Five Useful Summer Gadgets

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Regardless of how many times you've relied on your air conditioner this year, summer doesn't officially begin until 1:04 a.m. on June 21st (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyhow). So we thought it would be a great time to highlight a few practical pieces of gear that come in handy when the days are long and toasty.

1) Waterproof Cameras

If you're going to be using a point & shoot camera, it makes sense to grab one that doesn't inhibit the location that you're pointing and shooting from. Summertime snapshots have the potential to tell a richer story when you can shoot in the surf at the beach, below the surface of the pool, and from the edge of the raft in the rapids. In this regard, Nikon's COOLPIX AW110 Digital Camera is a popular option. It's waterproof down to 59 feet, shockproof, and if you keep it around for winter, it's freeze proof too. 

2) Floating Smartphone Cases  

Smartphones are pretty easy to drop when your hands are dry. Add a little perspiration and residual sun block to your fingertips—and it becomes a lot more likely. Dropping your favorite gadget is always bad news, but if you happen to be poolside or on the open sea, it can be fatal. You can protect your phone from "death by splashing" with the OverBoard Waterproof Smartphone Case. It's 100% waterproof in depths of up to 19 feet, and it's compatible with all kinds of smartphones: the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, Blackberry Z10 and plenty more. It features a sealed 3-pin headphone jack, so you can listen to tunes and chat on the phone while the phone is protected.

3) All-Weather Headphones

If you use the OverBoard case to protect your phone, it also makes sense to use a pair of headphones that are water resistant. The Panasonic RP-HSC200, available in black or white, features a built-in mic and remote, so you can fully utilize the headphone jack on the OverBoard case. People are generally happy with the sound of these headphones, and they're pretty budget-friendly too. 

4) Good, Old-Fashioned Binoculars

If you find yourself in a tropical jungle this summer, and you suddenly hear some monkeys hollering in the treetops overhead, having a nice pair of binoculars on hand will make the experience a lot more fun. When it comes to binoculars, a good way to go is to buy an excellent pair the first time around. The Swarovski 8x20 Pocket Binocular is a great tool to have around for your summer adventures. It's small and lightweight, so you'll be more inclined to carry it with you all the time, and the quality of the optics is top notch.

5) Graduated ND Filters

If you're interested in advanced photography techniques, graduated ND filters offer an interesting way to tame bright skies when shooting landscapes, so you can capture exposures that are more detailed. A graduated ND filter is darker on the top, and the tint gradually gets lighter toward the bottom. This way, when you're shooting into the horizon, you'll have more intense ND filtration for the bright sky, and less for the lower portion of the frame, bringing out more detail in both the foreground and background. 

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