Archive for the ‘Gift Guides’ Category

Amazon Introduces Eight Days of Black Friday Deals, With New Deals Every Ten Minutes

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Amazon.comSEATTLE – Nov. 20, 2014 (NASDAQ: AMZN) – Today, announced BlackFriday deals will start even earlier this year, beginning on Friday, November 21, and adding new deals as often as every ten minutes for eight straight days. Plus, Amazon will introduce three coveted Deals of the Day starting on Thanksgiving at midnight, as well as three more on Black Friday – this is in addition to thousands of limited-time Lightning Deals at Customers can shop Amazon on any device, including smartphones and tablets, and enjoy top Black Friday deals anytime and anywhere. Amazon Prime members will continue to receive 30-minutes early access to select Lightning Deals, including many sought-after Black Friday deals. By taking advantage of Prime early access, members will get the first pick of some of the hottest gifts and holiday essentials.  Start a free trial of Amazon Prime at

“Our customers are redefining Black Friday shopping. They want to stay home with family, enjoy some turkey and football and shop the hottest deals from their phone, tablet or PC,”said Steve Shure, Amazon Vice President Worldwide Marketing. “Starting November 21, we will add new deals as often as every 10 minutes, for eight days, including tech, toys, tools and more.”

This year, Amazon customers can also shop Black Friday deals while also giving to the charity of their choice. Start at, find the same deals, but with one added bonus – Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase to the favorite charity.

Following are examples of some of the door-buster deals that will be available at various times between November 21 and Black Friday


  • Up to 45% off select Samsung TVs including: Samsung 40-inch Smart LED 4K Ultra HD TV for $598; Samsung 55-inch Curved Smart LED 4K Ultra HD TV for $1,298
  • 32-inch LED TV, $79
  • 40-inch 1080p LED TV, $119
  • Toshiba 50-inch LED TV, $199
  • VIZIO 55-inch Smart LED TV, $478
  • LG 65-inch 120 Hz LED TV, $648
  • Samsung 55-inch Smart LED 4K Ultra HD TV, $899
  • Save up to 20% on Intel-powered laptops and 2-in-1s
  • LG G3 and HTC One M8 smart phones for $0.01 with a new 2 year contract
  • Top selling DSLR with two-lenses for under $500
  • Select Beats Studio Over-Ear Headphones, $199.99
  • Xbox One console at the lowest price ever from Amazon, plus over $150 value in digital content
  • Roku LT Streaming Media Player, $28
  • Panasonic Smart 3D Blu-Ray Player, $35
  • Plantronics Bluetooth Headset, $19.99


Books, Movies and Music:

  • More than 50 Kindle books for $1.99 each including titles from Philip K. Dick and Ann Patchett
  • 80% off The Complete Sherlock Holmes Heirloom Collection
  • More than 80% off Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey, Collector’s Edition
  • 50% off Diary of a Wimpy Kid Box of Books 1-8, plus The Do-It-Yourself Book
  • Save on popular books starting at 40% off
  • Save on autographed albums including Sam Hunt’s Montevallo and Michael W Smith’s The Spirit of Christmas
  • Hourly Lightning Deals with savings up to 90% on over 90 movies and TV shows
  • Up to 58% off 11,000+ popular movies and TV shows including X-Men: Days of Future Past, Friends: The Complete Series, Downton Abbey, and more


  • Amazon Wine will feature deep discounts starting at 60% off on over 100 unique wines


  • Up to 40% off TaylorMade Drivers (11/28 only)
  • Save Over 40% Off FT7 Polar Heart Rate Monitor


Patio, Lawn & Garden:

Arts, Crafts & Sewing:

Tools and Home Improvement:

Home and Pets:

  • Up to 30% off select Dyson products, including vacuums and heating/cooling fans
  • Up to 20% off select Petmate Chuckit! Pet Toys



  • Save on car seats and strollers including 35% off select Graco strollers, car seats and 20% off Maxi-Cosi car seats, strollers and accessories
  • Save $250 or more on Samsung baby care washers
  • 50% off Levana Sophia Video Baby Monitor
  • Save up to 40% on select BABYBJORN bouncers, travel cribs and carriers
  • Save up to 30% on select Skip Hop diaper bags
  • Select Columbia fleece for baby boys and girls, $17.99
  • Baby girls Calvin Klein and Nautica clothing sets, under $15
  • Baby boys Calvin Klein clothing sets, under $15


  • Select women’s and men’s sweaters, under $20
  • Select women’s boots, under $50
  • 50% off Vince Camuto Handbag
  • 50% off men’s Patagonia shoes
  • $14 Amazon exclusive Girls’ Bathrobe and Slipper Sets
  • 50% off Amazon exclusive ‘The LEGO Movie’ Watch Set
  • $10 and under for Frozen apparel  for girls
  • 50% off Nina dress shoes for girls
  • 60% off Calvin Klein for boys
  • $17 and under Nautica hoodies and sweaters for boys
  • Under Armour clothing sets for boys, $29.99
  • 50% off Hush Puppies dress shoes for boys


  • $99.99 14K gold .025 carats diamond stud earrings
  • $29 Swarovski Crystal earrings and necklaces
  • $29.99 Freshwater pearl 3-piece jewelry set
  • $19.99 and under fashion statement bracelets
  • Invicta Women’s Angel Multifunction watches starting at $69.99
  • 60% off or more on select men’s Kenneth Cole watches

Health & Beauty:

  • Save up to $75 on Men’s Grooming products including the Braun Series 7-790cc Pulsonic Men’s Shaving System and the Panasonic ER-GB40-S cordless moustache and beard trimmer
  • Save up to $30 on Oral-B toothbrushes
  • Save 30% on Nivea Men skin care products including Nivea For Men Active3 Body Wash for body, hair & shave (Pack of 3)
  • 60% off CoverGirl Outlast Lipcolor Brazen Raisin Holiday Gift Set
  • 20% off 31″ SpaMaster Stationary LX
  • 40% off Shany cosmetics
  • 22% off Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale

All prices available at select times and while supplies last.

Amazon Appstore Offers Over $115 in Top Paid Apps for Free on Android Devices

To get into the spirit of Thanksgiving, today only, Amazon Appstore is offering SpinArt for free. Starting on Thanksgiving and for a limited time, Amazon Appstore will offer a Free App of the Day bundle, featuring over $115 in top paid apps and games for free on Android devices. Throughout the holiday season, the Amazon Appstore will have hundreds of titles that are either free, or available between 50% – 90% off. The Amazon Appstore is available directly on Fire devices, from any computer, and on Android devices. Find out more at

Thanksgiving Becomes a Mobile Shopping Holiday

Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest mobile shopping days on Amazon. Between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday last year, Amazon customers ordered more than five toys per second from a mobile device. With Amazon’s free mobile shopping app, customers can go from “I want that” to “I bought that” in under 30 seconds. Plus, the latest Amazon app for Android phones includes support for Android Wear devices, extending the mobile shopping experience to smart watches and making Amazon accessible anywhere your watch can go.

Follow Amazon on Instagram

Amazon’s Instagram feed is now shoppable. For any products Amazon posts on Instagram, simply click the URL on Amazon’s profile page in Instagram and you will land on to shop those clever and giftable products featured weekly on the popular social network. is now on Snapchat

Customers can now follow ‘’ on Snapchat.  Amazon will be publishing fun and funny gift ideas, exclusive content, and other interesting products on Snapchat.  Amazon will also periodically release deals – customers should note the deal code from Snapchat and visit for more details.

Fast, Free Shipping Everyday on Amazon
Amazon Prime members enjoy unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on more than 20 million items. To become a member or to learn more about the membership program, customers can visit  Amazon also offers free shipping on millions of items every day, year-round, on eligible orders $35 and over.

About Amazon opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire phone, Fire tablets, and Fire TV are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.

Photographer’s Holiday Gift Guide 2013

December 8, 2013 Comments off

camera_medIf you have a photographer in your life, then this gift guide is the key to his or her happiness this holiday season. No photographer, amateur or professional, has everything he or she wants. There’s always some light, lens, or gadget that’s missing and she’s just never taken the time to buy it or it slips her mind until there’s a special need. You can fill that void with these ideas but first there’s something you have to do.

You have to listen to and observe your photographer. What subjects does she shoot? Does she only photograph people? Does she only work outdoors? Does she like to create short films? Does she ever work with film or is she a digital only type? Does your photographer ever take pictures with her phone? It’s a real thing called Phoneography and there are a lot of apps and accessories available for it. Ask a few questions. It won’t kill you to find out a few details before embarking on a shopping spree.

And you have the choice of enhancing your photographer’s equipment list or expanding it in a different direction. For example, if your photographer only shoots outdoors, you could buy her some studio lights and backdrops to give her a chance to try some portraiture or product photography.

If she’s a digital only shooter, you should buy her an old school film camera and let her creativity flow. Yes, lots of people still use film. In fact, more people now use film than ever before and there are some really cool ones available that extend your sight beyond the normal.

Here are the “goto” websites that you need to know for photography gear, cameras, lenses, and accessories.


I’ll go out on a limb here and say that most serious photographers know about Adorama. It is the primary goto site for all things professional or prosumer, a term that means a high-end consumer who might be a part-time freelance photographer or someone who uses professional equipment. Although bent toward the professional, your up and coming amateur can benefit from better lighting, a higher quality tripod, or a new telephoto lens.

There are shopping tabs on the site that direct you to products that fit your budget or those oriented toward him or her. For example, there are tabs labeled Under $50, Under $100, Under $200 up to Over $500. You can also purchase Adorama gift cards from the front page. Trust me when I say that you’ll see a happy face when your photographer opens an Adorama gift card. A gift card is a great idea, especially if you have no clue as to what your photographer wants or needs.

There are also tabs that are product specific, such as Studio & Lighting, Cameras, Tripods, Lenses, etc.

Great sound is essential for movies, great lighting is essential for photography. Adorama has lighting. It has studio lighting, outdoor lighting, reflectors for natural lighting, flash lighting, continuous lighting, and just about everything any photographer or movie maker needs.

There are two lighting products in particular that I want to bring to your attention: Flashpoint 14″ Fluorescent Dimmable Ring Light and the Glow HexaPop 20″ for portable off camera flash – R Series.

My Flashpoint 14″ Dimmable Ring Light Review gives you a lot of good reasons to choose it for a portrait light. If your photographer needs a source of continuous light for portrait photos, product photos, short films, or stop motion films, this is what you should buy her. Currently, the Ring Light costs $140.00 with free shipping. Buy a replacement bulb for $15.95 and a stand for $25.00 to round out this full lighting solution.


The Glow Hexapop Diffuser shown on stand and with flash unit.

The other interesting lighting gift idea is the 20″ Glow Hexapop Diffuser. Though I haven’t posted my Hexapop review yet, I can tell you that I’ve worked with it and I like it. It is extremely portable, lightweight and it does a great job of providing soft, even lighting from a flash unit.

Ordinarily a flash unit sits atop your camera in what’s known as the “hot shoe.” This is an electronic interface that’s timed with the shutter button so that the flash fires as the shutter opens so that your subject receives enough light to be photographed. Unfortunately most flash units are overpowered and flood the subject with bright, harsh light that is neither flattering nor even.

The Hexapop diffuser does. To use the Hexapop, your photographer needs to have her own flash unit (most do) and a flash sync cord (again, most do). If your photographer happens not to own a flash sync cord, get one at least ten feet long and one that’s compatible with your photographer’s equipment.

The Hexapop is sort of a hybrid softbox and umbrella combination that photographer’s use for studio lighting. Unlike studio lighting, the Hexapop can travel with the photographer without the need for external power. It comes with its own tasteful black carrying case that makes it extremely portable for the photographer on the move.


The Glow Hexapop Diffuser ready to open or to drop in the bag for easy transport.

It sets up quickly and easily by pulling the arms into place and it folds up even faster with a “Pop!” by pressing its release triggers.

Adorama has everything for the photographer and photography enthusiast. For the truly budget conscious, there’s a Deals link that you should check out for Specials, overstocks, refurbished products, and used equipment. Adorama offers free shipping within the USA on many products.


Lomography is an online presence, it’s a store, it’s a movement, it’s a place for you to show off your lo-fi photography, it’s an online magazine, and it’s something kind of unexplainable. Lomography is film and cheap cameras. I should put cheap in quotation marks because some of them aren’t so cheap at all. I guess cheap is relative. You have to love film, its unexpected qualities, its artistic value, and the feeling that you’re going against the grain of the “digital revolution.”


The Holga 120N Camera.

There’s no wrong answer or wrong way to do anything in the world of Lomography but you have to have a lo-fi lens or lo-fi camera to do it. If you want to know more about it all, you can read up on the history and the movement on the website. Just know this: Lomography is addictive and once you start, you want to experience every type of camera.

For example, the medium format (120 film) cameras are kind of my favorites. The negatives are large (generally 2″ x 2″) and you only get 12 or 16 photos per roll. Using one of these plastic gems is not an exact science but it’s really fun. Great examples of medium format lo-fi cameras are: Holga, Diana, and Debonair (the look of a Diana but the operation of a Holga).


The Debonair Camera

My own collection “lomo” cameras include the Smena (Russian), the Holga, the Diana, half-frame cameras, Canon AE-1s, and others. But my most favorite of all is the Debonair. It’s a super cheap little camera that uses 120 film. See photo.

You can find them on for under $20. They are cheap, plastic cameras that have a very simple focusing mechanism, a manual film advance, and your creativity to power them. Awesome.

For someone who isn’t into Lomography or just wants to try it, the Debonair is a great starter camera. If you can’t find one, buy a Holga. You can find Holgas everywhere and they come in a variety of colors and styles but only two film sizes: 120 and 35mm. The Holga 135 is the 35mm one. Holgas generally cost under $30 for the standard black 120 film version. You can find film for it online or in camera shops. Use color print film C-41 process because Black and White film is getting harder to find a developer locally. Good luck if you like B&W, like I do. Use color, have the developer scan them onto CD for me and then I use a photo manipulation program to change them to grayscale. It’s almost the same. Plus you can alter the contrast that way too.


The Classic Diana updated with interchangeable lenses and more durable construction.

Once your photographer has caught the bug, you can buy her a Diana, or a 35mm Smena, or one of the more exotic cameras such as a Sprocket Rocket, an LC-A, or a Lubitel. They all have their quirks and interesting features. In fact, no two Holgas are alike, so explore the possibilities with more than one.


Photojojo is the Phoneographer’s paradise. It has everything cool for the Phoneographer: lights, lenses, carrying cases, ideas for DIY projects, and all sorts of off the wall products.

I personally bought the three lens set for my iPhone from Photojojo. I love them and they work perfectly. Photojojo also sells some Lomography accessories too. You can also buy film, tripods, microphones, a film scanner, props, a dolly, and just about every kind of oddball thing you can imagine and a lot that you can’t.

If nothing else, Photojojo is worth a look just to see what’s out there for the phoneography nut in your life or perhaps for yourself. Photojojo offers free shipping on orders over $50.00. Often this is not easy to do because most of their items are under $50.00. I guess that’s so you’ll buy more stuff. That’s OK because I’ve never been bummed out about anything that I’ve purchased there.


Amazon has a lot of the photographic equipment, cameras, and accessories that you want and at the prices you want to pay. It has an excellent search engine and if you’re a Prime member, then you get free priority shipping on anything that is Prime qualified. Look for the Prime symbol prime when you find a product that you like.

Sometimes I use Amazon just as a sanity check against other online retailers. I also use it to see if I can get the products I want with free shipping, because I’m a Prime member. I don’t want to take anything away from the other retailers in this list or any other but if I can find the exact product on Amazon with Prime at a comparable price, I’m going for free shipping.

If you can’t figure out what you want to buy or you need a little extra advice, I’d be glad to help out. Drop me a line at ken-at-kenhess-dot-com (replace the at with @ and dot with . and don’t use the dashes. I have to do this to confuse email bots–sorry) and I’ll see what I can do for you.

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