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Photographer’s Birthday Wish List

After a hopping spring photographing lots of wedded bliss, I can honestly say that I’m pretty set with my gear lineup these days. Over the past couple of years, I have slowly added to my lens collection as I’ve earned money, and I now have two full-frame cameras, a nice range of prime lenses and one zoom that’s proven useful in tight spaces at events and receptions. (And how did I live without my 27″ iMac?! Love it.)

But like most photographers, there are always a few other things that would make me giddy should I happen to pull a coat out of storage and find a $1500 bill in a pocket. And with a birthday approaching, I figured it couldn’t hurt to document my wish list.

Things were simpler for my first birthday back in '69.

First up, in the name of professional development, is this Visual Supply Co. workshop featuring Jonas Peterson and Sean Flanigan, among other very talented photographers, brand wizards and graphics gurus. Let’s face it — photographers could easily spend all their profits attending workshops in hopes of having remnants of greatness rub off on them. I’ve yet to travel to any conferences or workshops, although I have gleaned goodness from a few informative classes online. While I know it would be a fun few days to just revel in the creative process with people whose work is so inspirational, it doesn’t seem like a realistic priority as a play-at-home mom of two energetic tots.

But, if I had a spare $1500, I would beg my hubby to cash in some miles for a free ticket to San Francisco. I might even encourage him to join me for the weekend prior to the workshop and we could make a quick trip back to Point Reyes (one of our honeymoon spots) and dinner at Manka’s Inverness Lodge. Alas, the workshop fee (and lodging) would just be the beginning. Surrounded by talented photographers and designers, I would surely succumb to an expensive “re-branding” in hopes of defining my vision and brand and playing with the big kids. Guess I better stick to exchanging ideas with local photographers and studying online resources. For now.

Second is this stealthy retro camera, the Fuji X100. Another camera, you say? Sure! At the end of last year, after deliberating for a while, I bought a Canon G12 hoping to score an awesome point-and-shoot with great image quality and manual options that would keep me from feeling guilty about not hauling my hefty camera bag everywhere. The macro feature is nice, as is the HD video. However, the images from my G12 often lack sharpness, and it’s frustrating. Also, the menus are so full of options that it’s a lot to navigate through. Even when I don’t mean to change my settings, I hit one of the tiny buttons that leads me into a maze of choices. (“Press 5 if you didn’t mean to Press 3. Press the Star key if you’d like to speak with a human.”) I just want to press the shutter button and take a photo! Occasionally, I miss a decisive moment because of this menu madness.

Enter the Fuji x100. Built like a tank, it’s compact and delivers superb image quality with high ISO. It’s a fixed 35mm, just like the old days. It wouldn’t be ideal for every type of shooting, but everything I read about the lucky people who’ve been able to get their hands on one makes me want one a little more. Fuji X100s are out of stock everywhere, and when a store gets a handful in, they’re already claimed by wait-listed people who have probably feel like they’ve won the lottery. Instead, they’ve “won” the right to purchase this $1200 gem. I want to be like them. Read these reviews by Ryan Brenizer and Steve Huff, and you’ll want one, too.

(Hmmm. Late-night brainstorm. I’m sure this ubercool cam is included on some lists of Father’s Day gifts for the dad who has everything. Maybe I could give one to my husband? Surely he’d let me borrow it.)

Turquoise Clover camera bag by Epiphanie -- happy birthday to me?Third, is this camera bag. Clearly not as exciting as the previous choices, but I figured I should list something realistic. Actually, the quest for the perfect gear bag is a continual one for many snaphappy people. And we all have multiple bags for different purposes. What this Epiphanie bag offers is a means for safely toting a camera and a few lenses (and even my MacBook) in a bag that doesn’t scream “Expensive Photostuff Here.” There have been other girly gear bags that people love, but this one is a my fave blend of function and design with the bonus of groovy braided handles and a poppy color. For those occasions and meetings where I need to run an errand before doing something camera-related, this bag would be the answer. In fact, I could have thrown my laptop in it earlier today when I met with a bride. Instead I toted my tattered black backpack from my days as a Kodak rep.

In the rare event you’ve made it this far, thanks for “listening” to my self-indulgent babble about stuff I think I can’t live without. What’s on your wish list?

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