As a night photographer, I have different needs than a lot of everyday photographers out there. While we already have an amazing gift guide on Photofocus, I thought I’d make another targeted at us night photographers.
Under $25 (stocking stuffers)
Boneyard: SoCal’s Aircraft Graveyards at Night by Troy Paiva
A simply amazing book featuring night photos in abandoned boneyards in California. Troy is one of the foremost pioneers of light painting and night photography, and his creative images and storytelling are always a source of inspiration.
Abandoned Louisiana: Under a Bayou Moon
Author and night photographer Mike Cooper put on over 4000 miles while exploring the abandoned churches, homes, general stores and much more from Louisiana’s history. A fascinating read with historical details from just about every photo.
Abandoned Southern California: The Slowing of Time
I’m going to be crass and recommend my book as well, offering many nocturnal glimpses into forgotten locales.
Rosco Cinegel 1.5 Inch x 3.25 Inch Swatchbook
Place these colored gels in front of an LED flashlight such as a Coast or Streamlight flashlight and start light painting! This is how many of us began. And it looks great.
Night Photography and Light Painting: Finding Your Way in the Dark, 2nd Edition
This is an amazing “how to” book on night photography, with plenty of easy-to-follow instructions and creative suggestions in many different genres of night photography. Written by one of the true masters of night photography, many techniques and gorgeous examples are covered. It’s an inspiring book that you will want to read again and again.
Vello ShutterBoss II Timer Remote Switch for Nikon with DC2 Connection
I have been using Vello ShutterBoss II remote switches for several years for night photography. They are quite consistent and easy to program and use, also remembering your settings the next time you power it up. You may use it for continuous shooting, self-timer, long time exposures and interval shooting. Or you may use it without needing to power it up for a simple remote shutter release with locking mechanism.
Note the “Kentax” label? This is for my Pentax K-1. I have another Vello. It is labeled “Niken.” I bet you know what sort of camera I use that one for!
COAST HX5R Rechargeable Pure Beam Focusing LED Flashlight
Great, small flashlight for light painting.
Streamlight ProTac HL Flashlight
I’ve used this for many years on numerous international trips and out in wet areas, and it’s always held up well. Like the Coast LED flashlight, it’s great for light painting as well as getting around.
Tenba Solstice 20L Camera Backpack (Blue)
Having a great backpack is so valuable for night photographers who have to find everything in the dark. I have used this on many trips throughout the desert and the coast. It’s been through windstorms, dragged through mud, sand and rocks, and shoved underneath airplane seats. It still looks almost new, and always protects the camera gear well.
I can fit two large DSLRs with attached lenses and quite a few accessories or another lens or two if I wish. And did I mention that it fits underneath an airplane seat? I love this bag.
Acratech GP-s Ball Head
This is a workhorse ball head. This has a small diameter base, perfect for traveling, and can function as a gimbal head or a panoramic head. The Acratech weighs only 0.91 lb/0.4kg with quick release clamp but holds over 25 pounds (11.4kg) at any angle. It’s also intuitive to use, and therefore easy to use in the dark. This is for those who crave stability but want portability.
IRIX 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens
This is an amazing bargain for night photographers, and something that makes Milky Way photography about as easy as possible? Why? It has a detent for true infinity. And it has a wide aperture of f/2.4. It’s a manual focus lens that is ruggedly built, accepts screw-on filters, gel filters, has a focus lock mechanism, has extensive weather-sealin, and is rectilinear. I use this for most of my Milky Way photos.
FEISOL Elite Tripod CT-3372 M2 Rapid
This Feisol tripod has been my go-to tripod for the past seven years. Although this boasts a 66 pound load capacity and is a little large, it’s surprisingly light, and I take it with me when hiking in to places.
I use this in the field to hold heavier camera setups, but also to have increased stability while creating hour-long exposures during gale-force desert winds or while creating long exposure photos in shifting sands on the coast. It inspires confidence. The last thing I want to be thinking about when I am creating compositions is whether my camera is going to fall over or shake.
Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens
I have the version that they make for Pentax under the Pentax name, but it’s the same lens. This along with the Nikon 14-24mm are two of the greatest ultra wide-angle lenses ever made. Solid, sturdy and sharp.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens
For years, people who used other camera manufacturers got adapters because this lens was such an amazing lens. Although slightly long in the tooth now, there’s still not many lens that can compete. That said, Nikon has updated this lens, as they have released the Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Lens for their Z-Mount mirrorless cameras.