Saturday, April 21, 2012

It’s time to revisit a tool we talked abut last year, the String Tripod.

Now most of you will remember and those of you who don’t shouldn’t feel bad, memory lapses are a natural part of aging and so long as you don’t lose your car or spouse or the keys to the liquor cabinet, you’re okay, we talked about a single strand string tripod which you attached to your camera with an eye bolt and then let the string trail on the ground and when ready to shoot, you stepped on the string to help stabilize the camera.

And that was a very good idea. But since then I have come up with a plan to improve it.

You can use the same string and eye bolt if you like or get a new string and eye bolt and you’ll need a coupla snap clips. I used the kind with the spring closure but you can use any other kind you can lay your hands on.

Take the string and thread the eye bolt through it and when you’ve done that, tie one of the snap clips to an end. No don’t tie the other clip in yet.

Snap the first clip to a belt loop or if you aren’t wearing pants, and why exactly aren’t you and did you know that that kind of behavior can get you in serious trouble, not to mention getting an ankle bracelet and a space on the known offenders watch list, loop the string around the belt or your suspenders or your garter belts and clip the end to the string so that you can pull it tight.

Got all that?

You should now have an eye bolt on the string with one end clipped to your person through whatever sort of clothing you are wearing and one end loose. If you have your camera handy attach it to the eye bolt and bring it up to your eye. You can hold it with one hand while you do the next step, which is to hold the loose end of the string to the anchor point of your belt or grass skirt or garter belt and pull it tight so that you have just enough line to hold the camera to your eye.

Now take a pair of scissors and cut the string at the point you measured out while you were holding your camera. You’ll need to use a match or lighter to burn the end of the string to keep it from unraveling if you’ve used good nylon cord. Once you’ve burned the end you can tie on the other clip and there you have it, a new string tripod.

Clip the new end to whatever you used as your anchor and test the length. It should be just long enough to reach your eye if you pull pretty hard on the line. This gives you a platform with terrific stability and you’ll be able to use it in all kind of weather.

The original plan for the string tripod did leave a bit to be desired in this climate what with the rains and the snow and the mud and a trailing cord just gets nasty unless you stick to the house and why would you need a tripod of string if you are in the house where you’ve kept the expensive tripod which you bought for yourself for the last birthday but have never used cause it’s a pain to set up and clumsy and you just drag out the flash and live with the hot spots anyway.

A secondary benefit to this new design for the string tripod is you can wear it under your jacket and use it to support your camera even if you drop the Brownie climbing back over the fence you ill-legally crossed to get the perfect picture of those sweet cows only they weren’t exactly cows and the one with the big horns and bad temper chased you half way across the meadow and you only just managed to escape with your life.

So take a few minutes and a pair of scissors if you are allowed to play with edged devices and make a string tripod for all kinds of weather. The cost is next to nothing and the rewards will be better pictures and you might just keep your camera the next time you have to out run the bull!

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