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A very portable “tripod”

28th February 2011

Make yourself a simple “strap tripod”

Owing to various photo assignments, I seem to spend a considerable of time in the field. But I’ll have to admit that I’m not a big fan of lugging around a tripod. My “excuse” is that with all of the shuttling back and forth, a tripod is not the easiest item to carry-on when traveling by airplane.

There are many times however, that I could use the rock-steady support of a tripod. For these occasions, I make do with a substitute accessory that easily stores in my pocket or backpack.

As you’ll see, this accessory is not very sophisticated, but it does an adequate job of squeezing two or three additional stops of exposure from my camera when the light is fading.

These are the few simple materials that I used for this project:

  • 6 feet of web strapping – available from Hobby Lobby, Michaels or other fabric store
  • one plastic strap adjuster – also available from fabric store
  • one 1/4″ x 20 threaded bolt – from hardware store (three are shown in this photo)
  • one grommet – from hardware store; If you don’t have a grommet kit, this will be your biggest expense. Since I already have a grommet kit, I save about $10.

Another benefit of using this strap tripod is that it’s dirt cheap to make – about $3.


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Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Convention – Part 3

Last Wednesday was the last day of the WPPI Trade Show and I again walked the aisles to take it all in.

Most of the attendees are at WPPI to learn techniques that they can harness for their wedding and portrait photography businesses. To promote their products, companies provide floor demonstrations that show ways that their products are used.

For example over at Canon‘s booth, noted photographer Clay Blackmore was demonstrating how he uses Canon’s portable strobes for making portraits.

Here he is shooting in this on-floor studio. His setup uses a softbox strobe and background strobe triggered by his on-camera flash and a pair of reflectors.

His demo attracted many attendees who were interested in seeing the results of using simple equipment and techniques. His camera was equipped with a wireless transmitter which immediately sent the images which were displayed for the audience.

One of the largest group exhibitors were the photofinishers. The competition was less based on price and more based on selection and customer service.

As you can see by the exhibits, there is a tremendous selection of size, finishes, variations and mountings. Albums, postcards, posters, t-shirts, more….




Color Inc

Shootsac makes camera accessory bags that don’t look like camera accessory bags. Designed with the female photographer in mind, they’re both practical and fashionable.

For more information contact Shootsac.

Triple Scoop Music is in the business of licensing music. They have a large library of more than 7000 songs.

Photographers that want to use music for slideshows and/or videos can license any of these songs which can then be used royalty-free.

Having licensed music in the past, I am convinced that having a single point of contact makes for a hassle-free way to add music to your productions.

For more information contact Triple Scoop Music.

Having heard about Fuji‘s 3D camera, I stopped by their booth for a demo.

The Fuji W3 camera is an advanced point-and-shoot with two lenses. When you snap a photo, the two images are combined to form a single “.mpo” file which you can immediately view on the specially designed 3-1/2″ LCD without using glasses.

Plug your camera into a 3D television, pop on a set of glasses and you’ll see amazing 3D effect of this camera. Below is an example. When viewed, I was able to see the 3D effect of my outstretched hand. This stuff is cool.

For more information see Fuji

As a frequent trade show goer, I’m sometimes blasé about walking up and down aisles. But this week, I could sense real excitement from both exhibitors and attendees. I too came away excited about the WPPI show.

This trade show is mainly about small businesses – photographers seeking the know-how to profit from their skills. They want to stay ready for the opportunities that arise as the economy recovers. I’m heartened to share the energy.

As an aside, I am a frequent visitor to the Las Vegas trade shows – 2 to 4 a year for the past 30 years. From my un-scientific measure, it’s been 4 years since I’ve seen Las Vegas as busy as this week. With concurrent conventions taking place the hotels, casinos and restaurants were filled. I’m hoping that this is a sign that things are looking up for economic growth all over.


Written by Arnie Lee


Accessories From Hoodman USA

26th February 2011

Help Seeing with your DSLR

These two accessories look simple because, well, they are simple. They’re also those types of accessories you might not think about using until you do and then you wonder why you went so long without them.

The first is the HoodEYE eyepiece from Hoodman. The HoodEYE, which replaces the normal eyepiece of your Nikon or Canon DSLR camera, helps block out light from the side that might reduce your ability to see correctly in the viewfinder. All you need to do is gently slide off the normal eyepiece and slide the HoodEYE on the mounting rails. It takes only a few seconds. You can rotate the HoodEYE eyecup left or right to accommodate both “right-eyed” photographers and “left-eyed” photographers. It won’t cover or interfere with the LCD screen.

Click the following to view a video of the HoodEYE.

I used it with my Canon XTi and it worked as I hoped. I was outdoors on a bright sunny day with the added problem of sunlight reflecting off the snow but everything in the viewfinder was bright and clear. Best of all, I didn’t have to hold my left hand around my eye to frame the picture and read the display in the viewfinder while trying to hold the camera steady with the my right hand.

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