Saturday, November 12, 2011

The String Tripod

You recall, you do don’t you, I know it was a coupla days ago so with all that time under the bridge you might not, but just to remind you, I mentioned a thing called the string tripod.

Sure you all know about tripods. That’s the pyramid thingy that you drag out when you want to catch an image which is so far away or so small that a good wind could blow you right off it and make your picture look like a Jackson Pollack.

But tripods are nasty things. They have to be unpacked, and stretched out and they have all of those screw things which have to be tightened down and there’s always one which just won’t lock up so you have to set up the tripod and then mount your camera and then try to get the shot in before the leg collapses, it’s just a huge pain in the assets.

But like me you may have gotten older. I know, it couldn’t happen to you, but in spite of all my good intentions it did happen to me and now I sometimes shake if I don’t rattle and roll. Do I take that tripod out of the hall closet and go to all of the trouble to set it up or do I just fake the shot and hope like hell I can get it in between tremors.

No, not since I read about the string tripod. They are nifty, neat and cool and you should have one. Even better you can make it yourself and save a bunch of money, get all the good vibes when people ask you what the heck that is and then you get to be smug cause you made it and didn’t have to pay for it, well you did pay for it didn’t you, but not a much as if you have sent off to the folks who make them commercially.

What you need are a few simple items, an eye bolt, a length of heavy cord, string or light rope, a quick search on the Internet to learn how to tie a knot which won’t slip and ten minutes time.

That’s what an eyebolt looks like. I got mine at Englund Marine Supply and paid a whole dollar and sixty-five cents for it, but you can also get one at Farr’s for a bit less or if you want a gray one a little bit more.

That’s string, really light nylon rope. I found a remnant at Farr’s for a dollar and sixty-five cents. I know, it’s ironic, the two pieces of my puzzle bought miles away from each other and they were almost identical in price.

You tie the line to the bolt and that’s all of the assembly you need. Someone ought to tell those manufacturers so that this Christmas you won’t be left working on the new bicycle for Eddie while everyone else is stuffing down turkey and making off with all of the gravy. (Why is it, among all of the ponder able things in the universe, that no matter how big a turkey you get there is never enough gravy for the bird, the dressing and the mashed potatoes? Steve Jobs are you listening? Fix that with your Ipad.)

Yeppers that’s what it looks like when you get it all together. Not all that impressive. But boy does it work.

I tried it out in my house cause I didn’t want to get too far away from the computer just in case it didn’t work and I had to come up with some other stuff for my blog, but it did work so I didn’t and I have the pictures to prove it.

Ever try to get a shot of animals when they are playing? They have the uncanny ability to find the darkest corner to do the damnedest things all at the speed of light and when you try to use flash on them they stop being cute and look at you like “Why are you messing up my pay period you silly ole human?”

Okay, I should probably admit I never like flash much anyway. It might stem from a misspent childhood shooting pictures in near dark back when flash meant those enormous Honeywell strobes, just about the size of a 1949 Mercury which took a day and a half to charge and gave off ten or maybe fifteen flashes before they had to be recharged, and of course all of us carried a backup cause you never knew when you’d need the light so there was a second unit and the battery for it and if you had a steamer trunk with shoulder straps you were all set. So no, I don’t like flash. (Even forty years later when most of the cameras have the flash built into their bodies like some horrible Borg implement.)

And I did learn to hold a camera steady in some pretty extreme conditions, but now in the twilight of my years, no it is not the dying embers, I need a little help being steady and the string tripod is just the thing.

Now I could have doctored this in one of the many photo-editing programs I use, but I thought you ought to get a look at the image in its pure and innocent state.

Yeah, I was impressed too. I’ve never been able to capture the wolf in my barge dog. He’s a big, shaggy, lump who would prefer to lounge on the porch and suck in the cold air, but the yellow terror, my lion hunter thinks lounging is for wimps so she rousts him whenever she can. Pretty fierce for an old guy who’d rather be napping.

So why not make a try at building one for yourself. The cost is nothing and you won’t have to buy a second–hand Hummer to lug it around and it might just let you get that shot as the day fades in tonight and the things that go bump come out to play.

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