BoldPuppy 6:59pm, 4 January 2009
I wanted to share this...

For New Year's, this year, I attended the First Night events held in Austin, Tx. I knew it was going to be well-attended, and that there would be lots of interesting things to see and do.

I was not disappointed! One of the more interesting photographic opportunities was an artist who builds things for the purpose of burning them. He built a beautiful working clock tower. From the chains on the inside, he hung small blocks of wood where people would write their New Year's Resolutions, and they would get hung on the chain.

The crowds were heavy, and it was hard to see much, especially if you're short, like I am, and if you didn't get a press pass to go inside the gate, which I didn't have. So, what does a photographer do? Get creative.

I attached my wired remote to the camera, put the lens (I had rented a 16-35mm lens for this occasion) on a very wide setting, and put the whole thing on top of the tripod. I extended the legs and then ... lifted it up into the air! The three legs gave me something to hold on to, and with a free thumb, I could trigger the camera. Because I had a ballhead (any head would work here) on, I could turn the camera to a more vertical orientation (though I took photos with both orientations). This took more luck than anything else, but at least one decent shot came of this (and with the right timing, too!)

It's lit!
Camera: Canon EOS 40D
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 27 mm
ISO Speed: 3200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire
Rebeak PRO 9 years ago
Awesome idea ...great shot ...will use this next time i am out in the tundra of Alaska ..Have many ideas now where it will help ..thanks for sharing
BoldPuppy 9 years ago
You will be shooting blind - so either prefocus or rely on the AF alone. the 'hit' rate is rather low, so take a bunch of photos.

Also, do be very careful with this - it's top heavy and the taller you have it, the more likely it is to fall completely to the ground (or on a bystander).

Use this technique at your own risk! :-)
This also works for a mono-pod and is less heavy to lift up, likeBoldPuppy said becareful.
kickass_studio PRO 9 years ago
Great photo, I like the sillouette of people in the front row.

LiveView shall help in such blind shooting occasion. :)
BoldPuppy 9 years ago
Thanks! I wanted a different perspective from the several thousand other people out there...

I tried live view, and had limited success with it. For the above shot, the camera was turned slightly downward, and as such, I couldn't see the screen from way down below. It was truly blind shooting... for some shooting, live view will work great. If you have a long enough cable and a laptop, you could frame using that! (That would be quite the setup...)
JohnMilleker.com Posted 9 years ago. Edited by JohnMilleker.com (member) 9 years ago
I use the same technique at parties/receptions with tall ceilings. I'm horrible at aiming while the whole thing is up there so I use a wide or fisheye lens, set a two second timer, hoist it all up and I can feel the click of the camera.

I always seem to forget my programmable timer for the camera else I could easily set it to take say ten shots at one second intervals and get a bunch at a time.

Either way, a very unique perspective that usually doesn't sell much, but surely makes them oooh and ahhh. Good for books or slideshows.
BoldPuppy 9 years ago
I did exactly that for the first group of photos I was doing that with.

For this group, I remembered that I had my remote release in my bag, so I used that... didn't have to use the timer, and could take shots at will from below. That did make the handling a bit trickier, but I got the result I wanted.
pcfishhk 9 years ago
Never thought of the usefulness of bringing a tripod to a crowd, but this is a great reason for that. However, wouldn't a monopod serve the purpose (a camera bloom) better?
©DESYphotowerks 9 years ago
I actually seen my friend Yuto do this the other night when we went walking around Downtown Cincinnati doing some night photography of the city. He usually surprised me with his odd low angle photo stances. (its like he's doing Yoga, but with a camera.) But this night, he really surprised me with the tripod over crowd into ice skating rink shot. lol
BoldPuppy 9 years ago
Theoretically, a monopod would be better - it would act like a boom arm.. but my ballhead is on the tripod, and I didn't want to take it off. Plus, with the head on, I could angle the camera downwards and still hold it straight up. I could also get the above portrait shot, which I wouldn't be able to do on a monopod without a head of some sort on it. Then, on top of that, if you use a tripod for this, you will be able to do long exposure night shots that you can't do with a monopod.

Keep in mind that you could extend just one of the three legs for this, and that keeps the 'lift in the air' simple...

Oh, and it can be easily reversed, and go for the very, very low (almost on the ground) shots, as well.
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