First, I want to start with the Hasselblad Spirit Level because who doesn't love a straight horizon (and, Ash points out, level spirits?)? When I first purchased my Hasselblad in 2005, the Spirit Level was one of the first accessories I bought for it. Anyone who has used a Hasselblad knows that there is a learning curve, and using a tripod helps at first with this curve while a photographer gets used to a new way of seeing. Making photographs with level horizons is something that comes naturally after a while, but at first, an instrument like the uber-simple, inexpensive Spirit Level takes some of the pressure off of shooting in this new way. When I first started shooting with my Hasselblad, I didn't realize that the accessory rail on the side of my camera had a purpose; I thought it was just a beautiful logo placement. So when I discovered that the Spirit Level attaches to the accessory rail, I found it very charming of Hasselblad to have such style and functionality. But, that's Hasselblad, right?!
Next up is the Nikon AR-3 Cable Release. By the time I purchased this cable release, I had already blown through two others. My first two cable releases broke in the cold; they became stiff and then broke. Very sad. Yes, Alaska's cold likes to claim unsuspecting plastic products. But, in the end, that's what drew me to the Nikon AR-3. The cable covering is composed of a nylon material that doesn't freeze up in the subzero temperatures we encounter frequently in the North. Using a tripod in subzero temperatures isn't pleasant to begin with, so it's nice to at least have gear you can rely on. As an added bonus, the cable release is only 12" long, so it packs nicely.
Carry on, gearheads!