How to Be Merry and Bright at Night: Our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are upon us, and once again it’s time for us to help you find the best gift ideas for those special photographers in your life. So, welcome to National Parks at Night’s third annual Holiday Gift Guide!

We’ve scanned our camera bags, suitcases, computer files and storage cubbies, and compiled a new list of things that help us enjoy our photography and all the conditions we find ourselves in because of it. From shoe dryers to phone apps, hand warmers to training videos, we’ve created a must-have/seriously-want list that will help you with those tough decisions of what to buy for yourself this holiday season. And, looking through it twice, you may even find the perfect gift for the loved ones in your life!

We’re providing all of our discoveries as a free downloadable PDF ebook, so you can read it and reference it on any device, anytime, anywhere. Inside you’ll find products from major brands such as B&H Photo, BenQ, Bay Photo and Nikon, along with great little finds from smaller companies and startups.

In addition to the product information, the ebook version includes:

  • a lot more photos

  • a few extra discount codes and offers

  • night photography tips from all five National Parks at Night instructors

Help us spread the cheer by posting our guide on your favorite social media channels and share it with other like-minded photographers, friends and nature enthusiasts!

If you prefer to read the guide in our blog, that’s okay too; we’re also publishing it right here, below. (Though, we will say the ebook version looks cooler.)

Carpe Longa Nocte (seize the long night)!

—Gabe, Lance, Matt, Chris and Tim

Note: If you decide to purchase any of the items in this gift guide, please consider using the links included, as many generate a small commission that helps us improve the National Parks at Night workshop program.



Our absolute favorite ball head that keeps our long exposures locked in! Made in America and weighs in at .75 pounds, but supports up to 25 pounds! It accepts all Arca-Swiss L brackets and quick release plates. We prefer the GPS model with the lever lock, so it won’t be confused for the other knobs when we are adjusting our ball heads in the dark. If you own a travel tripod with the 180-degree rotating legs, get the smaller GPSS, which holds the same amount but has a smaller base plate so you can collapse the tripod legs around it for travel.

Special offer: Use promo code “NPAN18” at for 5 percent off the GPS, until December 20.

Anderson Design Group

National Park Adventure Guide Book

We’ve seen the Anderson Design Group’s WPA-inspired postcards in all the parks and absolutely love them. Now they have been compiled into a travel-friendly National Park Adventure Guide! It has become our new “passport” to the parks. Stickers are included in the book for you to place in the appropriate park, once you’ve visited. Each place includes some basic info on the park as well as “10 Things to Do and See.” There is also a spot for you to take notes, to sketch or to stamp the official cancellation from the park’s visitor center.


Moon Light

Send your night photographer over the moon with this photorealistic LED moon globe! Now you too can hold the moon in your hands, or bring it wherever you go. The Moon Light comes in a variety of sizes from 3.5 to 7.9 inches, giving you plenty of options to illuminate your home. Brightness and color are adjustable by simply tapping the moon. We can imagine using a few of these in an upcoming photoshoot as well!


Lunar Pro

The Lunar Pro is a hand-crafted, hand-painted 120mm 3D model of the moon that is so realistic, you may believe you have grown to cosmic proportions. If you want to study Earth’s nearest satellite in detail, load up their companion Augmented Reality (AR) app to view in real-time interesting facts and details about the geography on the moon. And when you aren’t dreaming of gray space cheese, this is sure to be a conversation starter on display in your office or living room.

Atlas Obscura

Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid

We have always been huge fans of Atlas Obscura. With their book An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, they initiated us into the mysterious, introduced us to strange places and showed us undiscovered treasures. Now they have upped their game with their latest book, Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid. Why keep all the fun for ourselves? Share a copy with your favorite curious youngster. Or for anyone, really—plenty there for adults as well. This book is interesting for the kid in all of us.

B&H Photo

Gift Certificate

The most universal gift for any image-maker, audiophile or anyone looking for the latest computers, hardware, software, telescopes or home theater. Available in increments from $25 to $500, a B&H gift certificate is guaranteed to make that certain someone extremely happy! Pro tip: Add a trip to NYC with the gift card and visit B&H’s 70,000-square-foot superstore where everything is out on display.

Bay Photo Lab

Xpozer Print

Get your images off the computer and onto your walls! We’re big fans of all of Bay Photo Lab’s print surfaces, but traditional print media can be space-consuming to store and costly to ship. Enter the Xpozer, an ingenious new way to display your art. Printed on beautiful Vivid Satin paper that floats off the wall with Bay’s unique aluminum tension hanging system. This provides a cost-effective way to beautifully showcase your work, and is incredibly portable if you need to cart it around or send it off-site. Available in sizes from 16x16 to 40x80 inches.



For the digital photographer, few things are more important than viewing our images on a high-quality, accurate screen. For years, BenQ has been making some of the best monitors available. And for years, we at National Parks at Night have benefited from using their incredibly accurate products. BenQ offers a particularly intriguing model that is within reach of any photographer: The SW240 has all of the qualities of its larger siblings, such as 99 percent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space and out-of-the-box calibration, while sporting the slightly smaller screen size of 24.1 inches. This high-resolution (1920x1200) monitor is perfect for demanding photographers with a smaller workspace. Its lower price tag doesn’t hurt either!


TrueNight Filter

Benro’s TrueNight filter is ideal for urban and suburban night photographers who desire a more natural look than artificial lighting in the sky. The TrueNight filter will give you a more pleasing color temperature, which is also easier to edit than trying to combat the yellow, orange and green tones from sodium and mercury vapor lighting. Available in 77mm and 82mm screw-in sizes (step-down rings also available for smaller lens filter threads), as well as a100x100mm drop-in.

Best Maps Ever

417 National Park System Units Map

There are over 400 official units of the National Park System! Start planning your next park adventures and checking off the NPS locations with this comprehensive map. Each spot has an icon for a pin to be placed, and trails, rivers, seashores and parkways managed by the National Park System are also outlined. The 2-by-3-foot wall map is heavyweight to last for a lifetime of exploration.


Chimani App

If you’re venturing into national parks with a phone or tablet in hand or in pocket, you’ll want to install Chimani before you go. Chimani relaunched this year as one standalone app that features information about 417 units of the National Park Service, including all 60 national parks. Data includes times for sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset, and golden hour and blue hour, as well as information on photo locations, with hundreds of example images. Available for iOS and Android. Also look into the Chimani Perks program, a paid membership that avails discounts at and near parks all across the U.S.—hiking and rafting tours, bed and breakfast, hotels, local breweries, restaurants, cafés, gear rentals, gift stores, outdoor retailers and more.

Coast Portland

G9 Inspection Beam Pocket Light

Night photographers and flashlights go together like beans and cornbread, like hotcakes and molasses. Chances are, the night photographer on your holiday list has more than a few flashlights in their kit, and most of them are bright enough to burn a hole in a piece of paper from 3 feet away. For the last 3 years, our workshop attendees have all received a flashlight compliments of Coast Portland. This year, many got a G9, Coast’s diminutive fixed-beam inspection light. This little guy is almost perfect for navigating at close quarters in extreme low light environments or for adjusting your camera when you can’t find the button in the dark. And with a quick DIY hack, it is the perfect light: Just unscrew the cap and place a small piece of tissue in front of the bulb, and you have a diffused, dim light that won’t spoil your night vision, or your buddy’s shot.

Cosmic Watch

Cosmic Watch App

Want something to do with your time during a long rip or star stack? Download Cosmic Watch for your touch device and dive into learning more about exactly where you are in the cosmos. It’s both a timepiece that would look great on your desktop at the office, and an amazingly rich and detailed planetarium through which you can learn more about astronomy. Our favorite feature is that the app teaches you about time, and what time means. It’s heavy, dude. But what do you think about while practicing the art of dilating minutes and hours with your camera during long exposures?


Night Photography Week

Video learning is huge. The problem is that not all online content is reliable or accurate. You might find what you need on YouTube, but why not invest a little for a vetted and trusted source? CreativeLive continues to produce some of the best online photography classes with world-renowned instructors. National Parks at Night is proud to have partnered with CreativeLive to present five complete courses on night photography subspecialties, one taught by each of our instructors. The courses are available bundled as “Night Photography Week,” or a la carte for the night photographer who wants to learn a specific skill.


Travel Dry

How many times have you been out shooting in the rain, or even shooting on a clear night, when you stepped into a stream or a bog—or experienc anything else that results in wet feet? Few things dampen the outdoor experience more than walking around in soggy shoes and socks. But, ya know, it happens. It often takes a couple of days to dry those shoes out, but you can accelerate the process with DryGuy Travel Dry shoe driers, often completing the task overnight. A workshop attendee gave us a set, and our feet have never been so happy.


Park Patches

If you’ve ever seen Matt’s National Parks at Night “boy scout” shirt, or hung out with the National Park Patch Lady (see below), it’s possible you’ve been infected by an enthusiasm to document your adventures with colorful patches. Alas, being night photographers, we sometimes miss the visitor center and don’t get to buy a patch. :-( Fear not, nocturnal adventurers! You can catch up on those missed patches at eParks, as well as pick up a bevy of other cools gifts you may have missed, such as shirts, posters and even the Passport to Your National Parks book for your cancellation stamps.

Hot Hands

Hand Warmers

Having your long exposure night photos ruined by condensation on the front of your lens is frustrating—but avoidable! Condensation on your lens can occur in humid conditions when the lens is colder than the air surrounding it. To avoid or alleviate the condensation, simply warm up your lens by activating two hand warmers, laying them on opposite sides of your lens and securing them with a couple of rubber bands or a koozie sliced down the side. Voila! Warm lens, no condensation. Outside Magazine tests gave the brand Hot Hands the highest marks for chemical hand warmers.


Hand-Blown Whiskey Glasses

Ever wanted to admire some of your favorite national parks through your favorite whiskey or bourbon? Well, you’re in luck. These precious, hand-blown whiskey glasses feature raised topographic impressions of Half Dome, Mt. Rainier and the Grand Canyon, among some other gorgeous global destinations. So crack a bottle of choice libations, and toast your adventurous spirit with friends.


150mm f/2.8 Dragonfly

Most of the time night photographers gravitate toward wide-angle lenses to capture the grandeur of nature or the city skyline. If you are feeling stuck in your ways or want to create images that stand out from the crowd, consider shooting with a longer lens to change your perspective. And if you’re into star trails but are too impatient to wait for those long exposures, telephoto lenses get the job done much faster than wide angle lenses! The folks at Irix have just announced a new lens, their 150mm f/2.8 Dragonfly. Like Irix’ 15mm and 11mm lenses, the Dragonfly is a weather-sealed, manual focus lens with their unique focus lock mechanism. It can produce 1-to-1 magnification scenes, but also makes a great night-portrait or medium telephoto lens. Available now for pre-order.

Ken Burns

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea

The magnum opus of national parks documentaries. This six-episode series details how the idea of saving and preserving wild spaces was born and popularized, and how the idea and its execution evolved through the 20th century. Learn about the people and places that literally changed the world.

Light Painting Brushes

Universal Connector

At the heart of the Light Painting Brushes (LPB) system is the deceivingly humble Universal Connector. Simply add this to any flashlight from 0.975 to 1.5 inches in diameter and you have a snoot to control the spill of light exiting your flashlight. It’s tiny, so it won’t take up much space in your bag, and can help you perfect those light painting masterpieces you’re dreaming about. When you’re ready to engage in light writing, pop on any of the dozens of cool accessories from LPB to start crafting light art from thin air.


Solar Inflatable Lantern

We first met the Solar Inflatable Lantern at the Atlas Obscura eclipse event in Durkee, Oregon, in 2017. By day, it charges via the embedded solar panel in 10 to 14 hours. At night, you inflate it to create a diffused cube of light with many, many color options you can cycle through by using the buttons on the top handle. The handle also allows you to hang it in a tree, inside your tent or anywhere you dream up. When deflated, the lantern can store in the bottom of your camera bag and you won’t even know it’s there.



The Lucie award-winning Luxli Cello takes all the things you love about the Viola and doubles—no, triples—your capabilities. It’s twice as wide and as bright. The TLCI is 97 percent from 3000 K to 10,000 K. The Hue mode has saturation control (to dial back juicy colors to within your camera’s gamut). And they added 150 digital gel filters that apply to any color temperature you choose, making color matching your gelled flashlights or LED panels a breeze. Finally, the built-in Fx mode allows for all sorts of playful options, such as CCT change over time, police lights and fire effects.


Smoke Grenades

Now, we must say these are a no-no within the boundaries of national parks. But in places where smoke effects are permitted, well, now we’re going to make some cool stuff happen. Despite the aggressive names, we prefer smoke grenades over smoke bombs. Many smoke grenades come with a pull tab to activate (like a grenade) instead of lighting a fuse. But the effect, oh, the effect! Backlight or sidelight the smoke with a Luxli Viola for a smooth long exposure effect or arrest it with a speedlite for crispy smoke.


Befree Advanced Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod with 494 Ball Head

Tired of cheap lightweight tripods? So are we. So thank you to Manfrotto for the Befree—a high-quality, lightweight travel tripod! Last year we listed the aluminum version, this year we’re happy to list the carbon fiber option. Weighing in at less than 3 pounds, this tripod and head system can handle nearly 18 pounds of camera while extended to its maximum height of 59.1 inches. You may find that this “travel” tripod becomes part of your everyday gear.

Misty Morning Artwork

National Park Mugs

Enjoy your favorite coffee with (in?) your favorite park, all while supporting an independent artist. A workshop attendee turned us on to these beautiful handmade mugs from potter, painter and illustrator Abbey Stieglitz. Mugs include depictions of Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and more. Custom orders available.


Ultra Strong Anti-Shock Trekking Poles

If you’re going to be trekking to remote (or even semi-remote) places for unique photos, you’ll want to complement your inborn stability with some hiking poles. Particularly when bearing the weight of gear on your back, comfort and safety both dictate having poles for maintaining balance, reducing fatigue, and anchoring yourself on ascents and descents. Look into Montem Ultra Strong Anti-Shock Trekking Poles for a good rundown of desirable features, including low weight, shock absorption and adjustable height.

National Park Service

America the Beautiful Pass

With a deal this good, how could we ever exclude it from our gift guide? For less than a C-note the annual pass grants access to 60 amazing national parks, plus over 2,000 federal recreation sites including national monuments, wildlife refuges, national forests and grasslands, and sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The pass covers entrance fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle. The cost of the annual pass is $80, or $20 for seniors over the age of 62. Seniors can also buy a lifetime pass for $80. Passes are free for American veterans, Americans with permanent disabilities and fourth-graders. Now that’s a deal!

National Parks at Night

2019 Calendar

With National Parks at Night’s “Long Nights, Beautiful Spaces” calendar, follow 2019 in the night photographer’s way, with all the info you need for scheduling shoots during new and full moons, meteor showers, festivals and more. Each month is adorned with a night photograph from some our favorite places: Olympic, Grand Canyon, Big Bend, Great Smoky Mountains, Lassen Volcanic and Bryce Canyon national parks, as well as Cuba, Devils Tower, Valley of Fire and more.

Biscayne and Redwood Prints

Biscayne and Redwood National Parks celebrated their 50th anniversaries this year. We were honored to be part of their ceremonies that culminated with a group print show of our workshop attendees’ photographs at both parks, sponsored by Bay Photo Lab. You can help continue to support those parks as well as get some great artwork on your wall when you purchase a print from our online gallery. You can choose from multiple formats—metal, canvas and paper, all at a plethora of sizes and price points. All profits go to Biscayne and Redwood. Support our parks!

Photography Books

Looking for some national park and night photography inspiration and education that you can always have at your fingertips? Choose from one of the four books written by members of the NPAN team!

  • Photographing National Parks by Chris Nicholson is a portable and concise look at each of our national parks and how to best capture them. Includes best locations, times and great info on each park to help you plan your next adventure.

  • Have someone new to the night? Gabriel Biderman and Tim Cooper’s book Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots (now in its third printing) is a great introduction to night photography, and it inspires you to get out there and seize the night!

  • Want an even deeper dive into the night? Lance’s book on night photography, Night Photography and Light Painting: Finding Your Way in the Dark, has long been the ultimate tome for those interested in a deep dive into the genre! The latest edition has an amazing chapter on the history of light painting and does an excellent job of balancing theory, history and enthusiasm for taking your night visions to the next level.

  • Light Painting is the most creative expression in night photography, and Tim Cooper’s ebook The Magic of Light Painting is a detailed exploration of all the illuminating possibilities that can happen when we practice the craft.

Night Photography Adventure Workshops

We simply love the outdoors, teaching and helping people get awesome pictures. So we’re super excited that many of our 2019 Passport Series workshops are already full. But we want you to share some of the magic as well! Our Passport workshops in Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon and Lassen Volcanic national parks still have a few openings.

We also have some seats in our Adventure Series workshops. These workshops were developed so that we could visit the varied and limitless beauty that lies outside of our national parks and the more typical workshop schedule. Experience the stark beauty of Devils Tower National Monument, camp and hike the hither regions of Olympic National Park on our Shi Shi Beach Backcountry adventure, or immerse yourself in the culture and night vibe of Cuba. Wherever and whenever it may be, we’d love to have you join us in 2019. Come and help us Seize the Night!

National Park Patch Lady

I Brake For Brown Signs Bumper Sticker

Who doesn’t get excited by those brown road signs? They always point us to something fun, interesting or awe-inspiring. Show your love for our national treasures by sporting this “I Brake For Brown Signs” bumper sticker from our fellow parks enthusiast Sandra Ramos, aka National Park Patch Lady.



We are very excited to see Nikon join the full-frame mirrorless world, and we have put the Z7 through the night paces. It’s frickin’ amazing, but those 100 MB file sizes make stacking stars a longer process than we prefer. We’ve been able to get our hands on the Z6 for a only hot minute, but it looks like the perfect companion to bring on our nocturnal adventures. The 24.5 megapixels will still give us tons of image quality to work with, without having to buy a new computer! The ISO image quality is an absolute game-changer. 6400 ISO is the new 1600, and we would not hesitate to use 12800 or even dabble with 25,600. If you are already a Nikon user, get the kit that comes with the FTZ adapter so you can use your current glass!


Starter Kit

The digital darkroom is far superior to the image-making technology of yesteryear, but let’s admit it—a mouse, touchpad or tablet doesn’t really provide intuitive controls for the sliders, buttons and checkboxes found in image-editing software. Enter Palette! Their system of interchangeable modules of physical sliders, buttons and dials allows you to take easy control of apps such as Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more. Magnetic connections allow you to rearrange the modules however they make sense to you, and the control app allows you to set whatever commands and functions you want quick access to. New to the Palette game? Try starting with the Starter Kit, which features a slide, a dial and two buttons. When you’re ready to grow, simply add more modules individually.

Peak Design

Travel Backpack 45L

The Travel Backpack 45L is the ultimate travel backpack that adapts to all of your journeys. Beautifully, comfortably and simply designed with the single idea that no two trips are the same. The exterior is incredibly durable with easy-to-access pockets and the interior is totally customizable for both photo and general travel. The large camera cube is perfect for a pure photo trip, but the packing cube, tech pouch and larger wash pouch convert the photo backpack into the perfect weekender. Shipping in December!

Photographers Breakthrough

Adobe Lightroom: Inside Library and Develop

Understanding how to organize, find and enhance your images in Lightroom is an essential skill for any photographer. Produced by our colleague and noted author Tim Cooper, the “Adobe Lightroom: Inside Library and Develop” video is as beneficial to the first-time user as it is to those who have been using the program for years. This 33-part, 6-hour training video starts at the very beginning with catalog creation and image organization, and ends by demonstrating high-end image enhancement. Concentrating on only the Library and Develop modules allows Tim to fully explain and demonstrate the most relevant aspects of this powerful program.

Special offer: Use coupon code “night” during checkout for 20 percent off.


PhotoPills App

Take Your Medicine. National Parks at Night just spent a weekend teaching with and learning more from Rafael Pons, the bard of PhotoPills. He’s the public face of the world’s best photography utility app, and he’s here to help. We’ve used and loved PhotoPills for years, but Rafa took us all, as well as our New York Night Photography Summit attendees, to the next level. The “pills” are individual utilities to help with different photography tasks. Convert exposures, calculate depth of field, determine where the Milky Way will be, or plan a photo idea from 3,000 miles away so you know in advance when the best time to get the shot will be. It’s really the only photo app you, and every photographer on your list, needs. Available for iOS and Android.


Explore 60

Creating a photo backpack that wears comfortably, and has smart organizational features inspired by serious backpackers, is a challenge. Fortunately, Shimoda nailed it. Their Explore 60 (it holds 60 cubic liters of gear) has an innovative harness system that adjusts for XL, L, M and S body types. The interior system has many module options, and each comes with a lightweight zipper bag for when you want to just go hiking without your camera gear. Matt lovingly calls his Shimoda 60L “the Kitchen Sink,” as it allows him to come prepared for almost anything on a workshop. Available in “blue nights” or “sea pine” colors.

Tether Tools

ONsite D-Tap Battery

Tether Tools is known for their studio solutions, and their new ONsite Power system is keenly geared to plugging in your computer wherever your shoot. However, it’s also a great solution if you need to recharge in remote locations. The ONsite D-Tap to AC Power Supply comes with two AC outlets and four USB connections, and when you connect the D-Tap Battery with V-Mount (sold separately) you get a ton of juice! It’s the perfect solution for day-to-night time-lapses, for long nighttime exposures, or for 2- to 3-day wilderness trips. Charge devices such as laptops, camera and flashlight batteries, tablets, phones and more—wherever power is needed. TSA approved for carry-on luggage.


Skadi Zipper Mitt Photography Glove

The Folks at Vallerret just don’t slow down. Their tireless pursuit of warm hands brings a crop of new releases this year including a revised version of the Markhof Pro model for mid-winter use, the Alta Over Mitt for Arctic conditions, and the new Skadi Zipper Mitt which provides the warmth and comfort of a mitten with the versatility of a glove. A warm, windproof merino wool and thinsulate lined mitten with an easy-to-grasp zipper covers a form-fitting glove that has touch sensitivity and allows for unimpeded camera adjustments in cold weather. The mitten is fully removable, and has an integrated leash so you don’t have to put them down if you need to momentarily take one off. The mitten has plenty of room for a hand warmer if you need it.

Van Cleef & Arpels

Midnight Planétarium Watch

Not just a watch. It’s a timepiece. One geared toward aficionados of the night. One that brings the story of the solar system to life on your wrist. Encased in pink gold, the Midnight Planétarium Watch depicts the real-life orbits of five planets—a serpentine Mercury, a chloromelanite Venus, a turquoise Earth, a red jasper Mars, a blue agate Jupiter and a sugilite Saturn—while a shooting star indicates earthly time. Priced a little over $200,000, which is far less than NASA spends to track the same information remotely.

Western Digital

My Passport Wireless Pro

Want to travel light on your next adventure but still have security for backing up your files? Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless Pro will make you think twice about hauling your laptop. This hard drive-plus offers direct download via SD slot, or you can plug your card reader into the USB 2.0 slot. From there you can wirelessly transmit and view the files on your tablet or phone. It’s compatible with both Mac and PC and can charge your USB connected devices as well. Available in capacities of 1TB to 4TB.


X-Rite i1 Photographer Kit

Are you trying to master your color management workflow? If you aren’t, then think again. Starting from a profiled and calibrated neutral setting for your camera and your computer monitor helps you to make better edit decisions. You’ll have the confidence of knowing that the colors you choose are the ones you will share with the world when you export your masterpieces. The X-Rite i1 Photographer Kit will help make that happen.



Named after the sure-footed Himalayan yak, Yaktrax help you get a grip! Night photography presents all sorts of challenges from basics like finding your way in the dark to the technical limitations of pushing your camera to the limit. Slipping and sliding on snow or ice shouldn’t get in the way of getting the shot, and Yaktrax are a simple and affordable solution to the slippery situations you might encounter this winter. They create a solid, secure grip with a patented system of coils or chains that bite into the ice below your feet. We used them last year in Iceland and found that the basic Walk model provided a measure of confidence in packed snow, but the Chains model gave us extra traction on both snow and ice, allowing us to safely get wherever we needed to go in order to get the shot.

YES Watch


We’ve always been a fan of the YES Watch, as a tool for keeping track of the times of sunrises and sunsets, moonrises and moonsets, and other similar information while globetrotting for photography. This year YES released a brand new model, the Equilibrium, that brings time tracking to a whole new level. Available with a wide choice of bevels, straps and finishes so you can customize your look.

Happy Holidays!

Remember, just like holidays, and just like gifts, gift guides are meant to be shared! Please feel free to forward this to anyone and everyone you think might be interested. Particularly if it’s someone who buys a gift for you!

And remember, this gift guide is also available as a PDF e-book that includes lots more photos, some exclusive discount codes, and photo tips from all five National Parks at Night instructors. You can download that for free right here:

NPAN 2018 Holiday Guide cover.jpg

Get your 2018 Gift Guide ebook

… for free!

From all of us at National Parks at Night, we wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season.

Tim Cooper is a partner and workshop leader with National Parks at Night. Learn more techniques from his book The Magic of Light Painting, available from Peachpit.

'Tis Once Again the Season: Our 2nd Annual Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again, and the fellas at National Parks at Night are here to help you find the best ideas for that special person in your life. Welcome to National Parks at Night’s second annual Holiday Gift Guide!

We’ve compiled some of our favorite things that help us explore and enjoy our parks more, and that help us capture and create more dynamic images! We kept our eyes open all year, tested the tools, and collated the absolute best and unique gifts that will warm the heart and hearth of any fan of national parks and night skies.

We’re providing all of our findings as a free downloadable PDF ebook, so you can read it and reference it on any device, anytime, anywhere. Inside you’ll find products from major brands such as B&H, Peak Design and Nikon, along with great little finds from smaller companies and startups. You can download it below, or keep on scrolling.

Help us spread the cheer by posting our guide on your favorite social media channels and share it with other like-minded photographers, friends and nature buffs!

If you prefer to read the guide in our blog, that's okay too; we're also publishing it right here, below. (Though, we will say the e-book version looks cooler. It contains a lot more pictures, photo tips from all five National Parks at Night instructors, and a discount code that doesn't appear anywhere else online, including this website.)

We hope that perusing the items in the guide will inspire you to give some great gifts to the night photographers in your life. (And if you’d like to give us one or two of these things, we won't argue!)

Wishing you all the very best, and hoping that you are taking advantage of seizing the longer winter nights!

—Gabe, Lance, Matt, Chris and Tim

Note: If you decide to purchase any of the items in this gift guide, please consider using the links included, as many help earn a small commission that help us improve the National Parks at Night workshop program.

Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders

To wander without being lost, we all need some sort of guide—whether that be spiritual or bound paper. For the latter, wander no further down the book aisle than Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, a how-to and why-to for finding the world’s best off-the-beaten-path and out-of-the-box travel locations. A regular travel guide would bring you to New Zealand, while Atlas Obscura brings you to the glowworm caves of North Island; a regular guide would show you how to safari in South Africa, while Atlas Obscura tells you about the pub inside a giant baobob tree. Don’t be just a traveler—be a discoverer, with Atlas Obscura.

Atmosphere Aerosol

Atmosphere Aerosol

Sometimes, charisma is not enough. To make the right mood happen, you need a little help. Grab a can of Atmosphere Aerosol to create additional mood, or to reveal the path of your light sources. Truly exceptional results with light painting to add drama to any scene.

B&H Photo Audio Pro Video

Gift Card

Have a photographer friend and don’t know what to get them? Let photographers choose their own gift at the world’s biggest and best resource for all your photo, video and image-making needs! We’ve never met anyone who complained about receiving a B&H Gift Card any time of the year!

National Parks at Night

‘ISO 6400 and Be There’ T-shirt

Photographers who have been around the block a few times will no doubt remember the phrase “f/8 and be there,” the street and event photographer’s motto and standard answer when asked, “How did you get that shot?” We revised the terminology for 21st century night photographers, and it’s become a rallying cry for us at National Parks at Night ever since. Show off your stars and take it as a point of honor to get out from behind your computer and set up your camera under the starry night sky. This super-soft, navy blue, Next Level poly/cotton crew shirt is available in sizes from small to 3XL, and is printed with glow-in-the-dark ink so you can read it when it really counts!

Bay Photo

Metal Print

In this digital age, we often forget to take our amazing images off the computer and make prints that we can share—prints that will last a lifetime. We absolutely love the image quality and longevity of Bay Photo’s metal prints. Sizes range from 2x3.6 inches to 4x8 feet, and five distinctive metal surfaces help you bring out the best of your work. For our night photography we prefer their mid-gloss and satin surfaces. Bay Photo also makes books and calendars, and our favorite standard floating prints are their thin wraps. So give the gift of a print or help a photographer celebrate their work on the wall.

Special offer: New customers to Bay Photo get 25 percent off their first purchase. Exclusive to the National Parks at Night community and If you are already a Bay Photo customer: Use the promo code “NPANM10” for 10 percent off metal prints , excluding Clusters and Splits; good through December 29, 2017.


SW2700PT 27" Widescreen LED Backlit QHD Monitor

We spend so much of our time looking at images on small screens––phones, tablets, laptops. While the quality and resolution of these screens has improved dramatically in recent years, they are no substitute for a quality display with accurate color that any serious photographer needs to produce quality work. BenQ makes some of the best there are. The National Parks at Night crew uses the SW2700PT 27" Widescreen LED Backlit QHD Monitor, which features 99 percent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space for more accurate color representation and features 2560x1440 QHD resolution with 109 pixels per inch for increased clarity. In short, display your photos with the best possible light!


Chimani Perks

If you want an app to help you navigate the national parks and all they offer, you’ll find no need to look further than Chimani. Not only do their apps give you the what and where of the parks, but they provide the photographer with critical information, including sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, golden hour, blue hour times and more, including photos of popular and out-of-the-way shoot locations. The apps are free (yay!) but the gift idea here is a membership to the Chimani Perks program, which provides discounts and special offers throughout the national parks and the communities that serve them.

Coast Portland

FL75R Headlamp

Along with a good flashlight for light painting, the headlamp is one of the most useful tools in the night photographer’s tool bag. In keeping with their tradition of high-quality, durable flashlights (preferred by National Parks at Night instructors), Coast offers an extensive line of LED headlamps. Our favorite is the FL75R, which features focusable wide-angle beams, low and high output, and dual-color beams with red to preserve your night vision.

Special offer: Use the code “parksatnight” for a 30 percent discount available only through National Parks at Night.


Leather Card Holder Wallet

The perfect gift for the shutterbug in your life: a luxurious leather wallet with slots for four SD cards, credit cards, an ID and more. We discovered this at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City this year and ordered one on the spot. Bye, old wallet! Hello, new friend.


Night Photography Week Online Course

Can’t make it to a workshop this year? No problem, we’ve got you covered. Our team got together and spent a week recording our favorite night photography topics, with CreativeLive, the best in the business at bringing high-quality instructional videos via livestream and download. Our CreativeLive Night Photography Week videos cover everything from night photography fundamentals to scouting to astro-landscape to light painting to night portraiture. Great for the photographer new to night photography as well the seasoned enthusiast.


SureColor P400 Inkjet Printer

Quiz: How many dots does 5760x1440 dpi yield in an 8x10-inch print? 663,552,000. That’s what you can expect from this new Epson P400 printer that packs advanced tech with simplified use. Print borderless at 13x19-inches or stunning Milky Way panoramas up to 13x129 inches with roll paper. Prints for the win!

Special offer: $100 rebate until November 20, 2017. See details when clicking the link above.

Grey Learning

Mastering Lightroom Bundle

We understand. Everyone’s Lightroom catalog can get out of control. But don’t worry, our friend Tim Grey can help. Check out Tim’s “Cleaning up Your Mess in Lightroom” video. Tim’s a great instructor and his video will show you how to bring order to chaos in your Lightroom world. Or, even better … this video is part of Tim’s overall-excellent “Mastering Lightroom” bundle of downloadable tutorial videos, which will help you organize and optimize your photos to the level that only Grey learners achieve!

Special offer: Use coupon code “night” during checkout for 20 percent off any course or bundle.


11mm f/4 Blackstone lens

If you like shooting wide, you’ll love the Irix 11mm lens. A true rectilinear lens, this is no fisheye. Did we mention it’s wide? You’d better stay behind the camera when you use it, otherwise you might just end up in your own shot. Irix lenses are available in two versions: The all-metal Blackstone, and the lighter-weight Firefly. Both versions feature a solid and sure manual focus ring with an infinity detent and a unique focus-locking ring. Once you achieve infinity or hyperfocal focus, lock it down, and don’t worry about focus again.

Light Painting Brushes

9in Black Fiber Optic Brush

Perhaps no other light painting tool comes closer to actually being able to paint with light than these fiber optic brushes. They are especially useful for portrait work and they are most effective when used to actually brush the subject during a long exposure. The black version of brush shows light only at the ends of the fibers, for precise placement of the illumination. The white version creates broader, softer strokes, and lights a larger surface area. Paint the Light Fantastic!

Special offer: Use the code “LKW_20” for a 20 percent discount available only through National Parks at Night.


Viola 5" On-Camera RGB LED Light

Night photography’s new darling tool! Ideal for light painting and Low-level Landscape Lighting effects. The Luxli Viola’s native color temperature adjusts from 3000 K to 10,000 K, and you can also dial in all the colors in the world. Bonus: Bluetooth control for remote intensity and color adjustments of up to nine Violas at a time. Wow.


Befree Advanced Travel Aluminum Tripod with Ball Head

Manfrotto’s new update to the Befree tripod series boasts some cool features: the lightweight yet strong 494 ball head, M-lock mechanisms for fast setup or QPL Travel Levers for those who prefer flip locks, and a newly redesigned body that’s stronger and smaller.

National Parks at Night

2018 Calendar

Here’s a great gift for yourself or that night photography friend of yours. Our National Parks at Night 2018 Calendar, featuring photos from parks around the United States—plus Iceland and Scotland—is an inspiring way to stay up to date. Useful information such as important astronomical events, lunar dates and national park birthdays are included to help you plan your shoots.


35" Smart Frame

You haven’t seen a digital frame until you’ve had the pleasure of seeing a Memento. Situated in a wood composite frame and a beveled mat, the ultra-HD 4K display contains 7 million pixels that will make your photographs look even better than you can imagine. Controlled completely by Wi-Fi via a free app on your computer, tablet or phone (even remotely!), the frame can store up to 3,000 images. Group your photos in playlists to display at different times of day, and custom-set the interval from 5 seconds to one week to never. Moreover, the frame’s smart technology will dim the display in low light, and turn off when the room lights turn out. Offered in 25- and 35-inch models in five stain colors.

National Geographic

‘Night Vision’ book

A brilliant coffee table book released this fall, National Geographic Night Vision: Magical Photographs of Life After Dark After Dark offers a collection of 230 photographs from some of the best image-makers in the business. 400 pages of night photography from both natural and urban spaces all over the world, including national parks.

National Park Service

Annual Pass

We can only assume that you must be a fan of our primary source of inspiration, the United States’ 59 amazing national parks! You probably know that the America the Beautiful pass gains access to all of those parks for a full year, but did you know that the annual or lifetime senior pass also gets you access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites including national monuments, wildlife refuges, national forests and grasslands, and to sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers? The passes cover entrance, fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle. The cost of the annual pass is $80, or $20 for seniors over the age of 62. Seniors can also buy a lifetime pass for $80. Passes are free for American veterans, Americans with permanent disabilities, and fourth-graders!



2017 is the centennial of the Nikon Corporation, and the D850 is a truly worthy camera to be released on such a momentous occasion. If you haven’t heard about the D850 by now, you must still be shooting film. Designed as a replacement for the venerable D810, this camera is a night photographer’s dream. Super high resolution, extremely wide dynamic range and outstanding high ISO performance, all in a weatherized housing that is only slightly heavier than a D750. National Parks at Night just had our first experiences with this great new camera at our last workshop of 2017. Now it’s on all of our holiday wish lists!


Natural-Night Filter

Even in some of the darkest locations in the world, the night sky is still tainted by light pollution, much of which is due to ubiquitous high pressure sodium vapor lights. The NiSi Natural Night Filter minimizes scattered light from sodium vapor and mercury vapor street lights. Natural-Night is available in 100x100mm and 150x150mm square filters, and 77mm and 82mm threaded filters. The result is more pleasing, natural-looking skies in your astro and astro-landscape photos.

Outdoor Photographer

Magazine subscription

The photography world is full of fine publications, and one that speaks directly to us and our like is Outdoor Photographer—dedicated to helping photographers capture their very best images of the natural world. From how-to articles to location advice to travel stories to gear reviews and more, Outdoor Photographer will keep readers focused on the latest and greatest news in our niche. Available in print and digital subscriptions.

National Parks at Night

Night Photography Adventure Workshops

We simply love being outdoors, teaching and helping people get great pictures. Many of our 2018 Passport Series workshops are full, but we do have a few slots open on our Biscayne, Redwood and Rocky Mountain national park events. Last year we added the Adventure Series workshops to our lineup too, so that we could visit the varied and limitless beauty that lies outside of our national parks and teach special topics or advanced techniques. Experience the unfettered creativity of night portraiture, explore the depths of a metal machinery in Sloss Furnaces, or light paint the ancient Pueblo ruins of Chaco Canyon. Our road trips include the Blue Ridge Parkway and the south coast of Iceland. Come seize the night with us in 2018!


Aluminum Expert Control Surface Kit

There’s a communication barrier between photographers and their computer. We need to tell them what to do, but we’re limited by the languages of key presses, mouse movements, trackpad gestures, tablet scribblings, et al. Palette eases that communication by providing a suite of custom-configurable modules that you can use to tell Lightroom and Photoshop (and more!) exactly what to do with intuitive motions and tools. Slide a slider for exposure, turn a dial for color temperature, push a button for picks or rejects, and so on. Choose your options to fit your workflow, and finally you and your computer will be speaking the same language. Multiple kits available—the Expert Kit is a great place to start.

Peak Design

Everyday Sling 10L

Big bags are great for transporting your gear from point A to B, C and beyond. But we always bring a smaller bag with us that is better for a smaller, simpler, scouting kit. The Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L has been a favorite of ours this last year. We can fit a DSLR or mirrorless camera plus two to three lenses and a flash. There’s lots of room for extra batteries and cards, and you can even strap a travel tripod to the bottom. We were so impressed with the Everyday Sling 10L that we made a video in the Galapagos showcasing how much you could pack in it! Looking for something even smaller? Peak Design just announced the even more compact Everyday Sling 5L. It’s perfect for a DSLR and up to a 24-70mm/24-105mm lens or a mirrorless camera plus two lenses, and also works excellently for transporting the DJI Mavic Pro and Spark Drones.

Special offer: Receive a free gift with a purchase over $65 by using the link above.


Photo-Scouting App

For the shooter who wants to get the most out of their night photography, there isn’t a more full-featured tool than the app PhotoPills. Our favorite feature is Night AR (Augmented Reality), where you can observe the location of the Milky Way, moon and more—all overlaid on the scene in front of you, with sky positions now and in the future. That makes being in the right place at the right time easy! Available for iOS and Android.

Ranger Doug’s Enterprises

WPA Posters

The original national park poster program was launched in 1938 and lasted until 1941. They used WPA artists to give their now nostalgic interpretation of our national parks. Due to the posters’ fragile nature, only 2,000 original copies have survived. However, Ranger Doug Enterprises (founded by an actual former national park ranger) has faithfully reproduced these serigraph images as posters and cards. They make the perfect memorabilia to hang on your wall. Or, send a postcard to a friend with detailed plans on your next national park adventure!

Room Essentials

LED Tea Lights

Tea lights, really? Yes! A super inexpensive and lightweight addition to the light painter’s tool kit. They are easy to place in hard-to-paint areas and are great for long exposure night photography. These low-output LED light sources mimic the natural light of a candle, and last for over 100 hours.

National Parks at Night Instructors

Photography Books

NPAN books strip.jpg

The National Parks at Night instructors have written five books that are definitive guides to popular photography subjects, all of which make excellent gifts. Moreover, the complete set can keep the photographer in your life well informed and educated about topics ranging from national park locations to how to shoot in the dark.


RTC-10 Timer-Remote Case for Tripods

Like a Snuggie for your intervalometer. Avoid stressing the jack on the side of your camera by storing your intervalometer or remote shutter release on your tripod leg in this handy case by Ruggard. Simple to attach with hook and loop fastener, and always there when you need it.


XA Pro 3D and XA Pro 3D GTX

We’ll never stop saying it: The first priority when working in the dark is safety. And one of the starting points of safety is where your feet meet the earth. Walking around in the dark in the wilderness requires footing you can rely on, and Salomon is one of our favorite solutions. Their XA Pro 3D trail-runners have a wide heel base that helps prevent rolling an ankle, an aggressive tread that keeps you from slipping while toeing from spot to spot, and light weight that makes moving around a breeze—particularly with expensive camera gear on your back or your shoulder. Available in breathable mesh and Gore Tex waterproof models (we own and use both!).


Book & Time-Lapse Video

Harun Mehmedinovic and Gavin Heffernan have been making incredible time-lapse movies promoting dark sky awareness for several years.  A year ago they Kickstarted the SkyGlow astrophotography book and time-lapse video series. Educate yourself on dark sky locations and light-polluted cities in North America in their beautiful coffee table book.

Special offer: Use the code “SKYGLOW15” for 15 percent off everything in their store until December 26th. In addition, the first 500 orders priced $25 and above will also receive a signed 10x7-inch archival quality print!


Tether Tools

Jerkstopper ProTab Cable Ties

Keep your cables and cords nice and tidy with Tether Tools ProTab Cable Ties. Great for keeping all those wires that we have in our life organized, and for keeping them from being tangled together when packing and transporting. We find the medium size works best for our computer, charging, headphone and intervalometer cables. But they have larger sizes perfect for extension cords, surge protectors and the like.


Trivial Pursuit National Parks Travel Edition

Which national park is home to Exit Glacier? In which state are 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the U.S. found? Which chatty, problem-solving avian found in Arches National Park is a prominent figure in both European and Native American folklore? Do you know those answers? Then you win! With Trivial Pursuit National Parks edition, one up on the essential and obscure facts about America’s beloved National Parks anywhere. Heck, you can even play the game with other people! We discovered this in the gift shop at Olympic National Park and bought it on the spot. Included is a plastic hard case that feels like a weather-beaten sign, carabiner and die for play. Fits neatly in a camera bag!


Ipsoot Photography Glove

Finding the right glove for night photography has been an ongoing project for us at National Parks at Night. There are lots of options to choose from, but until now the right glove for truly cold weather proved elusive. The challenge was to design a glove that offers both protection from extreme cold and the dexterity to operate a camera in those same conditions. The Ipsoot photography glove from Vallerret is a heavier duty glove that provides extra protection against the elements for when it really gets cold. If a little cold won’t slow you down, and you still want to get out there and shoot in the dead of winter, the new Ipsoot Glove is the answer.

Special offer: Use code “NPANworkshop” for a free pair of merino wool liners with the purchase of gloves at the link above. (Add the liners to the shopping cart for the code to work.)


Three-Axis Hot-Shoe Bubble Level

It’s hard to see in the dark, and even though lots of cameras have a built-in level to help us keep our horizon line straight, we find that the external Vello Three-Axis Hot-Shoe Bubble Level does a far superior job. This bubble level really shines when we shoot off axis—such as when we shoot upward to include more sky. The level is simple, small and slides right into your hot shoe to keep you on the level!


i1Studio Spectrophotometer

Don’t assume you’re seeing the right colors or brightness. Know it. Calibrate your monitors, mobile devices, projectors and printers with the all-encompassing solution: X-Rite’s i1Studio. Included is a mini ColorChecker for making camera profiles and color-balancing your RAW files. If you don’t use color management, then when you post or print, your final product might not match the way you want it to! Be calibrated; be sure.

Happy Holidays!

Remember, just like holidays, and just like gifts, gift guides are meant to be shared! Please feel free to forward this to anyone and everyone you think might be interested. Particularly if it’s someone who buys a gift for you!

And remember, this gift guide is also available as a PDF e-book that includes lots more photos, an exclusive discount code on one of the products mentioned above, and photo tips from Chris, Matt, Tim, Lance and myself. You can download the PDF by clicking right here.

From all of us at National Parks at Night, we wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season.

Gabriel Biderman is a partner and workshop leader with National Parks at Night. He is a Brooklyn-based fine art and travel photographer, and author of Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Peachpit, 2014). During the daytime hours you'll often find Gabe at one of many photo events around the world working for B&H Photo’s road marketing team. See his portfolio and workshop lineup at


'Tis the Season to be Gifting: Our Guide for Night Photographers

Well, the holidays are upon us. How can I tell? I’ve eaten turkey-based foodtstuff six days in a row.

With that in mind (the holidays, not turkey), I and my National Parks at Night partners started thinking about things we’d like as gifts. … Oops, I mean things that other night photographers might like as gifts.

So we put together a list of great products related to photography, the night sky and the national parks, then thought about why we love these items. Then we wrote it all up and published it as our very first "National Parks at Night Holiday Gift Guide."

This Gift Guide is our gift to you. We’re providing it as a free downloadable PDF ebook, so you can read it and reference it on any device, anytime, anywhere. Inside you’ll find products from major brands such as Nikon, Manfrotto and Apple, along with great little finds from smaller companies and startups. You can download it here:

Feel free to share the guide, too. Blog it. Tweet it. Facebook it. Email it to a friend. Print some copies and stand in Times Square shouting, "Hear ye hear ye read all about it! Amazing gifts for night photographers!" Holidays are for happiness, so spread the cheer.

If you prefer to read the guide in our blog, that's okay too; we're also publishing it right here, below. (Though, we will say the ebook version looks cooler. It has a lot more pictures, plus it contains two discount codes that don't appear anywhere else online, including this website.)

We hope that perusing the items in the guide will inspire you to give some great gifts to the night photographers in your life. And if you’d like to give us one or two of these things, we won't argue!

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles—none of these are likely on the holiday wish-lists of night photographers. Why? Because those don’t help us shoot in the dark. (Though we might welcome warm woolen mittens.)

However, the photography industry is full of products that do help us, or that we covet at least for the fun of owning and using them. In one way or another, all help us make better photos, and all help us have more fun in the dark.

If you’re searching for the perfect gift for the nocturnal photographer in your life, then we’re here to help. The following includes a few of our favorite things for seizing the night.

—Gabe, Tim, Matt, Lance & Chris

p.s. — If you decide to purchase any of the items in this gift guide, please consider using the links included, as many help earn a small commission that supports the National Parks at Night workshop program.


iPad Mini 4

A tablet is one of the most useful ancillary tools in modern photography. The iPad Mini 4 is certainly among the best in the category, and easy to carry in a camera bag. Use it for apps that help you scout national park locations—such as Chimani, Photo Pills or Photographer’s Ephemeris. Or use it for apps that help you produce better night photography—such as Tack Sharp or even Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Also use it for keeping up with emails, making photo notes on-site, or carrying your portfolio of fantastic night images everywhere you go.

B&H Photo Video Pro Audio

Gift Card

We promise you—if you want to let the photographer decide, there’s no gift card they’d rather have than one from the mothership of all camera stores, B&H. Cards are available in varying amounts, can be used online or in-store, and they fit perfectly in a stocking.

Coast Portland


Hands-down, our favorite flashlight for light painting. The HP7R outputs up to 300 lumens of bright light in a perfectly even beam, allowing for smooth painting of objects near or far, and features three power modes and a slide focus for honing or broadening the illumination. It can be powered by either alkaline or lithium batteries, and rechargeables can be recharged right inside the casing using the included micro USB connector. Moreover, the HP7R is impact- and weather-resistant and comes with a lifetime warranty.

(For a 25% discount available only through National Parks at Night, use the code “PARKSATNIGHT.”)


Night Photography Week Online Course

CreativeLive offers some of the very best photography education on the internet, and our favorite (though we admit bias) is the Night Photography Week bundle we created with them in 2016. From the entire National Parks at Night crew, learn about gear, scouting, astrolandscapes, light painting, night portraiture and more. The course comprises nearly 18 hours of instruction in 82 class segments, plus bonus materials that include information on camera and light-painting gear, lists of apps to help with location scouting and night photography, and articles about topics such as camera settings and the 400 Rule.

Digital Silver Imaging

Museum-Quality Print

The end product of successful photography is a beautiful print, but in this busy modern age too few of us have time to dedicate to our digital darkroom. So the perfect gift for the photographer in your life could be a top-notch print of his or her work. Digital Silver Imaging is the place to get it. DSI combines the best of digital technology and chemical-based silver printing to create works of stunning quality. The proof is in the print, or in the clientele—regular DSI customers include museums, collectors and photographers with a discerning eye for perfection.

(For a 15% discount available only through National Parks at Night, use the code “NPAN16.”)


GH3382QD Series 3 Center Ball Head

For the past couple of years Gitzo had been promising an A-grade ball head, and then they delivered an A+ instead. The GH3382QD Arca-type compatible head is low-profile, low-weight and can hold a 40-pound camera/lens combo with no creep or fuss. Moreover, loosen the screw-knob lock and due to the tungsten disulfide coating, the ball moves 360 degrees as smooth as silk.



If you’re tired of your intervalometer dangling from your tripod, blowing in the wind, shaking your camera and ruining your long exposures, the most elegant solution we’ve seen is the Intervalock. Secured to a tripod leg by a Velcro strap, this portable pocket will keep almost any model of intervalometer still and accessible.

Light Painting Brushes

Deluxe Starter Kit

Light Painting Brushes offers a comprehensive set of unique light-writing tools that is sure to stir the creative juices of any night photographer. Their Deluxe Starter Kit includes universal flashlight connectors, along with tools for creating light orbs, light sculptures, light graffiti and anything else you can imagine.

Lonely Speck


One of the challenges of photographing astrolandscapes is focusing on the sky in the dark. That’s where Sharpstar2 saves the day (er, the night). Based on astronomy technology, this special filter uses a Bahtinov Mask to help you achieve perfect focus on the stars. Simply verify the focus pattern in your camera’s Live View, and sharpness is assured.

(For a 10% discount available only through National Parks at Night, use the code “NPAN10.”)



Night photographers need support that is strong and stable, as well as easy to use in the dark. We also like a lack of weight, particularly because we’re often carrying two tripods into the field for multiple long-exposure setups. The Manfrotto 190go! exceeds all these needs as the perfect tripod for either a primary or secondary support system (or both!). It closes down to less than 18 inches and is available in aluminum and superlight carbon fiber versions. Plus, to create an all-in-one night photography support solution, add an Easy Link attachment to hold a focusing light.


National Parks Scratch Off Travel Map

For the national parks buff, little is more satisfying than tracking where you’ve explored. Mappinners helps with its National Parks Scratch Off Travel Map. This 36x24-inch awesome wall decoration features scratch-off spots for all 59 U.S. national parks, so you can track your footsteps across the country’s greatest natural spaces.

National Park Service

Annual Pass

We photographers love to visit national parks, and for good reason: They contain some of the most wonderful wildernesses in all of the land, ready for our cameras and creative minds. But gosh, those entrance fees can add up. That’s why a National Park Service annual pass is an ideal complement to any photographer’s pocket. For just $80 (or $20 for seniors—lifetime!), the holder can enter any NPS unit for free.

National Parks at Night

Photography Books

Four of the National Parks at Night instructors have written definitive guides to popular photography subjects, all of which make excellent gifts. Moreover, the complete set can keep the photographer in your life well informed and educated about topics ranging from national park locations to how to shoot in the dark.

2017 Night Photography Calendar

We’ve compiled a ton of information useful to night photographers—including the dates of new and full moons, national park night-sky festivals, celestial and astronomical events, astronomy holidays (yep), as well as inspirational quotes about the night sky—and combined it with some of our favorite national parks night photographs. The result? “Seize the Night,” our very first wall calendar!



Put simply, you can’t get a better camera for night photography, particularly at this price point. At under $2,000, the Nikon D750 has everything a night photographer could want in a body right now: It has low noise at high ISOs, ISO invariance, ability to pull tremendous detail out of underexposed images, and a T (time) setting on the shutter speed dial, as well as being lightweight and compact. But really, it’s all about the image quality, and the D750 outshines all the other options under the stars. To level up the gift, add one of the best lenses for seizing the night, the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8.


Aluminum Professional Control Surface Kit

There are the usual ways of manipulating adjustment controls in Lightroom and Photoshop—a mouse or a touchpad (ack!) to name the very most common two. Both can be tedious. But you know what’s a lot easier? Using the sliders, dials and buttons provided with a Palette Aluminum Professional Control Surface Kit. Assign each tool to whatever adjustment you want, and digital editing gets much more intuitive. Other size kits are available, and the module configuration is completely customizable. Palette also works with Illustrator, After Effects, InDesign, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro.

Peak Design

Everyday Backpack

For spacious and convenient storage in a robust yet exquisite design, look no further. The Everyday Backpack, available in two sizes, holds just about anything you need when venturing into the field or into the office. It’s adaptable, partly due to moveable dividers, and partly due to the integration of Peak Design’s Capture Clip points that allow you to quickly attach or detach cameras or accessories. And while it’s great at holding whatever you need it to, the MagLatch clasp and the dual side-loading, weatherproof, zippered access points facilitate getting those things in and out quickly. Also, look into the optional Field Pouch, a perfect size for storing light-painting tools.

Tether Tools

Case Relay Camera Power System

Long night exposures can deplete a camera battery pretty quickly. The best power-loss prevention is a hearty external battery. Tether Tools offers an ideal solution with its Case Relay, a light and portable setup that, when combined with their rechargeable 10,000-mAh Rock Solid External Battery Pack, can keep you powered-up all night.

Tyler Nordgren

Stars Above, Earth Below: A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks

Tyler Nordgren—an astronomer, astronomy professor and avid night photographer based in California—offers a fresh perspective on our favorite topic: the night skies of the national parks. In Stars Above, Earth Below: A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks, Nordgren touches on many of the night-sky wonders we encounter in our most precious spaces, helping us better understand what we’re so passionate about photographing. Also check out Nordgren’s series of “Half the Park is After Dark” posters from his dark-sky awareness campaign with the National Park Service.


Trigger Mitt

Night photographers often find themselves in finger-numbing conditions, so yes, those warm woolen mittens we mentioned earlier really would be handy. But even better is the Trigger Mitt, a set of gloves designed specifically for photographers working in cold conditions (like, ya know, night). More accurately a half-glove, half-mitten, the Trigger Mitt is designed to keep unused photo fingers together and warm, while allowing the thumb and pointer to move freely. A thin but comfy layer of insulation keeps the Mitts more pliable than the ski gloves that so many photographers use, ensuring that you maintain a great feel for your camera.


Shutterboss II

An intervalometer is practically required gear for the night photographer—so important that it’s even a good idea to carry an extra. The Shutterboss II is one of our most preferred. The backlit display is easy to read at night, making it simple to configure for continuous shooting, self-timer, long time exposures and interval shooting.


i1Display Pro

Once the photos are home in the computer, we want them to look right—and helping us do that is X-Rite. The i1Display Pro works with all modern monitors, ensuring color accuracy throughout your entire workflow, from screen to print or projector. Features include Advanced Filter and Optical Systems, and an ambient meter that can adjust your display output in changing light conditions.

For more information about gear mentioned in this post:

Chris Nicholson is the author of Photographing National Parks (Sidelight Books, 2015). Learn more about national parks as photography destinations, subscribe to Chris' free e-newsletter, and more at

Upcoming workshops from National Parks at Night