Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Get the Goods: My Holiday Wish List

Hope never dies. At least that must be the thing that's driving my holiday wish list, because Lord knows I can't afford anything on this list right now ;) But if Santa were in a giving mood, here's what I would be asking for:

PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES: The educational opportunities to improve my photography skills seem almost endless in this wonderful creative age of digital technology. I am still loving every new technique I'm learning in Photoshop and have yet to truly begin my Lightroom studies. High on my wish list is classes with Illuminate Photography Workshop, Denver Darkroom and Digital Photo Academy, all of which have contributed to the solid foundation in photography I have gained over the past year.

GEAR: The Canon 24-70 2.8 is the missing tool in my gear bag. I've got the wide angles covered with my Canon 16-35 2.8 as well as the long distance shooting with a 70-200 2.8. All are great lenses to use in poor or low light situations, which seems to be the majority of situations I and other photogs find themselves in! The 24-70 would be a great everyday, mid-range lens to add to my photographic arsenal. The trouble is this though: I'm having a hard time finding one locally and all the ones I see online are for sale. That usually means a new similar lens is probably either in production or just about ready to be released!

NATURE PHOTO TOUR with Russ Burden Photography. Last week I posted about taking more time out to shoot for fun and experimentation. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the business aspects of your studio, trying to satisfy clients and keep a constant stream of income. You can lose focus of the simple joys and wonders of photography. Since my business specializes in people, events and portraiture, I shoot landscapes and cityscapes for fun. What's great about a tour with Russ is that he takes you to some truly unforgettable locations in national parks such as Yellowstone and Bryce Canyon. His knowledge of these sites (including the best times to shoot and the wild life you will encounter) combined with his passion and experience as a professional photographer makes for a great adventure.

SCRIM JIM: I have been coveting the Westcott 72 x 72" Scrim Jim Standard Kit ever since I saw photographers featured in the Photovision Educational DVDs using them in studio and location shoots. I have one of those 5-1 circular reflectors with a stand to hold it, but the stand always seems to keel over unless I use a sandbag (or an assistant) to hold it steady. The Scrim Jim diffusion and reflection system is collapsible and stands on its own because of a lightweight framing system, but is durable enough to withstand strong winds.

ROLLING CAMERA BAG: Either I'm getting old and back more worn out or my camera bag is just too darn heavy. Every new piece of equipment makes my old Tamron camera bag harder and harder to lug around. When I saw other photographers gracefully rolling their camera bags while we were shooting the holiday lights in Denver, I could barely stop salivating. I've got my eye on the M-Rock 524 McKinley Rolling Backpack. It comes with a telescope handle, large wheels and room for my 17-inch Mac Book Pro. It's not cheap, but it will save me sore back and arm muscles!

SOFTWARE: For the last month, I've been trying out free downloads of onOne Software Photoshop plugins, and I've fallen in love. They solve common and often time consuming photographic issues such as masking, enlarging and color correcting, but what I've really enjoyed playing around with is the professional effects and actions you get from award winning photogs like Kevin Kubota. It's easy to layer one affect on top of another for customized looks. I've only recently gotten into layers and using frames and edges to enhance images too. The Professional Photographers of America association gave all of its new members the Photo Toolbox CD as a free gift from Graphic Authority featuring frames, edges, brushes and drop and drag templates for cool affects.

And if I can't get any of this (at least anytime soon) then I will pray and hope for good light because that is still the essence of great photographer, and it's completely free if you know how to use it! Happy Holidays everyone!


tin said...

dito on the list. You guys can't be telling me about all of these goodies. My wish list is out of control!!

Happy Holidays and I hope Santa gives you everything on your list. You deserve it.

Sheba Wheeler said...

Welcome to the sickness that is the never ending quest for better photography equipment! Have a blessed holiday too my dear. Hope Ty loves his gift. Turns out the best gift in the world isn't anything on my's a surprise visit from my sister and meeting my baby nephew for the first time!

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