We’ve come a long way, with Part One, Two and Three giving fifteen of my best items I keep in my gear bag and for all around technical purposes.  The list continues today with Part 4 – and only one more to come before all 25 are done!  So, without further ado:

1.  SnagIt! – If you ever needed a screen capture utility with professional features, including adding callouts, banners, text, and other things, this is the place to go.  It retails for $50 so just fits in the guidelines of being under $50 and on my wish list!  Made by the folks over at Tech Smith, it beats the pants off the native print screen functionality of Windows and Command-Shift-F4 on Mac.

Snag It!
Snag It!

2.  A star filter – I’ve always been a fan of starbursts in imagery, and there’s no time like the holidays to add that effect to all your lights.  If you can’t afford the stopping power of F-16, try one of these filters from Hoya (link from B&H Photo for the 77mm variety, so check to see if they have your filter size in stock…in all likelihood, they do!)

Hoya Star Filter
Hoya Star Filter

3.  USB Charging Outlet – I think it’s safe to say that the USB cable has pretty much become ubiquitous.  Whether you have an iPhone, a Droid, a bluetooth earpiece, or any one of a countless bunch of USB devices that need charging almost daily, an outlet like this makes your life a LOT easier!  No more actual outlets lost to a charger when you need a lamp, a monitor, or some other device to plug into the real outlet.  Just a bit of DIY know-how to swap out an existing outlet is all you need!  (Don’t forget to cut off the power first.)  I want like 5 of these, but each is only $20, so it makes the list!

USB outlet
USB outlet

4.  Captured! – Probably one of the most esteemed wildlife photographers out there, Moose Peterson has quietly built a reputation for his legendary captures of both nature and wildlife.  I can’t remember the last time he published a book, but this one is definitely on my wish list this Christmas.   Reading about photography is always a good thing – reading from the masters, even better!

Moose Peterson's Captured!
Moose Peterson's Captured!

5.  Wireless Lapel Microphone Kit – Finally, for those of us with video on our DSLR’s (and it’s a growing crowd), consider your audio when you record.  A simple wireless lapel microphone system will deliver the goods better and more professionally.  Invest right from the get-go and save yourself tons of aggravations down the road.  Here’s a simple system from Radio Shack right on the money at $49.99! – Although I should note that the unit comes with a jack that is 1/4″, and a reducer is needed to go down to the 1/8ths needed for SLR plugs… (you are tethered to a wall because it needs AC power, so don’t think you’ll get the portability of, say a hotshoe mounted microphone set, but that’s for the very dedicated crowd as it’s way above the $50 max for these lists)

Wireless Microphone Kit
Wireless Microphone Kit

There ya have it, the five for today!  That means there are only five more items to go in the last list, which should be out next week!  Get your own thoughts in before the list is done, and let me know what you think of things so far!  Sound off in the comments and via email! 🙂

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