Sunday, June 29, 2008

Accessorizing your Camera Equipment and Being Mobile

This week I thought I would describe how I adjust some of my camera equipment to permit me to be more mobile in venturing out for my shoots.

I am a tripod fan, albeit a reluctant fan, as these tend to be added weight and more importantly, these items are not easily stored in your coat pocket. Well there are some that might fit, but I like the larger, more solid tripods that will hold the heavier camera and lens solidly. I do like the Gorillapod SLR Zoom, a miniature and flexible stand that works as intended.

I like to use a backpack type camera bag, as it will hold lots of lens and accessories that I think I may use, as opposed to what I actually use. I guess it’s the old boy scout motto ‘Be Prepared’.

The backpack tends to either not have a convenient tripod storage mount or if they do, will hold your tripod horizontally along the bottom. This makes it too wide for me if you have a longer tripod and it restricts movement within the urban jungle.

These backpacks do have many attachment points and straps so I figured that there should be a way to attach my tripod to the side of the backpack.

With a trip to my local Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) store to examine the various straps and buckle components that might be useful, I came across a mountain climber’s chalk bag and thought that this just might hold the bottom legs of the tripod. It comes with a belt and buckle to hang around your waste.

Chalk Bag

The bag held the legs perfectly and without any additional straps, also held the tripod securely to the side of the backpack by utilizing the belt through the various loops in the camera bag.

Tripod in chalk bag

I have highlighted the belt in red to better show how it attaches to the backpack

Tripod attached to backpack

I made this 25 sec video with my camera phone, so please excuse the quality, to show how easy it is to mount the tripod to backpack.


While driving around Ottawa in my car is convenient, at least time wise, to get to a destination, it is not really the best method to find any unique photographic gems through the city. There is the parking problem and most importantly while you are driving you need to focus on the traffic, that it is easy to miss little wonders tucked about on your route.

When the weather is enjoyable I like to take my recumbent Bike-E bicycle and attach the above backpack with the tripod to the back of the bike.

My mobile camera shop

I attached carabines to some of the loops in the backpack and then connect these to the curved metal rod used to keep the back webbing taught. A small bungee (bottom edge carabiner) keeps the tripod tight to the bike

It is so enjoyable to be able to toodle about at your own pace and at a speed that makes it easy to see the grant vistas or back alleys in front. A benefit of a recumbent bike is that you are at a natural position, like a reclining lazy-boy chair to be looking straight ahead. Parking becomes non issue and you now have access to areas that your car would not be able to get to. I would be great if I could summer bike all year round as I find winter roads way to risky.

Taken with a P&S film camera and scanned

This is and image of my son and I riding our recumbent bikes on one of the Ottawa Bike paths. This is the closest I ever came to an 'Easy Rider' feeling

Niels Henriksen

As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity, I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs. Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment -- this very moment -- to stay. - Sam Abell, Stay This Moment : The Photographs of Sam Abell by Sam Abell (Photographer), Robert E. Gilka , ISBN: 0934738726

1 comment:

Anita Jesse said...

I love the ingenuity. A fascinating example of your resourcefulness and the photo of you and your son is delightful—'Easy Rider', indeed.


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