It’s never easy to find the perfect Christmas present, but it’s a good time to take advantage of the many special offers in the shops and upgrade your digital camera or computer or buy a new gadget or gizmo. In case you need a little inspiration here are a few ideas:-
  • Upgrade an older digital camera to a new DSLR - The Canon 600D from £400 or the 650D from £450 with a multi angle LCD & touch screen technology are both easy to use and eligible for Canon winter cash back of up to £50. 
  • Get  a new perspective with a new lens. Choose a new super zoom such as the Tamron   18-270mm from £270 to get one lens for every moment or for the budding wildlife photographer choose a telephoto lens such as a 70-300mm from £130. Prefer a more compact option?
  • Upgrade to one of the new generation compact cameras,  popular brands such as Panasonic, Olympus, Canon and Sony all offer cameras with fantastic features and zoom capabilities to suit all pockets from £150 to £500 for a premium advanced compact such as the Canon SX40i and the new Sony RX100.
  • Improve comfort with an OpTech Pro neoprene camera strap from £15. A  welcome replacement for an uncomfortable free camera strap.
  • For DSLR owner add  a lens  filter.  Choose a UV filter  to protect the lens and reduce glare & reflection or a polarising filter to get dark blue skies.
  • Add a spare battery, a second battery is a very useful  addition to any camera.
  • A new case to hold the new camera and accessories.  Choose from rucksacks, day bags or a sling shot side bag like the one on the right.
  • Choose  a new fast all-in-one PC, laptop or sleek ultra-book for computing on the  go.  Feature packed, touch screens, TV and more including free windows 8 upgrades. 
  • Upgrade your PC to windows 8 for £25; check out the Microsoft web site for details.  
  • Add an external hard drive to back up your photos and data – 1TB from £65.
  • Subscribe to Cloud services for online backup and access to your photos and documents.
  • Create a personalised canvas,  photo book, calendar or diary online. Check out www.photobox.co.uk or www.albelli.co.uk for some great ideas and
    special offers.
  • Buy an e-reader or tablet for fast browsing and email on the go. Great for accessing data via cloud services and Wi-Fi.  Check out the new Kindle Fire & Nook e-readers or the 10” Samsung Note and 7” Asus Google Nexus Tablet or for Mac lovers the new 7” ipad. 
  • And finally don’t forget an Inspirations Training Gift certificate for a 1 to 1 session, workshop or photo shoot day out to learn how to use your new gift - available from £50. 
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Canon 650D
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Canon 70-300mm
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Op Tech Pro Strap
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Calendar Layout
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Kindle Fire HD
If you’d like some help and advice on choosing a new camera, laptop or accessory or a gift certificate please feel free to contact me by email or phone.
 
 
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Get close to emphasise colour
Autumn is probably the best season for anyone keen on  photography. It’s a  wonderful time to capture landscape and nature images in vibrant colour.  Despite the rain we are all accustomed to; the occasional sunny spell with blue  skies and billowing clouds makes an ideal backdrop for the changing autumn hues of red and gold.  Autumn is the perfect time to improve your photography skills so why not sign up for a photo day out and learn how to get the most out of your  camera.

Here are a few tips to help you get started and capture the autumn colour:-
 
  • Keep a close watch on the changing colours to choose the best time. 
  • Be prepared to get out at short notice to take advantage of the best weather before the wind and rain destroys the seasonal splendour.
  • Change your viewpoint; try shooting from a low angle to capture the autumn colour of fallen leaves as foreground interest or shoot from up high.
  • Colour is sometimes limited to smaller areas so make the most of the richest colour you can find by zooming in to create impact.
  • Use a polarising filter to boost vibrancy and get dark blue skies.  
  • Make use of reflections in still water to double the impact of colour.  
  • Use a tripod and a long exposure to achieve a soft blur and emphasise the motion of the water.
  • Use the light to your best advantage by shooting from different angles and perspectives until you find the best.  
  • Don’t be afraid to improve composition by removing distractions such as stray twigs or by adding extra leaves to boost impact.
  • Get in really close to capture detail and water droplets by using Macro. 
  • Have a great day out and get lots of image to turn into inexpensive Christmas gifts.

If you’d like to learn more about using your camera to capture landscape and nature why not sign up for an autumn workshop or a photo shoot day out this autumn and get hands on practical tuition?  


 
 
Following the wettest July on record everyone is hoping for some holiday sun. So whether you have chosen to travel to warmer climates or will be holidaying in the UK here are a few ideas and tips to help you take the right camera with you and have a hassle free time.  
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Nokia Lumia 920
When travelling it makes sense to pack essentials items and with reduced luggage
allowances choosing which gadgets to take with you is more important than ever.  Whether it’s a relaxing holiday or the trip of a lifetime you will want to take  photographs to remind you of the best bits.

The latest smart phones often come with excellent cameras offering a range of settings and options to rival many compact cameras.  They also allow you to take advantage of free Wi-Fi to keep in touch with friends and family whilst travelling and avoid expensive international roaming charges.

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Tamron 18-270mm
If you are taking an SLR camera on holiday make sure it fits into a compact bag, this is essential if you are flying as it will also need to fit in your hand luggage. Start by choosing the right lens, what you intend to photograph will influence your choice, but a wide angel and a decent telephoto lens between 200-300mm will cover most subjects.  An increasingly popular choice for travel photography is a super zoom, this offers the best of both worlds by combining the versatility of  a wide angle with a decent zoom capability allowing you to get in closer, a third party lens such as the Tamron AF 18-270mm is more affordable and a can be a good investment if you travel a lot.

Another option is to upgrade an older compact camera for one that offers 14 to 30 x zoom, canon and Panasonic have an excellent range of high zoom cameras.  If you don’t mind spending more why not consider the increasingly popular travellers choice – a compact system camera with inter-changeable lens.  Smaller and lighter than a traditional SLR with many of the features, but not always a view finder, for the price of an entry level SLR these are available from Panasonic, Olympus and Nikon.  
 
Whichever type of camera you choose remember to pack extra storage cards; a spare battery & the charger; a polarising filter if your camera takes one and your lens hood to help combat reflection & glare.  Remember, it is safer to use several smaller memory cards than one super capacity card. If you only take one card and it is lost or stolen you will also lose all your photos.  Change your card regularly and keep used cards in a separate location to your camera! Don’t forget to check that your camera kit is fully insured before you go and make a record of the serial numbers for your kit if you haven’t already done so.   

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Acer 11.6" Netbook
A Net book can be an excellent travel accessory. You can download, review and  email your photos and even phone home for free using Wi-Fi. Now relatively inexpensive at about £200, they are light weight, have lots of storage space and a proper key board making them far better value than any tablet PC with its limited use and storage.  Check out Asus, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba and HP.    
  
Finally remember cameras & gadgets are highly desirable to street thieves, so take care of your camera or someone else will get to enjoy your holiday snaps at your expense.