I’ve taken delivery of my walking stick/monopod and fitted it with one of my small SLIK ball heads with quick release plate. Height-wise it seems pretty good for me. I set the top adjustable section to 1.3 M mark (max. 1.4 M) with the bottom section fully retracted which seems about right for my height of approx. 5Ft 8 Ins. With the bottom section fully extended it more or less extends the total length of the stick with a camera attached to my eye level. The two section are locked/unlocked with a simple twist-lock like some tripod legs. The top section also has a twist locking adjustment which allows the top camera mount to be rotated 90 degrees to vertical. There is also an anti-shock spring fitted in the middle to cushion it when walking and the rubber ferrule at the bottom pulls of to reveal a ground spike. As I can’t conceive when I’d need this I wound some insulation tape around it and refitted it to ensure an even tighter fit.. As we’re currently being somewhat battered by Storm Barra with some high winds and heavy rain I’m not in the mood for trying it outside today but I will post when I have had the chance to do so. I’m hoping that it proves useful primarily as a walking aid but also occasionally as a monopod. Not bad value for £14 with free delivery, some quick pics.
As I usually do at this time of year I try and find a shot from each month of the year. It’s been a strange year, a lot of expense and things to do for our new home and some ongoing health issues. It’s seems like it’s only really been half-a year as we didn’t come out of lock down till well after last Christmas and things didn’t return to something approaching normal until well into the the Summer. Nether-the-less I have managed to visit some interesting local locations such as Chichester, Emsworth, Bosham, Worthing, Littlehampton, Shoreham-By-Sea, Amberley, Storrington, Arundel and Hayling Island as well of course my frequent visits into my hometown of Bognor Regis. So, less talk, more pictures. 🙂
January, Bognor Regis.
February, more Bognor as I couldn’t get anywhere else 🙂
March, Chichester Canal
May, Fair, Bognor Regis
November, back to Worthing
December, Chichester (although the month is still young and I might find a better shot)
Hope you enjoyed the pictures, thanks, as always for your continued support and encouragement throughout what has been a difficult and sometimes uninspiring year. You can always follow my work on my Flickr and 500PX pages.
I recently took delivery of a few of these and I’ve popped one in each of my camera bags and my tech. pouch an interesting and refillable alternative to those small silica gel sachets. They’re supposed to change colour when they’ve absorbed moisture.
My leg and hip pains are sadly getting very bad now and I’ve ordered a walking stick which doubles as a monopod which I’ll report back on when I’ve had a chance to try it out. I don’t use monopods very much but I figured that if I had to have a stick then it might as well have a dual use. Not designed for heavy cameras and lenses but I should be okay with my lightweight micro four thirds gear, my TG-5, a small bridge camera or a point-and-shoot type camera. The top unscrews to reveal a tripod bush and I might fit one of my small SLIK ball heads with quick release plate. I’m determined not to let my physical problems stop me from getting out and doing what I love the best.
Some while back I found this old photograph of my late maternal grandmother (left of center dressed in white) working in a spark plug factory circa 1920/30’s. Look at the age of the boys especially the boy in the bottom left and how she’s the only woman in the photo.
She was an amazing woman, born just before the turn of the century in 1899, the first woman in the UK to hold a motorcycle driver’s license and she had a very hard working life and lived through two world wars but was always very cheerful a very “strong” and very kind woman. In the middle of the “Blitz” in 1940 her and her husband sold their house in the country and moved back in to London so that she could nurse her sister who was very ill and dying of cancer and she was a second mother to her sister’s children.
Later in life she battled spinal problems caused by lifting heavy cauldrons in a school canteen where she worked and had to wear a heavy boned surgical corset, cancer and a heart condition, any one of which is bad enough, but I never saw her let her health issues get her down, she was a strong woman.
A truly remarkable, caring and courageous woman of whom I shall always be incredibly proud.
Below, two shots of the rain cover fitted to my largest camera, my weather-sealed OM-D E-M1 with Lumix 12-60 mm lens, Cokin adapter ring and P series filter holder with modular hood. I removed the holder with hood attached, used the draw cord to tighten lens-side of the adapter ring and then refitted the hood. As it accommodates this combination then it will also accommodate my smaller PEN and OM-D camera bodies with my most favored day-to-day lenses.
I picked one of these up, it seems quite good. For some time I’ve been looking for a small sized rain cover for my Micro Four Thirds cameras. All the ones that I’ve seen and a couple that I have, are by comparison, quite massive and perhaps better suited for a larger camera and lens setup on a tripod. There’s a large zip running the length of the bottom to insert the camera, two sleeves, a generous size transparent plastic panel and it fastens to the lens hood with a stiffened detachable collar which can be attached by a wrap-around velcro strap and another draw cord. It scrunches up pretty small into one of my waterproof pouches and is very light. It’s quite quick and easy to fit, I’m not sure if I’d ever do up the draw cords on the sleeves though, too much hastle and how exactly does one do up the other one with one hand already in the cover?, a job for the late Houdini perhaps. 🙂 One could leave off the collar and just use the draw cord to tighten around the lens hood as a matter of choice, depends on the size of the lens and hood I guess.
I think that they’ve been around for some time and were made by Kata and badged by Manfrotto. They seem a bit hard to get hold off but I found it on E-Bay. I believe that they also did larger sizes but this model is a good size for my gear, not perfect but a lot better fit than my previous efforts. It comes, like my other Manfrotto products, with a 5 year warranty if one registers it on their website.
To be clear, I find all rain covers to be a pain in the posterior to use but, as I was explaining to a friend, there’s nothing more frustrating than, when out travelling especially abroad and, like as not, you’ve paid a lot of money to get there and it rains heavily as has happened to me quite a few times and not being able to take photos and this is so small and light that one doesn’t know that one’s got it in one’s bag or pocket. As the old saying goes “the best camera is the one that you’ve got with you” the same is true of a camera rain cover. You may not need it that often but, when you do, you’ll be more than glad that you’ve got it with you.
As the winter is with us in this part of the world, a few simple tips. Forgive me if you already know of them or do the same but I thought I’d pass them on.
If you use a camera bag rain cover make sure that you have something to store it when it gets wet away from your gear. A suitable plastic bag or waterproof pouch will do. Better still if you can let it air dry.
If you use a camera rain cover the same applies as above.
In cold weather keep spare batteries warm (and most importantly dry) in an inside jacket pocket to help maintain and ,to a limited extent, recover a little of their charge. I have my spare batteries in a small waterproof plastic case arranged in such a way as to prevent the risk of shorting. So I can pop this case into an inside jacket pocket. I never carry loose batteries rattling around in a bag or pocket.
I always pop a couple of those small silica gel pouches in my camera bags to absorb any moisture.
If you have a weather-sealed camera remember that it’s weather-sealed and not totally water/dust proof so I usually carry some form of camera rain cover for use in heavy wet/dusty conditions and the same doubly goes for my non weather sealed gear.
If using a camera rain cover and using the camera’s LCD screen which is usually heavy on battery usage remember if possible to fit a fully charged battery and use sleep mode to save battery life as much as possible. It’s a drag to have find shelter and remove and refit the rain cover to change a battery.
I also take one of those cheap household microfibre cloths in a plastic bag with me in a pocket to dry anything off if necessary as they’re super absorbent.
If your gear gets exposed to salt water and/or dust, sand etc. clean these off as soon as possible as they’re abrasive/corrosive. If you have a weather-sealed camera you can use clean water to gently rinse them off.
I usually have a lens protect filter fitted in inclement conditions as it’s easier and safer to clean raindrops, water splashes, dust, sand etc. from this than the front lens element. It can also be removed and cleaned later. Wash off dust/sand etc. before using a lens cloth or suchlike to avoid scratching the filter with abrasive dust/sand particles.
If moving from a cold environment to a warm one watch out for condensation, I’ve seen it addressed by putting the camera with lens attached into one of those zip lock freezer bags along with some silica gel pouches before entering a warm environment and waiting until all the condensation has cleared before removing it. What you want is for the condensation to form on the outside of the freezer bag like it can do on the inside of a window in cold weather.
As the old adage goes, “better safe than sorry”.
K ind regards
PS. I forgot to mention, use a lens hood as it helps to keep water off of the front of the lens.
Once one has mastered the basics I think that composition, framing, call it what one likes, is perhaps the most important element in taking a photograph. What one consciously and frequently unconsciously, perhaps instinctively, chooses to include in the shot and what one leaves out, the POV/perspective. Of course this is dictated by both the lens that one has fitted and one’s ability to position oneself. That is probably why, over a period of time I’ve steadily grown to prefer to have a zoom lens fitted rather than a fixed focal length. With prime lenses I’ve sometimes missed a really nice shot whilst having to change lenses, that’s always assuming that I have a more suitable focal length with me, the moment has passed. What’s included in the frame and what’s left out radically influences the feel and context of the shot. Zoom lenses only make one lazy if one lets them, they don’t negate one’s ability to physically change position where one can. To paraphrase Star Trek “To boldly go where many zoom lenses seldom go”. 🙂
I like to compose the shot in the viewfinder and not crop in post processing which is something that I very rarely do. I much prefer the “What I see is what you get” approach. The only exception to tight framing is when I’m shooting buildings, trees or other vertical objects when I allow what I call a bit of “Wiggle room” so that I can correct for converging verticals in post. One has to imaging in one’s minds eye what’s going to be in the corrected shot and what’s been lost after correction to ensure that the tops and/or sides of a building or whatever won’t be cut off.