Every Urban Explorer needs a torch to help navigate around the dark, dank places we tend to find ourselves in but as a photographer you need both hands free in order to properly handle your camera gear. The natural solution is to buy a head torch, they’re available in pretty much all outdoor shops and cost as little as a tenner but unfortunately 95% of all the models I’ve seen in shops are rubbish for urbex photography.
The reason most head-torches are unsuitable is that they sit smack bang in the middle of your forehead which might be perfect for a caver but if you’re an SLR user you’ll find that when you bring your camera to your eye you’ll end up banging the body (or attached flash) right into the torch. The other problem is that you’ll need the torch for exploring and to aid focusing but unless you’re light painting you won’t want the torch light to come out in your shot and trying to switch off a head torch whilst wearing gloves can be a pain.
Given all of my whinging above you’ve no doubt realised that I was getting fed-up with the situation but luckily I came across the Cyba-Lite Explorer, it’s effectively a small pen-torch (like a mini-Maglite) that comes with a clip-mount and an elastic head-strap…
From a general standpoint this is handy because you could clip it to a tripod, a baseball cap or whatever you like but the most useful part to me is that the clip mount swivels. This means that I can wear it as a head torch but mounted on the side of my head, meaning that it won’t get in the way of my camera and that rather than fiddling with any switches I can just point it away from the subject of my photo if don’t want to capture the light. My only criticism so far is that it could be brighter, it does well enough but there’s no way I could use it as my sole torch in the really dark places but hey – I carry my 4-cell Maglite as much for defence as for light!
You might think that I’m gushing with compliments about something pretty simple but having this torch has made exploring and taking photos so much simpler and hassle free that I just can’t help it – especially seeing as you can pick them up for less than a tenner (I paid about £14 though). If anyone’s interested in picking one up there seems to be an offer on at 7dayshop.com where it’s going for £8.99 delivered.