Need an idea for that shutterbug on your Christmas list? Get those credit cards warmed up. But first, a warning for the faint-hearted: We start with one of the most expensive photography gifts in Orange County. Don't worry, though. There are Christmas gift ideas that will satisfy any photographer on your list.
$8,000: A 16-by-20-inch black-and-white print signed by Ansel Adams. "Half Dome Blowing Snow" is available at the Susan Spiritus Gallery in Costa Mesa. Shot in Yosemite National Park in 1955, this photo is the Rolls-Royce of photography gifts. With the death of Adams in 1984, the prices for his signed prints have skyrocketed, making this a better investment than the stock market.
$2,999: A Leica R-5 camera with 50-millimeter f/2 Summicron lens. This handmade camera, available at Cal's Camera in Costa Mesa, is the ultimate status symbol, offering such features as a 2-year guarantee, four program modes and the quality associated with Leica. Remember, this price doesn't include automatic focus, flash or zoom lens, which the average camera buyer is looking for. Also, be prepared to pay high ticket prices for accessories.
$399: The Nikon N4004 AF camera with automatic focus zoom lens from 35 to 70 millimeters. This camera, available at Cal's Camera in Costa Mesa, is the complete single lens reflex, with small pop-up flash, automatic exposure, automatic focus and zoom lens. A good starter camera for the photographer with some experience; it's unlikely that it will become obsolete as skills improve.
$399: The Kodak Carousel 5600 Projector with zoom lens of 102 to 152 millimeters, available at PX Appliance and Camera Store in Huntington Beach. If you are still shooting slides, it may be time to update that old projector. Different manufacturers have tried to come up with a new way to show slides, but few seem to catch on. The Kodak Carousel, however, keeps plugging away. The idea of gravity feed remains the same. Its more recent features include a miniature daylight screen that pops out of the front and a removable bulb module.
$375: An 11-by-14-inch black-and-white print signed by Henry E. Gilpin. "Highway One" is available at the Susan Spiritus Gallery in Costa Mesa. This work by the landscape photographer is a good piece with which to begin a home photography gallery. Gilpin's works have been shown throughout the world and can be found in the personal galleries of serious collectors. "Highway One" shows striking contrasts of Pacific Coast Highway winding through the cliffs along the California coast.
$249.95: The Canon Sure Shot Tele Camera. It is available at Jack's Camera in El Toro and is the ultimate point-and-shoot camera, with automatic loading, auto exposure, auto everything. An added feature is the ability to change from a wide-angle to a telephoto lens, both of which are built in. It will focus down to 18 inches, making it a breeze for close-up photography. Another added feature is a diffusion filter that can be switched if you're looking to soften those close-up portraits. This price includes the case and a three-year lithium battery.
$169.95: The Slik Universal Tripod 212AF, available at Ritz Camera stores. If you're looking for a tripod that is easy to use but will keep your still or video camera steady, look no more. This heavy-duty tripod uses a single-action pan-head control that makes aiming a breeze. It features single-action leg locks that speed set-up time; spikes or retractable rubber-tipped legs make it usable on any surface.
$138.95: The Olympus Infinity. All you have to do with this camera, available at PX Appliance & Camera in Huntington Beach, is point, shoot and take it anywhere you want. What sets this camera apart from others is that it is water resistant, making it ideal for hiking, trips to the beach or the mountains and shooting in inclement weather. It is not designed for underwater photography. The Infinity comes with a 35-millimeter f2.8 lens.
$129.95: The Polaroid Spectra camera, available at Ritz Camera. Why not enjoy your pictures right after you shoot them on Christmas day? Instant pictures are tough on the pocketbook, especially when you check out the price of film, so watch for store specials that may include gift certificates or replacement film offers.
$39.95: "A Day in the Life of the Soviet Union." This book is available at the Scribner Book Store in Costa Mesa. On May 15, 1987, 100 photojournalists shot 127,000 images in the Soviet Union to produce this exquisite coffeetable book. The spectacular images include photographs of Eskimo children skipping stones on the Bering Strait, showgirls in a dressing room at a Vilnius nightclub, customers at a Leningrad hair salon and sheep grazing in the foothills of the Tien Shan Mountains in Kazakhstan.