This year I have decided to put together a small gift guide for some of the items which I have used, read or enjoyed in the past year. Based on your needs, you may want to add to your wish list for the holidays or in the future.
Two organizations which I am a member of are the Denver Botanic Gardens and Denver Architecture Foundation. Located not far from downtown Denver the York Street location of the Botanic Gardens is the one which I visit most often whether it is for an inspiring walk through the gardens anytime of the year, or for one of their special events like Blossoms of Lights. The Denver Architecture Foundation is one of the organizations behind the annual event Doors Open Denver and various other tours during the course of the year which promotes architecture in the Denver area. Many of the popular venues for Doors Open Denver will sellout and with a DAF membership you do get priority registration.
For some interesting history on Denver, check out the various books by Phil Goodstein. I own the Denver Streets and Denver Civic Center books, which may be in limited print but are still available locally. While it is just over ten years old the book Getting to know Denver: Five Walking Tours can also be an informative guide of the downtown Denver area.
I frequently use the Colorado Atlas and Gazetteer when exploring Denver and beyond. Quite frequently I will make notes in this publication to keep track of places I have photographed or those which I would like to revisit in the future. While it is easy just to use our phones to keep track of these things, not everywhere in Colorado is it possible to get a reliable cell phone signal to access your information stored in the cloud.
I quite frequently am asked which camera set-up I am using for the images on my website and also at art festivals. The answer is, it depends. Most of my work has been taken with Nikon cameras, and at this time I am using the Nikon D810. I would recommend doing your research on what is the best gear for the type of photography which you would like to capture. Over the past couple of years I have also moved to a mirrorless camera, which is smaller and makes perfect sense for me when traveling. I use the Olympus OM-D M5 Mark II with a 12-100mm F/4 lens. This is a nice small set-up which gives the equivalent of a 24-200mm range on the lens, and I have taken it with me across the United States, Cuba, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland, Canada and plenty more locations. These cameras may seem expensive and yes they are, however I also have featured work I have taken with my iPhone including one of my best selling images.
It is not always about the gear itself but how you see and capture the image you are taking. Classes at local camera stores are readily available, as well as online courses like Mastering Travel Photography.
I am always on the search for the perfect travel/camera bag and found one just over a year ago which is perfect for me. The Tenba DNA15 is now always with me when traveling due to the amount of equipment it allows me to carry and also the comfort it brings. One of my first uses of this bag was to Cuba a year ago. It easily held two mirrorless cameras, three lenses, accessories, a 15-inch laptop and other various items while still fitting under the seat on the airplane flight. I have also used this on weekend trips as my only bag since the camera inserts can be removed. From 3-Day weekend flights, or crossing the country on Amtrak it is perfect for my needs and really doesn’t look like a camera bag.
When traveling internationally you will need to use a different plug, thus an all-in-one travel adapter it quite helpful. For under $10 you can find one to handle the various types of outlets especially when we need to charge all of our electronics. This one also includes USB ports for you to charge your gear.
Travel and Photography Inspiration
I am always looking for books and other publications to help with inspiration and education for travel and photography. Here is a brief list of some of these items from this year.
- Atlas Obscura: This guide is readily available in my living room and when wondering what there is in the world I pick it up and flip through for a while. Featuring some of the more interesting places in the world it is always fun to pick up and start to get me thinking about places to visit next. There is also an Atlas Obscura website you can browse as well.
- Best Business Practices for Photographers: Currently in its third edition this book by John Harrington sits on my bookshelf as a great reference tool for anyone who is selling their work, or is interested in getting in the market.
- How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: This best selling book was one the first ways I came across Nomadic Matt and is a great read on how to save money when traveling anywhere. He also has smaller guides for specific areas, and during my trip to Hong Kong this year I got a lot of my travel planning information from that guide.
- Landmass Maps: How else would you show off where you have been in the United States or the World without a map to display. Once you have visited a location you can scratch it off with a coin. Instead of scratching off lottery tickets and hoping you can now scratch to remember all of the places you have visited and also see where you want to go next.
- NeuYear Wall Calendars: How else can you visually plan for your year in travel or other projects which you are working on other than with a wall calendar. I have used this to plan the year for projects, trips and everything else which comes up in life. I would recommend the dry erase option as we know plans can change. [This link will also save you 10%]
- Moleskin Notebook: A good notebook is always a tool which you have with you to write down notes, ideas or anything else which may come to you at the spur of the moment. I have a stack of various sized of these notebooks on my shelf and will have one with me when traveling.
- Obama: An Intimate Portrait: You may not live in the United States or are registered in one of many political parties, however hands down you can not argue about the tremendous job Pete Souza did capturing the presidency of Barack Obama. This coffee table book contains many of the images we have seen published before and those which are new. It is a great reminder of how to photograph and catch the moment.
- The Thirty Days Project: I may be biased on this book which I released a few years ago summarizing the first five years of The Thirty Days Project which I have done in the past. This is currently on sale as well.
- Treasured Lands: Photographer QT Luong visited all 59 National Parks (now 60) over the course of 20 years to put together this 450+ page coffee table book. There is some amazing photography in this book which will inspire you to photograph, travel and most importantly explore.
- Ultimate Journeys for Two: Published just over year ago by National Geographic, Mike and Anne Howard continue to travel and explore their world on an ongoing honeymoon. This book may motivate you to take that trip or find an off the path location to visit. During Travelcon earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting these two adventurers.
- 1000 Places to See Before You Die: This is one of the original bucket list books and continues to be one to have on your bookshelf. Like Atlas Obscura above it will give you that push to go and visit somewhere new on your next adventure.
Lastly I would like to point some of the non-profits which I support due to personal ties to the work they support. As I mentioned at the beginning of the year the Ocular Melanoma Foundation and Cure OM (through the Melanoma Research Foundation) is something personal to me. In addition the National Brain Tumor Society I continue to support due to way too many people I know who have been lost from brain tumors.
Thank you for taking the time to taking a look at the Neil Corman Photography 2018 gift guide. When available I have used links to Amazon for ease, but most of these items can be found at local camera stores or other small businesses in Denver or wherever you call home.