sam's holiday wishlist // 12.5.15

with only 20 days away from Christmas, i caught up with with Sam Sheikali, the incredible photographer of Saminal Planet. since you last saw him, he's been working through med school and adopting new pets; his photos are the only ones that can make scorpions look pretty. i asked Sam to share his his holiday tradition and a wishlist designed for the nature photographer on your list. 

Sam, what is your holiday tradition?

As cliché as this is, our holiday tradition is simply to be surrounded by family. Nothing beats having the whole family together and sitting by the fire, telling stories and reminiscing in memories as we make s’mores and roast chestnuts. Of course, I have to get my dose of nature in too! Every holiday break, with the burden of schoolwork put off until after the New Year, I venture into the woods with some family members to see what wildlife we can find. Sometimes we find creatures I’ve never seen before, and other times we don’t find much at all. However, during the holidays, it’s not about what you find, but who you’re adventuring with.

i love that his tradition is so family focused; the true meaning of the holiday season. not to mention making s'mores and swapping stories sounds perfect over the cold holiday. as for his holiday wish list, he sent me some truly great gift ideas for a nature photographer, and i might have added a couple colorful options! 

  • for action shots: GoPro Hero4 Session Black Pro 15-in-1 Kit - The Hero4 Session is the newest GoPro, but the others are amazing too (I have the GoPro Hero4 Silver)! This is perfect for the first person action shots, especially when going after cool animals like snakes. The Black Pro 15-in-1 kit comes with all the GoPro accessories you could ever need at an absurdly low price!
  • for research: National Audubon Society Field Guides - So I may be biased on this one because National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders was my first field guide and multiplied my already deep passion for animals. Any of the National Audubon Society Field Guides are excellent, and is an excellent gift for enthusiasts of all ages.
  • for jungles: United Cutlery Honshu Full Tang Tanto Knife - this has been the most useful knife I’ve ever owned. A huge asset when camping, this knife can be used for cooking, as a machete, and much more. (and you never know when a pocketknife will come in handy!)
  • for group pics: AmazonBasics 60 inch Lightweight Tripod - Don’t let the remarkably low price fool you—this tripod is wonderful! I recently ordered bought it myself, and I don’t know how I went so long without a good tripod. It’s very lightweight and comes with a bag, making it easy to carry on your adventures. Plus, this tripod allows you to put your camera on “self-timer,” so nobody is missing from the holiday group pictures!
  • for versatility: Tamron 70-300mm Lens - Let me explain why this lens is the bee’s knees: It is a combo telephoto/”macro” lens, allowing you to take a picture of distant birds or literally a bee’s knees. The versatility of this easy-to-use lens makes it a must-have this holiday season for nature photographers of all skill levels! 
  • for exploring: Coleman LED Multicolor Headlamp - I can’t tell you how many times great shots I would have missed if it wasn’t for this headlamp. The world is an entirely different place at night, and you don’t want to miss out capturing its secrets! 
  • for rainy days: Kingshow Waterproof Winter Boots - Having camped in the mountains during winter, I learned that warm, waterproof boots are your best friend! And you have to admit, they’re pretty stylish too. (and i couldn't help but add in these killer tangerine rainboots!)