I’ve probably mentioned this before, but using an infrared converted camera increases your chances of coming home with a solid image when shooting in the middle of the day. I upgraded my infrared camera from a Lumix G6 to a Lumix GH4. If you have a camera languishing on the shelf not being used I recommend sending it off to LifePixel Infrared for a conversion. I know I was glad I did!
Those hours between 10AM and 3PM can be brutal on your images due to the high contrast. Infrared images thrive in that environment. I quite enjoy extending my keeper rate by working with infrared imaging.
From Sedona, Arizona, Cathedral Rock during midday. Renders in an interesting way using an infrared converted camera.
Another tool I find helpful is being able to easily have my camera low-to-the-ground in the Platypod camera support. I can hang the Platypod from my camera bag and since it is very light I hardly notice it’s there until I see a need for it. The Platypod is extremely helpful, especially if you have a flip screen on your camera. The flip screen allows you to be able to frame and focus the scene without having to get down on your belly. Bonus!
If you have been following my Instagram feed you have seen I’ve been making the most of my Platypod camera support system. The Platypod people saw what I was doing and hired me to supply them with some images for their marketing. Here are some Platypod Black Friday deals they shared with me.
My Platypod story
I bought a Platypod at a convention. Used it once or twice then kinda forgot about it. It was a bit of a pain because I was using a tripod head from my other tripods rather than having one dedicated to it tending to use it only for special needs. I broke it out again and started using it and just kept finding new ways to put it to use. Getting super low angles was now really easy especially since my cameras have a tilting or flip screen. Not having to be on your belly to see your camera view is an awesome feature.
I finally got a dedicated tripod head for my Platypod and that has made a huge difference in my usage rates.
Thinking of it as a second tripod
When I stopped thinking of the Platy as a stand alone camera support I started using it even more. It now hangs from my bag all the time. It can be the single tripod I have with me. Or, more often, I use it as a second support and carry my Fotopro Eagle E6L as well. I set the Platypod up with a camera to make time-lapse images and the Fotopro gets another camera body for different compositions while the time-lapse images are being gathered.
Platypod in the middle of the creek for a low angle. The flip screen makes seeing what’s in the camera a piece of cake.
Fotopro Eagle E6L tripod. Light, versatile and works well in conjunction with my Platy when I want to have two camera supports while hiking.
Having time-lapse photos to work with allows for creative image making I call ‘compressed time’ photos. An image from the beginning of the session can be the foreground while the sky might some from a later image from the sequence.
Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 with Platypod Tripod. Now I have camera support with me at all times on the trail and can take a second tripod as well.
I’ve found the number of keepers I get from a photo session on a hike is probably three times as many with a second support. I get to tell a lot more stories from a single session.
I’ve found uses for the Platypod in the studio as well. You can mount it on your tripod and add Goose-necks by using the threads made for the removable feet. That allows you to position LED lights for creative lighting. Especially good for macro shooting. If you think about it a little the well machined plate makes it easy to add all kinds of accessories to your gear.
Platypod mounted on tripod in the studio. Allows for hands free lighting support by adding Goose-necks.
It’s Black Friday and Platypod asked me to share some deals with you. Check them out. There is a limited supply so you might want to check them out right away. If you have any questions let me know!
MacGyver would be proud of what you can rig up with the Platypod!
One of my favorite parts of the 100-400 is being able to add the 2X teleconverter MC20. While I lament the f/13 aperture I enjoy the extended reach. The field of view is similar to a 1600mm lens on a full frame 35mm camera. Makes getting more frame-filling images when photographing wildlife a whole lot easier.
100-400mm with 2x teleconverter on FotoPro Tripod
Here’s a close-up I was able to get of a dragonfly. It’s pretty amazing that it even shows the facets in the eyes. The camera was mounted on a Fotopro Eagle E6L Tripod with built-in gimbal head for easy adjustments as the little critters maneuver between reeds.
I was enjoying the dark skies of Sedona from my back patio. Just for fun I grabbed the 100-400mm 2X combo on the OM-D E-M1 Mark III and shot the moon.
Incredible detail handheld 1600mm field of view.
Lens fully extended. Handheld at 1/400th of a second. After cropping down to the square I ended up with a file size about 2200 pixels.
PlatyPod tripod is a utility tool I’ve started using more often. I bought mine about a year and a half ago and set it aside for a bit, as it was not front of mind. I started using it again and found quite a few new and different ways to support my camera and lights. Now, the Ultra model stays clipped to my Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 camera bag.
Watson Lake, Prescott, Arizona
Sunrise image selected from time-lapse captures
Having outfitted my car for camping I was able to be on site for sunrise and moon-rise shoots. I’m sharing some of the sunrise footage I made with my Lumix G9. Capturing time-lapse images adds to possible output. Of course, there’s the time-lapse processed at multiple playback speeds. Multiple images can also be processed together for noise reduction or other creative uses. Individual images can be selected for processing different times.
Link to sunrise video. It is magical seeing time compressed. There is a different perspective when everything is shown faster. The world can be viewed in many different ways. Being a stills photographer/Lens Based Artist I seem to be drawn to what can be shared starting with individual captures. Putting the photos together gives me another creative outlet.
Low to the ground
Platypod Ultra tripod with a couple leveling bolts in place.
When making this set of images I wanted the camera to be low to the ground which, is a perfect use for the PlatyPod tripod. With no legs the camera is not affected by wind and stays steady Many regular tripods can get low as well, but end up with legs splayed.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
FYI I am currently creating paid content for PlatyPod.
Slices of sublime beauty wait in the wetlands of Sedona. The more time I spend in nature the more gifts seem to come my way. I have found however, that I have to be open to the experience.
Open to the experience
Pursuing dragonfly images in the wetlands is joy to me. Having to slow down and observe moments and behavior allow my brain to take a break. Sometimes I have the end in mind to such an extent that I forget to leave room for happy accidents.
This day was not one of those.
Reeds from the wetlands in Sedona, AZ form beautiful shapes curves and lines
Because I use back button focus when photographing wildlife the camera only changes focus when it is engaged. Because I have to search for the wildlife through a long lens the focus was slightly off as a scanned the reeds. What I saw was a little slice of magic. That serendipitous moment led me to try this as a technique. Light and shadow in yellows and greens played soft silhouettes in my viewfinder.
I worked the scene and share a couple of the resulting images here.
Very little post-production was done on these photos. A little spot cleanup here, a tiny dodge and burn there were all that was needed. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
PS – if you have any questions let me know
** I am testing the 100-400mm lens. Release date is September 15th, 2020
For infrared conversion of my cameras I use LifePixel. Infrared allows you to put an older camera to use and opens up a new time time of day for productive image creation.
Fotopro tripods are well worth checking out. You can learn about the ones I use and recommend by clicking on the Fotopro Tripods link at the top of this page. If you want to see what other tripods might fit your needs check out the Fotopro.com website. Check back with me before you buy as a Fotopro Ambassador I’m able to get you discounted pricing including complementary continental USA shipping for my followers that you won’t find through retail outlets.
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Lightning, waterdroplets, sound, time-lapse, HDR sequences, smiles and much more control for your camera!
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A High Speed Smart Camera Remote
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Platypod has become a great resource for being creative in getting your camera gear easily into unusual places. As an Platypod Pro I get to work/play with the gear even before it comes out. Head over to Platypod, subscribe to the newsletter and you will get special discounts reserved only for subscribers.