Thursday, September 25, 2014

Outdoor Photography Hack - Washer & Cord Tripod Plate Tightener

Using a washer and cord to tighten tripod plate

I'll admit, this hack is not the sexiest, most complicated, or most elegant, but I use it EVERY time I shoot in the backcountry (or anywhere else for that matter.) This "hack" is nothing more than attaching a washer to your camera strap with a piece of cord to avoid being caught in the field without a way to tighten your tripod mounting plate. I discovered I needed this when I was on a backpacking trip and realized I did not have any coins in my pocket or any keys with me (my friend had driven, so I left my keys in the car.) I did manage to use the back of my pocket knife blade, but it wasn't a good fit and was unnecessarily cumbersome. Having a tightening "device" always close at hand has proven absurdly convenient.

Tripod tightening hack with cord and washer
Because I use a small travel tripod to save weight (the Slik Sprint Pro II reviewed here) with a somewhat odd lens/body combination, I probably have to tighten my plate more than many. The vast majority of the time I'm using the relatively heavy Canon 17-40L lens with the very light Canon T3 body (don't laugh, it gets the job done for still landscape work and is very lightweight). This combination of a heavy lens and light body make the camera especially susceptible to rotational force, thereby unscrewing the tension of the tripod plate frequently. Thanks to the washer hack, I just give it quick twist at every setup. This hack cost me nothing but a few inches of cord and an old washer I had lying around, and I use it every single time I use my camera. Be sure to burn your cord at the tips to keep from fraying. I also burn my knots a bit so that the outer layer of cord melts enough to adhere to itself preventing slippage.

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