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.


4 thoughts on “My Favorite Non-Photographic Photographic Accessory

  1. I too have a Tilley and it is my favorite piece of clothing. I am wearing it in my Facebook photo and many photos taken outdoors. Those are great suggestions and now I will love it even more.


  2. There is nothing in the field like a good hat! I have them all from a Greek Captain’s hat to the really wide brim Aussie “Walk About”, one of them is sure to fit the season. My go to summer hat is a cross between the Stetson of older days with the current but always useable crush hat. The label is long gone, worn away by years of use and abuse! The crown has something like a nylon breathable mesh, really nice on hot days. The whole thing is made of an old felt type material which has assumed a burnt tan color over time. Couldn’t possibly be leather. . . . I can’t complain about the color, it blends in nicely with the desert brush I occasionally crawl through. However, the old hat never fails to protect my head from moisture of a passing rain storm or two. Now if my dog would not stop using it as his favorite chew toy!


  3. June 22, 2016
    Vern, I just received your blog article a few moments ago — and I am delighted that the Hat has served you so well!

    We ‘overshadow’ many fine people, of whom you are one.
    Alex Tilley, Muskoka, Ontario


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