We wanted a bit of character to the shadow under our model’s face, playing off the makeup artist’s choice in eyeshadow, we decided to gel a fill light. By placing a blue gel over the light, we could use the low powered fill light to change the color cast of the shadow.
By Abe Schreiber
Packing for a trip is hard. I was going on a hiking trip in Patagonia, Argentina/Chile and had more equipment and clothes than I could carry. Every item was scrutinized as I predicted how often I would really use it and thought about how much extra weight it would add to my pack. Did I really need a tripod? Can I leave that lens? It was like playing Tetris but in real life.
I remembered my Platypod Max - easy to carry and best of all I didn’t need to compromise stability for a lens. I left my normal tripod at home and couldn’t have been happier. I was always able to find a rock to put Max on and not once did I feel like I was missing my tripod. After my Patagonia trip, I realized my Platypod Max has a permanent spot in my photo bag, never to be scrutinized at packing time again.
Over the course of my trip, I made countless stops to enjoy the scenery and make an image or two. From nighttime photography capturing the starry night sky, to serene mountain lakes.
From beautiful snowy landscapes that needed HDR to do them justice to babbling rivers shot from a slippery rock.
I was able to use the same setup for two portraits, the one above and the selfie below. No hiking trip can be called complete without a selfie!.
How do you show subject motion in still photography? It's easy, just slow down the shutter speed. The problem is that if you're hand holding your camera, everything else gets blurry as well.
When Larry, CEO of Platypod and inventor of our tripods, took a Sunday stroll to the Highline in Chelsea, New York City, he thought it would be a great opportunity to test out his new invention, Ultra (preorder via Kickstarter). Due to the high flow of pedestrian traffic on the busy New York City walking path, spreading out tripod legs would be inappropriate and possibly hazardous, not mention how cumbersome it would be to haul on the mile long trail. Larry designed Ultra specifically for these types of situations, for places where traditional tripods just won't work.
The first photo of people walking along the path illustrates a few photographic and compositional principles. What makes an image interesting is often the way the elements lead the eye through the image. First-stop along the way is usually something bright or colorful, especially the color red, as in the man's sweater and the woman's top. Next, the eye moves through the "S" shaped curve of the path and along leading lines, seen in the railings at the two edges of the picture. It helps to have a story in the image as well and if you spend a few more seconds you notice the next element that grabs the eye, the two children posing for a photo as by passers look on with a grin that says "oh how cute" is the sharpest part of the picture.
What makes this photo work are the people moving at different paces as well as having sharp elements in the surroundings and background. To achieve the slow exposure of 1/4 second in bright sunlight Larry employed four simple techniques:
- Stop down to the smallest aperture available which on this 24 to 70 mm zoom lens was f/22.
- Utilize the lowest ISO possible, in this case 50.
- Use a polarizer or neutral density filter.
- Stabilize the camera with a Platypod Ultra placed on the corner of a handrail overlooking the crowd, strapped to the rail and through the fence below tightly and some counter-pressure from a spike foot.
Once the set up is done, just wait for the magic to happen with brightly colored clothes and two cute kids posing for the snapshot.
The next shot occurred further down the promenade in a covered area with artists selling their sketches.
Larry uses his standard tripods often, but there are some situations where they just aren't the right tool for the job.
By Ian Spanier - commercial and editorial portrait, travel, outdoor/adventure and fitness photographer
For one of my Right Next Door Series featured on Huffpost, I was set to photograph Heidi Volpe, a champion singel track bike racer, creative director, popcorn company owner, cancer survivor and cricket eater. We had arrange to do the shoot in the hills of Topanga Canyon, Ca- near her home. We would be hiking in to get a scenic spot up on one of the trails that is similar to what she trains on. Since this was a personal project, I would be managing this solo. Knowing we would be hiking, and the fact I would need a tripod for video, as well as a light for my subejct in order to stay consistent with the rest of the project I had some decisions to make.
First would be to travel as light as possible. Second, to come up with a solution so I could avoid lugging a heavy C-Stand with me for the light. I could have taken a lightweight stand, but given how windy it’s been this winter- I didn’t think that was going to work. I decided to take my Platypod Max and place it on top of my lightweight tripod. I added a simple light pin and tested how it would hold a Profoto B1 head. It worked great. Everything was very balanced, and thanks to the hook under my tripod, I could hang my Lowepro backback under it.
I had managed to fit all my camera and lighting gear in my bag, so the extra weight would serve as a perfect sand bag. The Platypod’s minimal quality slid perfectly amongst my various items. This was no doubt a better solition than a bulky C-Stand or a lightweight light stand.
As much as I love to use the Platypod for my cameras, it has also come in very handy as a floor plate- and now as a makeshift lightstand atop my tripod.
By Ian Spanier
We can’t think of anything more difficult than taking steady shots in a crowded area where traditional tripods are just impractical. Photographing the New York City Marathon must be one of the most difficult places to shoot due to there being so many onlookers. Photographer Harry Chefitz was documenting the 2016 New York City Marathon and was fortunate enough to capture US hero Amanda McGrory, three-time medalist in the 2016 Paralympic games.
Harry explains that he set up his Canon Rebel T1i on a Platypod Pro and had his assistant (14-year-old daughter) take images while he manned a hand held. In post-production he stitched together three images to make the above shot, allowing him to express the motion in a still image.
Harry says “It was easy to merge in Photoshop because the background was perfectly aligned in all the photos. I simple imported each photo as a layer and masked two of the photos to show only the athlete.”
Canon Rebel T1i
Canon Lens EF 40mm 1:2.8 STM
ProMediaGear PBX3 L-Bracket
Really Right Stuff Lever release clamp
Arca Swiss Monoball P-Series tripod head
Platypod Pro Tripod Base
While traveling through Eilat and shopping for presents for their granddaughters, Larry (the CEO and inventor) and Mina (Larry’s wife and co-owner of Platypod Pro) happened upon this nice lady named Irit at the beach side bazaar. Decades ago she and her husband started up a personalized jewelry business where they write someone's name in nearly any language in fine print on a grain of rice. The rice is then inserted with other ornaments, such as tiny beads and flowers, into a capsule with fluid and sealed. The trinket is then used in bracelets and necklaces. Irit is very proud that they were the local originators of this art, however business has been hard lately since many have copied their trade. Loving her passion and story, Larry and Mina bought nine necklaces for their girls.
Larry became enamored with her work and just had to capture her art. Luckily he always carries Max in his backpack, so he can easily document his travels. Irit kindly cleared a few square inches of her crowded counter space for Max and Larry was able to get these macro shots quickly and easily.