Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Photowalk Utah #6: Remixing at the Moran

Bryan Jones has announced the next Photowalking Utah event. With it still being winter, this is another indoor venue at the John A. Moran Eye Center located on the University of Utah campus. It will be held on Saturday, February 23rd from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Here's a map and here's a link to their contact page with TRAX and UTA info.

There are two items of interest at this event. First, the lovely and talented Ann Torrance will be giving a presentation on how to do a post-processing technique she calls a remix. It's sort of a photographic version of a DJ remixing a song. I'm really looking forward to this tutorial.

The second item of interest is the building proper. It's rumored to be architecturally interesting; which should be fun in its own right. But to further sweeten the deal, it sounds like we'll have access to some of the labs too. It's not every day one has the opportunity to photograph interesting scientific equipment.

Photowalking Utah events are a non-competitive time to meet with, learn from and enjoy the company of other photographers here in Utah. All ages, skill levels and equipment are welcome. This sounds like it's going to be another great time. Be sure to put this on your calendar and join us in a couple weeks.

Friday, January 18, 2008

DIY Telescoping Monopod

Inspired by this Strobist article, I made my own telescoping monopod. It was pretty easy as most of the parts were available off the shelf from my local big-box home improvement store (Lowe's).

First, a shot of the assembled unit:
Telescoping monopod assembled
(Click on photo for a larger image.)

The yellow part continues on out of frame for a total of about 4 feet 9 (1.2 m). Overall assembled length is 4' 10" (1.47 m); maximum extended length is 8' 4" (2.54 m).

This consists of three parts:
Telescoping monopod component parts
(Click on photo for a larger image.)

1) Mr. Long Arm Extension Pole
2) Extension tool holder: I couldn't find a reference to this model online, but here's a different model to show the idea. The one Lowe's carries is the handle shown above (in the left foreground) with another piece which bolts onto the bracket. I took this piece off and fabricated my own adapter to bolt on in its place.
3) Camera/flash adapter mount (in the right foreground).

Here's the piece I had to make:
Telescoping monopod camera/flash mount
(Click on photo for a larger image.)

This consists of:
1) two short pieces of wood;
2) two long pieces of wood;
3) a large leveling leg (to fit the hole in the handle adapter);
4) a small leveling leg (to fit in the tripod mount for a camera or flash);
5) an integrated washer/nut;
6) some epoxy to glue it all together.

The leveling legs are the types of things found on the bottom of appliances (washers, driers, stoves, etc.). They are a bolt with a large, flat round head on them instead of the more standard hex head. At Lowe's they can be found in the specialty connector section of the hardware department. Also in the specialty section is the integrated washer/nut. I wanted to use this instead of a standard nut to provide a bit more support surface for whatever is attached to it.

The assembly was pretty straight forward. First drill two holes for the bolts, one in the center of each of the large pieces of wood. Then epoxy the bolts in place. Once that was cured, I epoxied the four pieces of wood together in the configuration shown above. Then I put the nut/washer piece on the 1/4"-20 bolt to help support items screwed onto it. Finally a hit the whole thing with a coat of black paint to make it less ugly.

Here's a couple pictures I took shortly after making it. These were taken at maximum extension.
Old and New Tractors
(Click on photo for a larger image.)

And here are some from BluHeron which she took at Photowalking Utah #5 while testing it out.