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Writing with Light

Have You Been Naughty or Nice?

Can you believe that the holidays are just around the corner. Have you started on your holiday shopping? Have you put together your own wish list? If you’re anything like me the mental wish list starts in January and just gets longer as the year progresses. 🙂 Just in case you haven’t started I thought I would help you out with your list this year. The ever-growing number of products on the market makes it really hard to stay focused on what essential gear should be in your toolkit. Below is a list of equipment, software and reference material that I use and find invaluable for my photography business. So grab a cup of java, sit back and have a read through this rather long post. You may find a deal or two as well as some free stuff. Keep reading  🙂

Gear

Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Kit

Canon EOS 7D, camera, DSLR

I really love my Canon 7D. I’ve had it for about 2 years now and it’s definitely a workhorse. I sometimes find the need to shoot at high ISOs (3200 and higher) and it handles noise beautifully. It’s got a 19 point AF System and a shooting rate of up to 7fps. It’s really come down in price since I bought mine so worthwhile taking a look at this.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

Canon 24-70 f/2.8L, lens

I must say that this lens is one of the best investments that I’ve made. The 24-70 f/2.8L is the lens that is always on my camera. It’s so versatile for all types of photography and the images this piece of glass produces are sharp, sharp, sharp. I promised myself a long time ago that as I needed to upgrade or buy new lens I would wait until I had the money to buy a quality lens and Canon’s “L” lens live up to the hype that you always hear about. You may want to put this one on your wish list ahead of time so Santa has sometime to save up for it.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Canon, telephoto zoom, 70-200mm, f/4, lens, image stabilizer

I wrote a review on the 70-200 f/4L back in the summer. I loved it then and I sill love it. You can read the review here and find out why I went with the f/4L instead of the f/2.8L.

Kirk L-Bracket

Kirk Enterprise, L Bracket, Canon 7D

Is this a must have? For me it is. It allows me to mount my camera onto a tripod in either a horizontal or vertical position quickly. The Kirk L- Bracket works with any Arca Style Quick Release Platform so if you have a Really Right Stuff or Markins ball head this will work. Make sure your purchasing the one that will fit your DSLR.

WD 4TB My Book Studio Edition II Quad Interface External Hard Drive

If you’re not backing up your images you’re taking a big risk with your images and all the hard work you’ve put into them. You’ve read it before I’m sure…the question isn’t “will your hard drive fail but when”. After I transfer all my images from my memory card to my hard drive I back them up immediately to my WD external hard drive which is a RAID drive. I then have an additional backup, the LaCie 3TB d2 Quadra Hard Drive with USB 3.0 / Thunderbolt. Both these drive perform extremely well and I’m confident that if one should fail my library of images are just a few keystrokes away.

WD External RAID Drive

BlackRapid RS-W1 Ballistic Nylon Women’s Strap (Black)

After many years of using a traditional camera strap I found I was doing more damage to my neck then I really wanted to. I tried different straps…padded around the neck, different materials but I just wasn’t pleased or comfortable. A friend told me to give the Black Rapid a try, I did and I really love this strap. It’s saved me a lot of neck ache and the BlackRapid made specifically for women (don’t laugh you male photographers out there) is curved in just the right places so it sits across your chest nicely. And yes there are non-female versions available as well.

Gura Gear Bataflae Camera Bag

Gura Gear Bataflae 18L, review, camera bag, backpack, exterior

Gura Gear Bataflae 18L, review, camera bag, backpack, interior compartment

I just wrote a review about the Bataflae a couple of weeks ago which you can find on my products review page. I love this bag and if you or someone you know needs a new camera bag then look no further.

Filters and Memory Cards and Batteries…Oh My!

My go to store for photographic equipment is B&H Photo in New York. Unfortunately I don’t get to New York as often as I would like but their online store is the best. Even for little ‘ole me living in Canada, B&H has made so easy to order from them. If your living in Canada they will calculate shipping, customs and duties before you submit your order online so you know exactly what you’re paying.  I’ve done the math and I save money when I order from B&H.

Software & Plug-Ins

Here’s a list of the software and plug-ins that I use and swear by. These form part of my workflow and I couldn’t do what I do without these tools. You might be surprised to find Photoshop Elements on the list and not Photoshop CS. I was holding out for the longest time and was eventually going to purchase CS and then Adobe changed the rules of the game. Since I didn’t already own CS5 or CS6 I would have had to pay the full subscription rate for Adobe CC so I decided against it. Do I feel that I’m at a disadvantage by using Elements? Absolutely not. I think the advances in Elements over the years has made it a software any professional photographer can use.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 for Mac and Windows (Download)

Elements12
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Software for Mac and Windows (Download)

LR5

Topaz Labs

product-types

Clarity, Black & White Effects, Adjust, DeNoise, Detail…these are just a few of the Topaz plug-ins that I use. I write about them in my blog posts and usually let you know when I’ve used them in processing my images (check the tags). You can get a 15% discount on all Topaz products by using the discount ELPHOTO.

I also wanted to let you know that Topaz Labs is running a promotion on its Black & White Effects plug-in. Until November 19th B&W Effects is only $29.99. That’s a 50% savings and a steal for this plug-in.

Give the Gift of Art!

Yikes…I’ve said it…there you go. Here’s a bit of shameless self promotion. Gear is fun but if there’s someone special on your list why not give the gift of art. You can head on over to my gallery. All images are available in a variety of sizes. Make sure you check out the Float Mounted Metal Prints. They look great and they’re ready to go up on the wall when you receive them. From now until December 25 use the code Holiday2013 and save 15% on your order.

 

Edith Levy Photography

eBooks & Free Stuff

Well really…you must have known that I would include some of my favourite ebooks as part of this list 🙂

Ok…let’s start with some free stuff….yes free…first from Craft & Vision. Just click on the images and download…Happy Holidays!

Free_Cover_Medium

free_cover1

TEN-spread-cover1-1

Other Craft & Vision titles that are a must for your library include:

Lightroom 5 Unmasked

eyePhone – Make Stronger Photographs with Your Camera Phone

Making the Print – Printing Techniques for the Digital Photographer (A Masterclass)

Here’s a terrific ebook from Ian Plant and the team at Dreamscapes and it’s absolutely free…

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…and if you haven’t yet picked up and read Visual Flow – Mastering the Art of Composition then I suggest you check it out. You can read my review of Visual Flow here.

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This free ebook has just been released from photographer and author Mitchell Kanashkevich, 7 Tips for Natural Looking Travel Portraits.

7 Tips Travel Portraits

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed my little round-up of gear, software, art and ebooks. Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas for gifts for yourself or for some one special. If you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful please share it with your social networks. Thanks and have a great week everyone.

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19 responses

  1. Len

    Thanks for sharing your list Edith. While I am a Nikon shooter, my version of the 24-70 mm lens is my favorite.

    Like

    November 11, 2013 at 9:36 am

  2. I will take one of each please…I have been very good☺

    Like

    November 11, 2013 at 9:39 am

  3. Reblogged this on http://www.newsafrica.co.uk.

    Like

    November 11, 2013 at 10:20 am

  4. Wow Edith, great coverage here! 🙂 Of course I’ll take one of everything, but the main thing that got me right now, is the Black Rapid women’s strap! I need that yesterday! 🙂

    Like

    November 11, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    • Thanks so mud Rachel. I really do love my Black Rapid strap and my neck thanks me for it.

      Like

      November 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm

  5. Reblogged this on rcnaturephotos and commented:
    Great post and list by Edith Levy! I love the fact there’s a little something extra for us ladies! 🙂

    Like

    November 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

  6. A few other things that should be on every photographers bag are:

    1. Polarizing filter (Hoya HD and B+W Kaesemann)
    2. Graduated ND filters (for those that shoot landscapes)
    3. Nice sturdy tripod. Manfrotto carbon 190 and 055 series for those on a budget, Gitzo for those that have more to spend.

    Like

    November 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    • You’re absolutely right Mark. Thanks for filling in the blanks. I actually use all of those and a Gitzo tripod which I love. There’s actually a review of the Gitzo Traveller on my reviews page.

      Like

      November 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm

  7. Thank you, Edith!!!

    Like

    November 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm

  8. LB

    I will somehow be bookmarkingn this! Thanks Edith.

    Like

    November 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

  9. Tis the season for sure, Edith. 🙂
    I cannot believe the holidays are practically here already. Wonderful post to kick off the season. Good stuff!

    Like

    November 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

  10. My wish list looks similar! Great images as usual – my favourite is the one with the rocks and the water 🙂

    Like

    November 13, 2013 at 4:15 am

  11. Thanks for such a comprehensive list, Edith. In my early digital days I was relishing the ability to spend less – no pricey consumables for the home printing etc, What a foolish man I was! Digital may have the ‘free capture’ bonus but everything else is spend, spend, spend! But I don’t regret the expenditure – I’m sold on Topaz – I use at least one of their plug-ins every time I process an image.

    Like

    November 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    • Thanks Andy. I know you can really go crazy with all the gear. I agree with you Topaz is my go to plug-in during post processing.

      Like

      November 14, 2013 at 9:02 am

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