Photography In A Pinch by Barney Newton

Good photographers try to be prepared for almost any contingency. Unfortunately, if you tried to carry everything you’d need to meet every contingency in the field, you’d have to pack like a Bedouin trader.

Many times that simply isn’t possible and other times it’s not desirable. So the seasoned photographer learns to be resourceful. Here are a few miscellaneous tips that can save your back, particularly on short trips near home.

A Monopod

In all but the most extreme lighting situations a monopod can substitute nicely for a tripod and is a lot easier to carry. With practice you’ll be able to hold a monopod nearly as stable as a tripod, for a short time anyway.

Another trick for stabilizing a monopod is to wrap the camera strap around your upper arm and push on the monopod while exerting gentle backward pressure on the strap. Similarly, you can place a large clamp on your monopod and use it as a shoulder brace, almost like a gun mount. It might look a little funny but it works surprisingly well.

Working In Sand

For those times you have to drag a tripod to the beach or sandy area, grab three tennis balls on the way out the door. Cut a hole big enough for your tripod leg and fit a tennis ball over each end.

The tennis balls won’t sink in the sand, will keep most of the grit out of the end of your tripod leg and you can throw them away when you’re finished.

Another great thing about working at the beach is you don’t need to carry sand bags, just bring bags. There’s usually plenty of sand already on the beach. Those are priceless for weighting reflectors, which tend to act like a sail in ocean breezes.

Bring A Cooler

But leave the ice packs at home. A cooler has several advantages over an equipment case in many situations. They’re solid, many have a handle and wheels, and you can sit or stand on them in a pinch. If you lose or break it, you’re only out about $40.

You can still carry drinks with the camera gear, but carefully. Get those drink cozies you put…

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