Makeshift Tripod

By | February 23rd, 2011|Photography, Fun|8 Comments

I usually travel very light, so I bring a small camera (Canon S95 and iPhone) and almost no accessories. That forces me to adapt to some tricky situations.

I was on Moorea in French Polynesia sitting on our little hotel’s dock. The moon lit clouds over the Pacific were beautiful, but it was very dark. To capture the clouds, the S95 can do exposures up to 15 seconds. The problem was that I didn’t have a tripod for it. Then I remembered the Kensington suction cup window mount I use for my iPhone airplane movies. Hmm, but there isn’t any glass out here… Aha, this heavy glass dish lid will do the trick! I love that suction cup. It remained stuck on the glass all night.

With my “tripod” in hand I was able to capture many lightning strikes such as the one below. Believe it or not, that is a night shot. The Canon S95 is pretty impressive for a pocket camera. It has many of the controls of an SLR and the same sensor as the G12.

Then my girlfriend and I tried some light painting. I think it turned out pretty well!

I’m a big believer that the best camera is the one you have with you and the same applies to equipment.

For some really spectacular light painting, see one of our earlier articles.

About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.


  1. George Probst February 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Those are some impressive shots given the makeshift rig! Nicely done.

  2. Rene Bruce March 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Ahh yes, this brought back memories of when I was in Moorea back in 98.’ I loved it! Great shots and great lil tip, I do stuff like that when I travel all the time. I hate to bring much… my dogs take up most the room in my truck so camera gear takes the back seat. Ha!

  3. Ken Lawrence March 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Nice shots!

    I agree that it’s important to feel comfortable while carrying photographic equipment with you while travelling.
    My personal solution I currently enjoy: for short weekends (think city trips) I often settle for a reasonably small camera (Panasonic GF1) with one all-round lens (the 20mm 1.7).
    As for a longer duration I can’t stress the importance of having a comfortable backpack enough. I have a large Lowepro, but very recently bought a Vanguard BIIN 50. It’s amazing what you can stuff into it’s main compartment so I can comfortably put an SLR and different lenses in.

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  5. Michael Delugg November 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Great shots. And it proves the point that it’s not really about the equipment — it’s about the person USING the gear.

    Happy holidays,

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