Nite Ize Gear Ties

How do you hold loose items in place long enough to photograph them, especially when you’re by yourself? I encounter this with almost every tire failure and vehicle I analyze. I have tried every Velcro strap, bungee cord, string, wire, rope, and tape I can find. Each worked—a little. But I kept searching for a clean, simple, and reusable solution for years. I finally found it at The Home Depot! It’s a reusable rubber tie called Gear Tie by Nite Ize. You can get them at The Home Depot, Amazon, or directly from Nite Ize: Nite Ize Gear Ties (Click on image to enlarge, then click on back arrow to return.)

Nite Ize Gear Tie Packaging. (ZEISS 50mm f/2 on Nikon D850.)
Gear Ties are available from 3″ through 64″. I’ve found the 32″ and 64″ most useful for securing passenger/light truck and medium/heavy truck tire pieces, respectively.
Nite Ize Gear Ties: 32″ Top; 64″ Bottom. (ZEISS 50mm f/2 on Nikon D850.)
You can also use them to hold sprung doors, loose bumper covers, and loose pipes or wires in place while you photograph them. Conversely, Gear Ties are also handy for holding wires, trim, etc., out of your photographs.

Here’s an example where two 32″ Gear Ties are holding two separated pieces from a passenger tire in place so I can photograph them.

Using 32-inch Gear Ties on Tire Pieces .(ZEISS 50mm f/2 on Nikon D850.)
I carry sizes from 12″ through 64″ with me. You won’t find more useful “third hands”. Highly recommended.

A Dark Cover-up

When I travel for a work or a personal photography trip, I either drive my Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro or rent an SUV so I can easily access my gear in the field. Years ago, my friend and mentor Bruce Dale suggested a cheap, easy way to keep prying eyes from cargo and luggage in the back. It’s a black flat bed sheet. I bought two of them at Walmart; one for my 4Runner and one to keep packed in my travel bag. They’ve become the black sheets of my family. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) (Click to enlarge, then back arrow to return.)

Cover your gear.
If I’m going to be parking any distance from the inspection site, I try not to keep valuables in my vehicle, if possible. But I’ll still cover even extra jackets, water, snacks, or empty camera bags or luggage. I find the black sheet most useful when going to and from my shooting or working location, at airports, restaurants, and hotels, and when stopping at any store or gas station. It’s cheap, simple deterrence. I even use it day-to-day when I’m at home.