Chameleon with a Camera and Dennis Darling’s packing list

There’s a photography book Chameleon with a Camera: A Unique Primer on Travel Photography and How to Survive a Trip in the Philipsburg, Montana Public Library. It’s a slim volume perfect for taking along on a trip for inspiration. The author, Dennis Carlyle Darling is a professional photographer and a professor of journalism at the University of Texas in Austin.

Each summer he and his wife, Helen Darling, country western song writer and singer, come to Philipsburg. They are both charming, lovely people.

As I read through the book, particularly enjoying the travel related quotes and rejuvenating my interest in taking pictures of people–one of Dennis’s fortes, his packing list caught my attention. He’s traveled to various countries on several occasions and has suggestions for items that are easy to take along and useful. One of them I haven’t seen on a packing list before.

It’s a sink stopper. As Dennis pointed out, and I’ve found to be true, many sinks and bathtubs in hotel rooms or hostels don’t have stoppers. To do laundry, keeping water in a sink can be helpful. Dennis suggests the round, flat rubber kind. To jazz it up, try this dolphin stopper version.

Dennis also suggests:

  • waterproof matches
  • a few clothes pins
  • string to use as a laundry line
  • packing tape in case you want to send packages home. As he said, good packing tape is hard to come by
  • a small pair of scissors
  • a needle and thread
  • zip lock bags
  • maps. In many countries, the maps may not be as good as what you can buy in the U.S. Even if they are, having maps from the get go can make a trip easier.

Although the book is not recent, the information is particularly pertinent to anyone who is interested in hitting the road with a camera and ready to capture artistic images worth sharing.

Dennis also points out that taking photographs is solitary and time consuming. Great shots come from effort. When traveling with others, such shots can be hard to come by. In that case, perhaps a dolphin sink stopper might be a welcome, happy looking relief at the end of a day of chasing images.