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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I got this Gorillapod for my camera, in part because it fits in a pocket, unlike my bulkier but not that stable tripod, and because I could wrap it around the handlebars of my bike.

That way, when I go out riding at night, I don't have to one-hand the bike in order to shoot pictures and video, as I've done a few times.

Anyway, I didn't make it very far before a couple of things fouled my plan to get a good night-ride video from the dashboard camera. First, the vibrations of the snow pack made the thing rotate so I was getting a shot of what was beside me instead of in front of me. Then, to make matters worse, I realized how treacherous the riding conditions were and imagined taking a fall that would smash my brand-new camera. I have personal experience with how easily these things are ruined by being dropped on their open lenses, even from eighteen inches or so.

On dry pavement I wouldn't have any heartburn about this trick, and I bet a piece of tape would suffice to prevent unwanted rotation from road vibration. It might end up having more camera shake and road noise than my hand-held shots, but it'd work. Or the pod might even work for making my PowerShot a helmet-cam. It might be tricky with all the tulle up there.

Anyway, I've been playing a lot with shooting the snow. Not really looking for a specific shot as much as experimenting with settings, exposure time, ISO, aperture, etc. I don't always use the tripod to get the long exposure shot, setting the camera on something concrete is usually more convenient and just as good. I also learned a good trick to compensate for the wobbliness of the cheap-ass tripods I have: use the time delay. I don't have a remote shutter release, but I can let the camera have a couple of seconds to settle down before it starts the exposure.

In fact, right before I snapped this night shot with a 15 second exposure, Corinna nodded at the concrete ledge I had set it on and said, 'Found a tripod?'

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