As night photographers, we have different needs than other photographers. While we already have plenty of gift suggestions on Photofocus, we night photographers should also have a gift guide!
Thanks to Capture One (Promo Code PHOTOFOCUS20), MPB, Fundy, Tamron, Mylio, Excire and Skylum, the sponsors of this year’s Holiday Gift Guide.
VELCRO Brand Tape
$13.88; available via Amazon
This Velcro tape is a hook and loop fastener that adheres to most smooth surfaces and lasts for a long time. Why would a night photographer need this?
Well, because you already have this handy stand called a tripod. Why not attach things to it? I attach my intervalometers to a tripod leg. For those of you who use lens warmers to stop the dew, you can hook the USB power bank to tripod legs as well. Handy stuff. Velcro tape is so important, I’ve written about it in one of five tips all night photographers should know.
Allstar ALL14147 Fluorescent Orange 2″ x 45′ Gaffer’s Tape
$22.78; available via Amazon
Here’s one that every night photographer could use — gaffer’s tape. Yeah. Gaffer’s tape. This all-purpose tape is used by gaffers in film and TV production. The gaffer is the chief lighting technician and is typically the head electrician. They need to use tape that is strong but doesn’t leave a residue. This is where we come in.
We can use this for all sorts of purposes, so it’s always great to have gaffer’s tape in your bag. Break something? Tape it together. If you break part of your tripod, such as the ball head, you can tape your camera to the tripod. Need to keep something in place, such as a prop or piece of equipment? Hang up some dark garbage bags to keep the sun streaming in the window while you sleep until noon? Gaffer’s tape to the rescue. This wonder tape is one of five tips all night photographers should know.
Aream Digital Timer Remote Shutter Release Trigger Intervalometer
$19.99; available via Amazon
This is a wired intervalometer. However, unlike most wired intervalometers, this has detachable cables. As anyone who has used wired intervalometers knows, the connectors on the cables are typically what fails, not the device itself. When they fail, this allows you to simply swap out a cable for another and keep moving. Even better, these Aream intervalometers can be used with Nikon, Canon (and Pentax since they use the Canon sub-mini connector), and Sony simply by switching the cable!
BMK 200W Car Power DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 4 USB Ports
$25.96; available via Amazon
Photographers have batteries. Certainly, night photographers often use more batteries than many. Here, we have a small charging unit that plugs into a cigarette lighter and powers battery chargers, phones, and even laptops. Furthermore, you can use anything with AC outlets (as long as it doesn’t exceed 200W usage (sorry, no toaster ovens or hairdryers) as well as USB devices. For the price, you can’t beat it. I have mine tucked away in the middle console.
Topaz Denoise AI
$79; available via Topaz
Night photographers are always looking for good noise reduction software. After all, noise is the enemy of night photography. Extremely low light coupled with long exposures and high ISOs in hot weather can make for rather noisy photos. Enter Topaz Denoise AI. You can see for yourself how it works as I have written about this numerous times. For some Milky Way and astrophotography photos, you do need to be gentle with the application. A little goes a long way. Topaz DeNoise AI is the best noise reduction software I have used. And coming from a night photographer, that is really saying something.
Nik Collection 5 by DxO
$149; available via DxO
Nik Collection has 250 presets that use U-Point technology for non-destructive editing for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Classic. We all have our favorites. I personally love Detail Extractor, Tonal Contrast, Pro Contrast, all in the Color Efex Pro suite. Silver Efex Pro is the gold standard for black and white conversion, and probably worth the price of admission alone.
And Perspective Efex is incredible. The latter makes fixing things such as keystoning and horizon issues. But it also has an incredible tilt-shift blur that looks gorgeous. I wrote about DxO Nik Collection 4 here.
La Sportiva Men’s Makalu Mountaineering Boot
$348.95; available via Amazon
It’s not always easy to find hiking books with steel shanks, as most have moved on from that. But if you want a boot that is comfortable for exploring abandoned places at night, steel shanks can be a foot-saver. I have stepped on a nail before, not expecting there to be protruding nails in a bus graveyard. The board stuck to my shoe, but thankfully, did not puncture my foot. I quickly put on my steel-shank boots.
The La Sportiva boot is expensive but comfortable. However, there are plenty of work boots made by Men’s G-Force or NORU Baika boots that have steel shank soles.