Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Five legs good! Two legs bad!

A colleague ended up -- by a convoluted path -- owning one brand new telescope and two brand new tripods, so I (naturally) bought one of the tripods from her.

"Sure, that screw-in yoke will fit my camera. No bother," I said, as she handed the box to me in the job car park.

I wonder what the security people made of it all. A plain white package emerges from the boot of car and is passed to the fat guy with the ponytail who waltzes nonchalantly back into the building with it turcked under one arm. I'm sure someone was electronically marking the security videos for future reference.

Anyway, the tripod is about six feet tall extended. My camera is about a first-class stamp in size, all ready for action. But the screw-in bit DOES fit, so I'm happy.

When out in the garden yesterday afternoon (see this post), I figured I'd use the tripod to capture old Hover Boots in action. So I unwrapped it from its canvas satchel, unclipped its upper leg lock clamps and extended its telescopic legs. Then I unclipped the lower leg lock clamps and extended the telescopic legs of the telescopic legs. I unclipped the camera plate and screwed it into the base of the camera. I fitted the camera plate back into its groove on the tripod head and locked it in place. Then I loosened the tilt nut and using the pan handle I angled the camera until it was roughly horizontal. Then I tightened the leg lock clamps, which I should have done before anything else. I grabbed a classy, white plastic garden chair and sat down on it. Then I was ready. For anything. I thought.

The subject was hovering about twelve inches from the camera. I could see him flitting back and forth in the viewfinder. Not having many manual controls on the focus, I started tapping at the autofocus until he appeared momentarily in the middle of the viewfinder.



He had buzzed off to the right. I grabbed the pan handle, loosened the lock and panned slightly to the right. A blurr of wings hovered in the middle of the viewfinder. I tightened the pan lock and tapped on the autofocus.



I peered over the camera at the hover fly. It stuck out an insect tongue at me and went on hovering.

I picked up the tripod and moved it forward a couple of inches. I looked through the viewfinder. Nothing except green leaves.

I craned my neck around to the right. No sign of the fly.

"He'll be back."

A couple of minutes later, he pinged into view in the middle of the LCD screen.

"Focus... focus-focus-focus-focus-focus-focus focusfocusfocus... Feck!"

The tripod and I marched back and forth across the garden for half an hour until both me and the fly sat panting and wasted.

"Okay," I said. "You don't like formal shots? I'll try informal then..."

I grabbed the camera off the tripod and started stalking about the bushes. In ten minutes more I had 50 or so shots, two of which were really good, the rest useable. My neighbour and his family took turns at looking at me through the back bedroom window. No doubt ehy'll say a little prayer for me on Sunday.

None of the shots taken with the tripod were any good. There were a couple of blurry smudges in the middle of each photo which could have been anything.

The tripod is presently resting back in its satchel. I may take it out for a walk another day.


Angharod said...

ROFL...I have a table top tripod attached to my cam Willie...the whole magilla fits in whatever shoulder bag I'm carrying. So far it's been great as a conversation's heavy enough to use as a defensive weapon, kinda like a hammer. Why is it that when there's something worth shooting there's nothing table height to set it on except the hood of the car...and by the time it's all lugged up...wellll you know don't ya?

Jo said...

Loved the story, nature is a wonderful thing.

Jo said...

Ok, "nature is a wonderful thing" say's I. I am going into Town now to see if I can buy a Superman costume for my son in law. A hire shop is closing down and they are selling all the stuff off.

SUPERMAN costume ?? That IS another story. ( wink ).

Jo said...

Would you believe it ! I went down for the costume and it was sold. Tons of other stuff in the shop. Ah well *S*