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Holiday list 2020

This year’s gift guide is a little late, but just in time to select the gift you want when you return another gift! The limitations on travel this year due to COVID-19, have limited my testing of new gear. The list is short, but full of essential items.

Drive Auto Products Car Cargo Trunk Organizer

For years, I have kept a plastic bin in my SUV filled with things I use on rare occasions, but when needed they are handy. I had everything from a photo vest, rain coat, extra pair of socks, knee pads, microfiber towels, and tripod snow shoes. However, what I needed was always at the bottom of the bin and required me to take everything out and then “repack.” After much frustration, I decided to look into a trunk organizer and settled on the Drive Auto Products Car Cargo Trunk Organizer.

It has two large compartments and divider you can snap into place to make three compartments. I can now divide my essential items and store them to make it easier to find what I need. In fact, I found a pair of new knee pads in the bottom of my bin that I really need for macro work after two partial replacement surgeries! There are various size pockets on the outside that are great for smaller items like bug spray and flashlights. It also comes with straps to anchor it. A great addition to my SUV.


WeatherTech Cargo/Trunk Liner

This past year, my wife decided that it would be best if I drive our Honda Pilot on my photography safaris so she could drive the CRV. I liked the CRV as you can turn around on the narrowest of country roads. The one time I went off road by mistake (, it did well. The Pilot is newer and has some nifty safety features that make it appealing. Plus, it is more comfortable on longer trips. I took it some longer trips this past year exploring some of the farther points in Indiana including one over night trip. The extra room was great. But, my wife insisted I kept it clean.

We had already installed WeatherTech floor mats and I decided I needed to add a Cargo/Trunk liner ( to protect the rear. I no longer need to worry about dirty tripod feet or muddy hiking boots getting the carpet dirty. All their products are easily cleaned by spraying them with a hose or you can use a spray cleaner in the winter that does not require rinsing with water.


Garmin eTrex 30x

I have a Bushnell BacktrackGPS ( that I use to mark the location of my car so that I can find it on the return hike. While it is a great tool, it does not help find anything buy my car. Some of the locations I have photographed or wanted to photograph this past year require a GPS. The Garmin eTrex 30x is a great little device. You can download topo maps and then enter GPS coordinates you can use to guide your hike, particularly if it there is no trail.

Another option, is to use map device for your phone.


Focusing Cloth

Years and years go when I used a 4×5 view camera, I had a large piece of black cloth that you would drape over the camera and the camera back so that you could see to focus. There have been times when I wished I had such a cloth for the my DSLR cameras so that I could see the results of a shot. A friend of mine who also used to shoot with a 4×5 camera mentioned the cloth we use to use. A search at Adorama found the cloth for under $15. It is now a companion in my backpack.


Muench Webinars

One of the advantages of this past year is having lots of time to learn more about photography. One valuable and free resource I found is the Muench webinars that focus primarily on Lightroom. Each is less than an hour long and focuses on a few techniques. I found them very worthwhile and informative.

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