital White Balance Filters in Portrait for all my lenses (AND the discipline to use them).
  4. X-Rite ColorMunki Photo Color Management Solution.  (Please, Santa, please!)
  5. Lensbaby Composer for Nikon.

David A. Fisher

David was the Brand Manager for Gitzo tripods for the past few years, and just moved Panasonic to be the Product Manager for Panasonic's popular Lumix line of cameras for the US market.  David has been a friend and supporter of Outdoor Photo Gear from the start!

  1. Lensbaby Scout with 12mm Fisheye – because if I can't capture within 186 degrees, it probably wasn't worth it anyway.
  2. Wimberley Gimbal Version II – because shooting with a lensbaby on my Panasonic GF1 is giving me a complex
  3. Nik HDR Efex Pro – because who has time for zone metering when I'm busy filling up 8GB cards.
  4. Panasonic VT25 54" Full 3DHD  Plasma – because I've been shooting with pre-release samples of the Panasonic GH2 and 3D lens, but can only view the images at work. Oh, and AVATAR, baby!!
  5. Peace on Earth and the safe return of our U.S. Service personnel.

Theodore A. 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.

Dear Santa, As your big day rapidly approaches, I thought I would take the guessing work out of what it is I want this Holiday Season and just send you my top gift ideas. This is a good faith, and some may even say noble, gesture on my behalf so you can focus your attention on other, more import things.

I have received word from your Naughty/Nice department that there is some question as to if I am going to end up on the “good” list this year. Without knowing any real details, I would like to take the proactive approach and “clarify” an incident, which may (emphasize, may) have been brought to your attention…

When I went to the mall, THREE WEEKS before Halloween and saw Christmas decorations up, I will admit I may have been slightly… how do I say this…. peeved at said notion. Some may have interpreted my actions towards several mall employees… a couple of security guards… oh, and that guy in the banana costume as hostile. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was simply trying to preserve the true meaning of the Holiday Season and prevent these money grubbing capitalists from ruining it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I don’t care what that bus full of nuns may have told you…

So now on to the purposes of my letter… (yes, I know… just roll with itl):

I would like a Tenba Black Label Shoulder Camera Bag – Large bag because my current shoulder bag has simply seen better days. I would like the Induro CT414 Carbon Fiber 8X Tripod because I am trying to slim down on the weight I lug around. Because I have been super good, I would also like the Promote Control – Remote Control to assist in my creating of realistic looking HDR images. Next on my list is the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport because getting accurate color is important to any photographer. The Lightroom integration makes this a slam-dunk for me. Lastly, I would like an Annual Subscription to Kelby Online Training. We never stop learning.

So there’s my list, big man. Fairly simple. No subscriptions to the Jelly of the Month club or Red Ryder BB guns… just photo gear. 

I hope you have a wonderful trip. I promise this year, the original batch of cookies will not need to go through my strenuous “quality control” inspection and hence, my wife won’t have to bake you a second batch.

We just got the chimney cleaned, especially for you. See you soon!

Martin Bailey 

Residing in Japan, Martin is head of our Tokyo bureau.  Martin's site and podcasts are chock full of detailed info for all photographers.  Martin also leads incredible workshops in Japan, providing photographers with a uniquely Eastern experience.  You can get all the info on Martin here.

Jobu Designs Single Axis Bubble Level
I hate wonky horizons! These little baby are an inexpensive essential item in your camera bag. I don't own one of these Jobu Designs Bubble Levels myself, but I'm lusting after one.

No photographer should be without an X-Rite Color Checker Passport. These are not just about White Balance. They will make your colors pop into place even when you've been shooting under predictable light. Use it — love it!
I have had two for years, and wouldn't like to be without them. I use them to hold flowers still on a breezy day, and I also use them in the studio to hold reflectors in awkward positions. Very flexible — in a number of meanings of the word!
With more cameras allowing you to fine tune the focusing of your lenses now, these LensAlign Focus Calibration tools are essential, especially if you shoot with your lenses wide open, when depth-of-field can be razor thin.
OK, so this is the big-ticket item. Gitzo not only make world class camera supports, their Four Seasons Photo Jacket is a killer product all unto itself. It's getting tougher and tougher to get your gear onto a plane, but with one of these you can fill your pockets with gear! They come into their own in the field too of course. Very durable, warm (with a fleece underneath if necessary) and you can keep everything you need at your fingertips. This is my top recommendation for the Outdoor Photographer with deep pockets, literally!
Scott Goldsmith

National Geographic, LIFE, TIME, Fortune, Business Week. Sports Illustrated, US News & World Report, The New York Times and People.  Just naming a few publications where Scott's images have appeared.  A Pittsburgh resident but based worldwide, Scott is a fabulous photographer and a close friend.  You can view his website here.
1) I just found out that OPG has gift certificates. The first thing on my wish list would be a 10 thousand dollar gift certificate from Chris Klapheke, the owner of OPG. Chris is such a wonderful, kind, interesting, smart, important, celebrated, acclaimed, revered, passionate, dedicated, accomplished and most talented photographers I have ever met. Honest Chris. Really. I mean it.
2) Kata Pro-Light FlyBy-74 Organizer/Rolling Case This is on my list for several reasons. The orange details and appointments of the exterior are subtle yet powerful enough to stop Mr. I.M. Dumb from taking the wrong black bag at the airport. This bag is small and big at the same time. It holds a lot of stuff. Most importantly it is versatile. The extra stabilizing leg with longer rollers when needed is perfect for people like me who want to stop on the spot for a photo with minimal disaster. The light colored interior dividers make it easier to see my gear, which is mostly dark. In an emergency you can put this baby on your shoulder and run full speed. It’s all I need for most assignments since it will hold my tripod, laptop and tons of gear.
3)Rogue FlashBender Small Positionable Reflector I have tried over 50 different types of flash modifiers. This one is the best because you can make over 50 different types of lighting modifiers with it. It takes up almost no space in your bag. This is a must have item for portable flash work.
4)Neos Villager Superlite All Season Overshoes We just got our first snow in Pittsburgh. Slush,snow and rain are on the way. These boots are lightweight and water tight. I love them because I can take them off when I go inside and my shoes are already on my feet.
5) A lightweight collapsible assistant that will fit into my Kata Pro-Light Flyby-74 organizer Rolling Case.

Glenn Bartley

Glenn Bartley

Glenn is a nature and avian photographer hailing from beautiful Victoria, Canada.  He conducts workshops around the world and has some very nice books to his name.  You can see his website here.

  1. Benro Travel Angel – When out hiking long distances with landscape photography in mind often a full size tripod is just too much to pack and carry. Because of this I've had my eye on a small, lightweight, yet capable tripod for a while now. This Benro travel angel seems ideal.  
  2. Pelican Memory Card Case – This little case is sure to keep my memory cards safe and dry. And better yet all in one place so that I don't lose them! 
  3. LensCoat Hoodie Lens Cap – Packing the 500mm in a backpack is always a tight squeeze. The Hoodie lens cap should save some space while still keeping the front element safe. 
  4. Aquatech Sensory Gloves – For those cold days in the field when a thin pair of gloves is just not enough. 
  5. Wildlife Imaging Bean Bag – I actually used to own one of these…until I left it on top of my car and drove off that is!  A great product and one that I need to replace.

Ryan Armbrust

Attend any event in Louisville, and chances are you'll see Ryan and his camera, snapping images for a national publication, or just for himself.  Take a look at Ryan's Sniper Photo to see what we mean.  Plus, Ryan has a thriving Pinup and Boudoir Photography business, and his site is full of fun retro photos and videos!

1.) Hoodman Hoodcrane – Now that I am using a DSLR to shoot behind the scenes videos of some of my photo shoots, I am realizing the importance of having a true viewfinder instead of just watching the lcd screen. The Hoodman Crane rigs a Hoodman Loupe to the back of your camera, giving it a viewfinder effect. The continuous auto focus tends to hunt and peck for a focus point. With this, I can use manual focus and get all "Scorsese" on it!

2.) Eclipse Cleaning Solution & Sensor Swabs – You can have all the fancy equipment you want, but if you have a bunch of sensor dust on your final images, you are a total goof!

3.) Think Tank Hydrophobia – I have a few rain covers, but THIS one is by far the easiest to use. The design is pretty awesome. I can whip it out of my bag and slap it on my camera in seconds. Some of the assignments I receive require me to get the shots regardless of weather conditions. I'm not made of sugar, my my camera gear kinda is! It's nice to know it is safe.

4.) Benro Travel Angel Tripod – I am so sick and tired of lugging around my humongous metal tripod! I want a super compact carbon fiber tripod that can hold my Nikon D700 with a 70-200 2.8 lens. Looks like this will do it just fine. The best part? Chris told me he was giving me one for Christmas! What a great guy! Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink…

5.) World Peace – Just kidding, I want a Leica M9. World Peace will never happen, but I'll probably buy a Leica M9…

Scott Flaherty

Scott Flaherty
Scott is a Senior Software Architect in Ohio with a passion for outdoor photography.  Scott was one of OPG's earliest supporters!  You can see Scott's website here.

Richard Peters

Based in London, Richard's main photographic interest is wildlife, but he shoots all kinds of images, including shooting for Sky News and Channel Five.  Richard has also been on the judging panel for BBC Countryfile.  You can view Richard's site and blog here.

1) Nikon 14-24
Wide in both field of view and price tag! The ultimate wide angle zoom is one lens I'm hoping Santa will leave under my tree this year.

2) ThinkTank Photo airport International V2.0
With a trip to Yellowstone coming up in January, one of these would come in handy for getting all my gear through the airport without giving me back ache!

3) Manfrotto 501HDV Fluid Video Head
Having recently started my journey in to the world of shooting video with the Nikon D3s, I can already see that a fluid head will help get me to get smoother panning shots of the wildlife subjects I encounter.

4) AquaTech Sensory Gloves
Keeping my hands warm AND being able to use my gear is always a challenge. But these will fix that problem nicely.

5) Nikon D7000
Nikons latest DX camera has fantastic high ISO performance, and after having a play with one recently I'm very tempted to replace my backup D300 with one.

Juan Pons

Juan hardly needs an introduction.  A contributor to our blog, a great gear reveiwer, and a business sounding board, Juan runs The Digital Photo Experience podcast with RIck Sammon, and conducts workshops throughout the year.

  1. X-Rite Color Checker Passport
  2. Think Tank Photo Streewalker Hard Drive
  3. X-Rite Color Munki
  4. Genus Neutral Density Faders
  5. Gitzo GT2540LLVL Leveling 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs

Bob & Travis Peltz

Bob and Travis run Essential Photo Gear, the manufacturers of the Kwik Camo, the Pod Pad, the Apex Bean Bag and other great products we carry.  You can follow Travis on Twitter here.

  1. Nik Software Complete Collection for Lightroom and Aperture – it's the ultimate bundle of the best photo enhancement plug-in software!
  2. Foxgloves Grip for Photographers – perfect for keeping a good grip on your camera when the elements turn on you. 
  3. Lensbaby Muse Lens – this little baby takes normal, every day landscapes and puts a twist to them. Creating an extremely unique and interesting image. 
  4. RED Epic 3D Videocamera – would be a good tool to have laying around for that occasional 3D video clip of a humming bird at the feeder….
  5. Apple iPad – perfect for reviewing/displaying images and video to potential clients. 



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One Response to “Holiday Wishlists From Our Favorite Photographers”

  1. J.David DiCristina says:

    Great idea!

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