My Favorite Non-Photographic Photographic Accessory

Author: Vern West

As a Volunteer Trip Leader on The Best of the West Workshop I became friends, as I usually do, with one of the participants. His name is Alex Tilley and he is the founder of a Canadian company Tilley Endurables. They make clothing for travelers. At the end of the workshop he gave me and my fellow VTL a Tilley Hat similar to the one he wore. At the time I did not appreciate what a nice gift this hat was. It has become one of my most valued “photographic accessories”.

Here in the desert a good hat is valuable to keep the sun off your face, neck and ears. This hat is washable, crushable and it floats. I have soaked in a river to help keep my head cool when it is hot. I have also had it blown off my head into a river and was able to retrieve it.


There are other uses for it.

  • I have rolled it up and used it as a temporary bean bag when I need to steady my camera resting on a boulder or the ground.
  • When photographing and the sun would shine on the lens, flare shows up in the photograph. I frequently use the hat sun shade to my lens and prevent the flare.
  • It can be used as a wind block when photographing a flower. This helps keep the flower from moving so much in the wind.
  • I have used it as a makeshift lens protector by wrapping it around a lens when I had to stick an extra lens in my pocket and sprint across the desert chasing the light.