Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tip: Extend Your Arm for Off Camera Flash

As promised, today and as long as I can take it, I will try and make each Monday the day for Tips either photographic or equipment tips.

As you may be aware that my sons are almost seeing the daylight so probably It won't be possible for me to make this happen all Mondays but I will try my best to do so.

This week and for opening the Tip I'm going to show you how can you "extend" your arm and using your small portable camera to take good pictures of yourself without having to ask someone on the street to take your camera and take a shot of you with Big Ben, Eiffel Tower on the background.

As sometimes this could be very frustration since the person who will be taking the picture probably would not know how to work with your camera and as the moment you point that the button to press is that one over there the person has already take the picture and you'll probably be getting a funny face :)

Well don't worry those times are now from the past.

You can also use this tip to use your off camera flash even further away from your camera with great results either from the left or from the right.

The device is called Quick Pod and you can find the online store in here.

They have two models one for Point and Shoot cameras and video cameras and a Bigger one for the heavier DSLR that can be used as a monopod.

Although I do not have any commercial I tie to this company and will not receive any money for this small tip I do not wanted to let it pass the great product for everyday use and it's greatest features.

So let's begging with the tip with lots of photos the way you like it ;)

I bought the Point and Shoot version since I already got a monopod for my DLSR and big lenses so I decided to try the small version as a pocket carry on either on airplanes or even during my day walks.

The price for the Pro version is only $29,95 and it comes with carrying bag, hiking clip, pocket clip, wrist strap and adapter legs. The only difference between the Pro version and the normal one is that the Normal version costs $24,95 but it does not come with the Adapter Legs.

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It came on a small white card box and inside everything comes well packed. You got the Carrying Bag and the instructions.

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Here is the content pf the Pro pack: carrying bag, hiking clip, pocket clip, wrist strap and adapter legs.

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How do you mount it on your tripod you may ask?

That's the simplest thing... It got a screw in that fits under the hole of your pocket camera and it's the universal one :)

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Let's take a look at the different sizes you can get with this Quik Pod arms extension.
This is the first position after you have attached the camera. I can assure you that this (without the camera mounted) can fit right into your pocket, belt waist or backpack as an easy carry on device.

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First extension.

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Second extension and there's more ;)

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Last extension pretty far away from hand sight. This is a durable and resistant plastic so no metal parts on sight except for the turning rod near the attachment part.

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Let's measure... 20cm closed and without the camera on it.

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And more or less 48cm long when you extend all parts. Pretty cool hey!!! You can now extend your arm almost 50cm more that the normal.

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You can also twist and tilt the attaching head so you cam position the camera so it will allow you to take self portraits since it has a little mirror underneath the attachment (click on the picture to see where is it or click here).

More on that in a moment...

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The cool feature is that you can unscrew and remove the back part.

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And attach the small tripod it come with it... This is where all the fun begins :)

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Look at this... doesn't it look cool or what? You can put your portable camera anywhere and use this small 20cm Quik Pod as a monopod ;)

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You can extend it all the way and still keep the legs to hold the camera to about 50cm above the ground.

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Hey tricks doesn't seem to miss in this baby. You can even extend further the legs of the attached tripod. COOOOOOLLLLLL!!!!

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Look it now full extended. The Quick Pod and the tripod. And with the small tripod legs extended it can reach an incredible 60cm from the floor to the top.

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Now the cool part for all us Strobist fans. You can attach you small strobe at one of these babies and use it as a background light since it can be very small on tall that it could reach those lower places. If you are a macro photographer imagine the possibilities this small Quik Pod may bring to your photos.

You have to attached it to the rod with a Flash Hot-Shoe adapter or a Gadget Infinity Receiver so you can then attach the flash and trigger your flash.

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I attached mine to the Pocket Wizards since lately I've been getting a lot of misfires from the GI and wouldn't want to loose time to re-shoot things two or three times just because of misfires.

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Here is the setup shot with a second flash triggered from the top of the Quik Pod tower.
You can loop the PW to the rod of the Quik Pod and it will stay there.

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Another example but this time I've put the Quik Pod on the floor so you can take a look of it's height and the possibilities this can bring you with such a small device.

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Take a look at this example shot of my Canon Powershot G9.

I put a light very near the G9 (580Ex at 1/128 with CTO gel triggered by PW) to camera left this way I could get some camera texture and a leading shadow to the right.

This was done with my left arm extended and holding the Quik Pod (full extended) with the 580Ex, as you can see on the next shot, very close to the G9.

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Here you can see the picture of my full arm extended holding the Quik Pod with the 580Ex attached. See how close I can put the light on the object without getting too close to it.

I'm using my Canon MarkIIn with a 24-70 L here at 24mm and on the picture above at 70mm.

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You may say that... Oh!, but I like to put light on my left side and not always use it from the left.

Here I'm holding the camera with my right and and using the left hand with Quik Pod and putting the light on the left.

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Let's zoom out.

Quik Pod and 580Ex from the left holding it with my left hand and very close to the G9.

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Quik Pod and 580Ex from the left holding it with my left hand above the G9 to give a top light effect.

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Quik Pod and 580Ex from the right holding it with my left hand and very close to the G9 left side.

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Hey and how about some self portrait pictures while on traveling or if you do a blog with lot's of video information why not using the Quik Pod to hold the camera for you while you speak at it?

This is a very cool feature since you can take pictures of yourself because the Quik Pod has a small plastic mirror above the tripod mount where you can position yourself relatively to the background.

The plastic mirror is not very good to see clearly what's going on but you get a pretty good idea how will the photo turns out (Maybe a little improvement on this feature would be good in the future, but it does a good job).

You'll have to set your Point and Shoot to timer in order to be able to shoot yourself.

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Here is a self portrait picture of myself with the Quik Pod. You can bearly notice that I used my right hand with the Quik Pod.

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Another picture, used the Quik Pod and an off camera strobe to picture left triggered with PW attached to the Canon Powershot G9 with 10s timer. This was meant to be a group picture but I lack the friends while doing this so I took it with one of my best friends ;)

Hope you have enjoyed this tip and could make use of it while on the road or with some friends or even while explaining your home made videos or you can even use it at a concert, if you can take your camera with you to the venue, or take pictures above or beneath crowded places where your arm won't stretch enough.

Take a look at the Quik Pod web page for more detail info about the product and by the way I ordered mine from an Ebay seller since it was a little cheaper (not much) with packing fees and delivery time to Luxembourg.

So do a search before ordering directly from them.

See you next week.

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