Photo Gear

I’ve got a vacation coming up, and I plan on spending a good portion of my time learning some photography. The professional photographer I’ll be learning from suggested I get a few items. I already knew I needed a decent tripod. He suggested some filters for me. This post isn’t about the filters…I’m enough of a photography newbie that I don’t feel in a position to review those.

This post is about the tripod and ball head that was my number one priority.

I picked up a set of Flashpoint F-1228 carbon fiber legs. They’re a full 60″ tall, so I can use them standing up easily (I’m 5’8″). They’re 4 section telescoping legs, so they can get pretty short.

The ball head is a Slik AF-1100E trigger-style ball head. Yes, it’s heavier than a standard ball head. But what you lose in weight gain, you make up for in quick adjustability. Squeeze the trigger, aim the camera, then let go. Great for making quick aiming of the camera for wildlife and avoiding the hassle of turning knobs.

After I ordered these two items, I found I needed to order an adapter to make them play nice. Sigh…the disadvantage of living in a little backwoods town without a decent photo shop. I had to order one of these Manfrotto adapter plates to make everything work.

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Here’s a shot of everything together, but with the center column not extended. With the legs extended fully, I don’t need to use the center column for my height. So there’s a little extra height to play with in case someone taller uses the tripod or if I don’t have the legs fully extended, but need some adjustability quickly.

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Here’s that Slik ball head and the adapter. You can see the big trigger. All you have to do is squeeze and you can move the ball head how you need.

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The center column extension comes off if you want to shave some weight -or-

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drop the camera really low. This is a good position for macro work, or for lying prone for wildlife photography.

Speaking of adjustability, here’s how those legs spread out so wide.
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Those little tabs pull out a bit and there are three notches for the legs.

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And then they snap into place at the notches to hold the adjustment.

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This is that Manfrotto adapter plate I was talking about. Takes the 3/8″ bolt on the tripod legs down to the 1/4-20 bolt that screws into the ball head or the camera. This was quite likely a problem because of the disparity in weight capacities of the tripod and the ball head. This tripod is rated at 17.5lb and the ball head at 6.5lb.

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Here’s the other side of the ball head, and you can see the quick release lever on top and the pivot lock lever just below it. The pivot lever just lets you pivot the camera on top of the ball head. All ball head adjustments are done via the trigger release.

Now that I’ve got the pictures of the actual gear out of the way, now it’s time to show some pictures of the stuff I was taking pictures of in the yard.
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These pictures were all taken with the kit lens. Unfortunately, I don’t have a macro lens, so this is as close as I’m probably going to be able to get. I’ve been working on getting a wildflower bed established this year from seed. I’ve been getting some nice flowers, but the coverage has been mostly weak on them. I will be putting more seed down this fall, and I’m thinking of doubling the amount. I want there to be more flowers than grass.

green zebras

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I’m pretty excited about my green zebra tomatoes. They’re looking beautiful.

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My pumpkin is already beginning to turn. It’s a pretty big one, too. I did a lot of trimming of the vine because I didn’t want many wimpy pumpkins. I left a couple on, but this is the only one that has survived. I think it’ll be a bigun.

I also have some other melons hiding in the garden.
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This one is a small ananas melon. I actually have a few of these, still.

And finally, the sentinel looking over my garden.
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I have no idea if he really does anything to keep critters out, but better safe than sorry I guess. I’ve had him for years to keep birds from eating my flowers from balcony planters in apartments. He did a reasonable job at that.

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