Friday, October 20, 2006

New Toys

There's nothing like a new toy to make you want to go out and photograph. My latest new toy just arrived, about four hours before I expected it (the UPS delivery is usually around 4:30 or 5:00, today the van arrived at 12).

Not long ago, I borrowed a Gitzo carbon fiber Explorer tripod - the one with the cunning 'center' column that can be swiveled around and up and down - the center column is really more of an arm than a column. It reminded me of the older Benbo tripods, but without the wonkyness that made me want to hurl the Benbo into a large, deep body of water with great force after I tried to use one. But I didn't much care for the leg locks on the Gitzo, and the tripod legs weren't quite long enough, and the 'head' that clamped the arm had a sort of rachet-like feel that I didn't like. So I returned it to its owner with thanks. But the dream of that arm remained.

So on Wednesday, I broke down and bought a RRS CB-18. It's an 18" long aluminum bar, machined with an Arca-Swiss profile along the length, top and bottom, and with big recesses milled out of the center to make it lighter. My plan is to mount a ball head at one end, stick the other end into the clamp of the RRS BH-55 on my main tripod, and Voila! an arm with a ballhead on the end! Just what I wanted!

After it arrived, it took me three minutes to realize that I had no decent way to fix the ballhead to the bar (it's got 1/4"-20 holes in the end, but of course I have neither a 1/4"-20 stud to go in the hole, nor the adaptor to mount my other ballhead on the stud. So I've improvised, mounting the base of the ballhead on a 5/16-16 stud, which in turn is screwed into spare Arca-Swiss style clamp. It's heavier than I'd like, but it will do until I can find an adaptor sleeve (I have one around here somewhere) and a 1/4"-20 stud (which I will buy at the local hardware store next time I'm in town).

So I'm off to play with the new toy.

Here's the very first result.


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