I am going on a seabirding trip out of Newburyport tomorrow sponsored by the Mass Audubon Joppa Flats Education Center. Getting the right settings for my camera is going to be crucial; I usually rely on the histogram on the LCD screen of my camera to check for right exposure and avoid clipping on each side, that is areas of the image that are underexposed and others that are overexposed. On a bright sunny day however the screen is almost impossible to see, even when shading it with my hand. This problem can cause great disappointment when getting home from a trip and finding that the majority of the photos have to go into the trash. I posed the question on a forum of the Nikonian website and was pointed to a gadget called Hoodman HoodLoupe 3.0 which you hold over the screen and allows you to get a clear view of your image. There is a nice video of it on Youtube. At $80 it's a bit too pricey for me though. Instead I fashioned a toilet paper tube, painting it ink black on the inside and wrapping it in electrician's tape on the outside. The soft edge of the tape on the screen blocks out whatever light would seep in under the cardboard. Pressing it against the screen and moving around gives a nice clear picture. This should do just fine for this trip.
The weather is going to be nice, I think, and I hope to get lots of pictures to post on the site here.
P.S. 7/7/09 The idea with the blackened toilet paper tube turned out to be poppycock. I stood in the shade for most of the trip and all I had to do was shade the screen with my hand to see the histogram.