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Camera bag items — film, socks, duct tape

Offbeat items like paper clips can save the day

SHARE Camera bag items — film, socks, duct tape

Occasionally, someone asks me, "What's your most important accessory?" I say that my flash, which I use for daylight fill-in flash, and my light diffusers-reflectors are of utmost importance.

I use others, however, that are not advertised as official photography accessories. Here are a few I think you might find useful.

Flashlight with headband. My wife gave me this device for my nighttime scuba dives. It slips over my head and is held in place with adjustable straps. This flashlight, which leaves both hands free, has proven invaluable in my topside photography, too. I used it to make important camera adjustments while I was on a night photo safari in Botswana. (It also came in handy while I was packing my gear early one morning in a hotel room in Fiji — while my wife wanted to sleep.)

Shower cap. I've never taken a towel from a hotel room, but I do take the plastic shower caps that are provided in the bathrooms. They make great rain covers for my camera.

Duct tape. I take good care of my gear, but sometimes it gets knocked around, as when I was riding over a "washboard" road in Kenya. Somehow, the battery compartment door on my flash came unhinged. Duct tape to the rescue. If I hadn't had it, I wouldn't have been able to use my flash.

Rubber bands. They can be used to hold battery compartment doors in place or even cracked gear together — temporarily.

Waterproof marker. If you shoot a lot of film and want to keep track of which rolls you shot where and when, marking each roll with a waterproof marker will do the trick.

Sock. I sometimes stuff a lens in a sock when I'm traveling and need to pack several accessories in one compartment in my camera bag. With new airline carry-on restrictions, I've had to consolidate my gear and pack lenses on top of lenses, flashes, meters and so on.

Swiss army knife. You never know when one of these will come in handy.

Paper clip. If you are a digital photographer who likes to burn CDs on your laptop when traveling (as I do), a paper clip can save the day when a CD gets stuck in the CD drive. CD drives have a tiny, round hole next to the CD slot. Insert a paper clip into the hole and the CD will pop out.

If you have an unusual accessory that helps you as a photographer,write me at Ricksammon@aol.com.