Light The Way
No matter what time of day you are heading out, ALWAYS have a light source handy because you never know exactly how long you’ll be out – or how dark it will be when you return.
When I’m out in the field I have a LED headlamp and a small LED flashlight with me. Both are extremely light and have saved me on more that one occasion. The LED headlamp is for when I wind up hiking down a trail or road at night and need to see right in front of me – or need to be seen by others if it is a road with traffic. The headlamp is also great for those times when you need both hands free as you look through the deeper recesses of your camera bag to find that polarizer or card for your camera. Most headlamps come with a 2-way switch which allows you to have the headlamp on to light your path or serve as a flasher to draw attention. I carry two headlamps with me wherever I go as they are really inexpensive and can be utilized in some creative ways. Try light painting with one by adding a colored gel over the light or using it to illuminate an object in a long exposure.
The other thing I always have is a small LED flashlight or two – or three that is just that – a flashlight.
They are handy in the field for finding things in your bag or finding something that fell behind a rock when it gets dark. You can buy them as single flashlights or in packs of 3-5 flashlights. They commonly use a single AAA batteries and I like to get the rechargeable batteries, as I always have a charger with me on my trips. I was recently in Academy Sports and saw a 5 pack of LED flashlights for under $20. The first time you find yourself in the dark you’re going to feel like that twenty bucks was super cheap!
One other item I have packed into my camera bag are a set of colored light sticks that I primarily consider to be for helping others find me if I wind up lost at night.
These colored light sticks will glow a particular color (red, green, blue, white) and can be tied onto a long piece of string which you can swing the lighted sticks in a circle on. Swinging the lights on a string will create a large and visible light source that shows up a long ways at night.