I photograph food a lot and goes without saying, I tether my EOS 5D Mark II to a 17 inch Dell Studio laptop. There’s really no other way when critical review is key to decisive, quality results. Thing is, working with any sort of exposed cable comes with an inherent risk that requires no explanation. Last week, during a routine shoot, I accidentally stepped on the cable closest to the camera and there was no slack, resulted in a good tug that fortunately didn’t cause any damage to either connectors. I may not be so lucky next time.
Tripping hazard: working with exposed cable comes with inherent risk.
A quick search on the web revealed several kinds of brackets designed for HDSLR videographers to hold HDMI cables securely. This one in particular is designed to interface all 6 cables on EOS 5D Mark II/III and 7D bodies.
This CoolProtector is designed to protect the 6 cable interfaces of your DSLR CANON 7D 5D-2 5D-3(Super expensive to repair your DSLR’s cable interface such as HDMI Cable interfaces).
It’s not my style to buy gadgets online or spend time searching for stores that carry them. So I put on my thinking cap, looked around the studio room for ideas and came up with a perfect instantly available solution that does the same thing — using a HONL velcro Speed Strap. It’s rubber lining provides sufficient traction that when securely fastened around the tripod leg, it offers plenty of protection against a repeat accident.
Using a HONL Speed Strap I’m able to secure my 5M long USB cable to the tripod. This effectively stops the cable from being pulled out of its socket reducing the risk of damage to delicate pins.
I own a couple of tripods, a heavy duty SLIK PRO 500DX and a quite recent addition to the inventory a smaller, light weight Fotopro FPH-53P both units come with the convenience of a quick-release plate. The SLIK PRO being bigger and a lot more robust comes with a proportionately bigger quick-release plate that’s also easier to tighten. The Fotopro on the other hand is smaller and like most smaller QR plates, the screw head is slotted so you can additionally tighten it an extra notch or two using a coin or a flat head screw driver. The problem is there had been times when I neither had a coin nor any type of screw driver with me during a shoot so at inopportune times when I really needed to tighten the plate it can be super annoying to have to deal with an attachment that requires periodic re-tightening throughout the shoot.
Once, I inserted a Phillips screwdriver (couldn’t find a flat head) through the metal clip and turned it a tad too much, the clip snapped off the screw head. Not cool.
Looked around the house and found something off a keychain that fits the slot perfectly and size big enough to tighten without using much effort unlike when you use a small coin.
The though of drilling a hole in a coin had crossed my mind but at the same time questioned the legality of doing something like that. Thankfully this copper piece with a punched tip saved the day.
Here’s the thing. In order to make sure the I have convenient access to the ‘key’ whenever I need it, I strapped the copper piece to a retractable lanyard that’s securely attached to the tripod with a Velcro fastener.
It’s back to work once the camera is securely tightened to the quick release plate.
The Apple iPad is my preferred computing device when working away from home and when my photography assignment does not necessitate lugging my Dell 17″ Studio laptop on-site. With the long commutes and long hours, my car turns into a makeshift office (only thing missing is an espresso machine. Mind you, the idea of my Caffitaly machine tagging along has crossed my mind once or twice.). After months of failing to source for the right raw materials, I finally found what works well incredibly well and requires no expenditure — a lanyard. In my example, I use a Nokia OVI wide lanyard I have in my collection from ZoukOut 2009. The idea to mount the iPad (having an Apple Smart Cover helps big time) on the steering wheel is nothing more than simple ergonomics — my work and the commute alone is tiring enough, no need to throw neck pain from awkward posture to the mix.
Mounting the iPad on the steering wheel is most useful when you're parked waiting for kids to get off school or waiting for a friend to show up. Some steering wheels are particularly prone to excessive vibration due to worn out engine mounts, it may help to insert a piece of foam to reduce the effect.
Warning: It’s dangerous to place any object between the steering wheel and the passenger at any time you’re sitting in the driver’s seat. There’s an inherent risk of the airbag deploying when triggering conditions are met even when the vehicle isn’t moving. The idea here is that if you own an iPad, happen to have brought it with you and plan on using it in the car anyway, you may as well use it comfortably. The lanyard takes just seconds to mount and dismount.