Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Newest Invention: The Carpod

I thought I would write about a problem I have with shooting my camera out of the passengers window while in the drivers seat. The restricted shooting range without support is awkward, let alone contorting to the body. I shoot many photos out of the drivers side window, resting the lens on a cushioned piece of angled plastic draped over the glass, instead of those window mounts which are hard to set up and expensive when you are talking about quality and weighty lenses. Anyway, I am pleased with the results of my setup out of the drivers side window which isn't the issue.
The issue is shooting thru the passengers side window. It is extremely difficult! I sometimes prefer to drive past something interesting, just to turn around and avoid that darn window. I cannot keep a steady arm holding up the 11+ lbs of camera in that awkward position. I've been searching the web for years, looking for something that I could utilize to shoot from my car's passenger side window as a tripod. I've tried everything including a full size tripod, strategically placing legs strattling this and that, but it just wasn't portable and easy to set up on the fly, let alone quite dangerous! I've used boxes propped up to rest my lens on, but they weren't stable and certainly not moldable to the unlevel seat or the barrel of the lens. I've used my passengers shoulder when present, but breathing on their part became a problem...I don't know why...
Well I finally came up with a viable solution! After rummaging through my cars trunk the other day, moving things out of the way, and discovering an item I had never used, I found a potential piece of usable equipment. I had purchased a rifle bipod a year or so ago for what I thought might be a lighter solution to carrying a tripod on my hikes. A friend had this contraption and liked it well enough, and after handling it, I found it to be much lighter than my tripod. I purchased one, took it out for a test drive, and didn't like it. It sat in my trunk ever since. It has a trigger for releasing the leg extensions that can be set to any height up to 60". Cool right? It also has 2 interchangeable mounts adapting to cameras, scopes, etc. or a large V mount for resting the rifle in between. Versatile...Yes! Well, it really was the "bi" part that gave me problems. I found that I'd rather not carry the thing, since it couldn't support itself in the upright stance. It's why I rarely use a monopod. I do have to say that it worked very well for what it was supposed to do, it just was not my thing...
Anyway, my idea was to keep the V mount, cut off the legs to the right height and use it squeezed between the car seats. I took some measurements, got out the hacksaw and cut away. I wrapped up the sharp edges with some duct tape, reattached the rubber feet, shoved it in between the seats and voila! It is really stable and I can move it out of the way when I'm not using it. Another additional bonus was a rubber strap meant to strap down the gun barrel if needed. I used that strap across the top of the V mount with lots of tension, to buffer between the lens barrel and the hard plastic "V". It grips well and absorbs potential vibration between the 2 hard objects. I love it! It's portable, handy, and very functional. It's everything I ever needed to solve the problem! It only took 6 or so years to think it up and all of about 6 minutes to make!

6 comments:

Chris said...

A good idea that I might use with my monopod!!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

You creative girl.Have fin using your new invention.
Blessings,Ruth

Shelley said...

You are smart and creative!!! I hate carrying my tripod around too!

Bird Girl said...

You are a genius - now you should start selling this set-up and make money for new camera backs and lenses ;-)

Eve said...

Yep. That is some good idea!

Montanagirl said...

Well, aren't you the clever one! What a great idea, and I'm so glad it worked out for you.