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Chapter 8

Exploit Your Equipment

Lens Caps

These things are nothing but trouble, throw them away. Use a ultraviolet (UV) filter on each lens instead.

The Ever Ready Camera Case

The ever ready case is not that. It is the Never Ready case. Don't buy them. Don't travel with them. Spend your money on a good camera bag instead.

Your Camera Strap

By tightening the camera strap around your head and holding the camera against your cheek you can steady the camera. This is not a great way to steady the camera, but it is better than nothing. If you wear glasses be careful not to pop out a lens.

    This actually happened to a friend of mine while we were traveling in England. While on a railroad bridge in New Castle his lens fell about a hundred feet. We found it chipped, but still useable.

Also, use your camera strap to carry a fresh roll of film and an extra battery. Just tape a couple film cans to the strap.

Your Tripod

A small tripod can be held against a building, tree, fence, almost anything really. Including being held upside down against an overhead doorway.

It can also be used as a make shift copy stand. Always carry a cable release either in the tripod's hollow center tube or your camera bag. These techniques are especially important to keep in mind when you are traveling and have a limited amount of equipment.

If you forget the cable release use the camera's delayed timer to trip the shutter.

    I had this problem in India when I put a borrowed 200mm Nikon lens. The lens and camera were a lot for my tiny tripod. The delayed timer did the trick. By the time the ten second delayed timer tripped the shutter the camera had stopped waving back and forth.

When buying a tripod for general use look for:
  • Legs that are easy to operate
  • A versatile pan head
  • One that can function as a copy stand

Do not rely on the height afforded by the center post. When fully extended stability is lost. A quick check can be made by extending the tripod to its maximum then put your hand on the pan head and gently rock it.

To steady a heavy tripod that is supporting a heavy camera use sand bags to block the legs, or clamp on a heavy machinists's vice. Do be sure the tripod can support all that weight.

Let's exercise good judgment , shall we? Crushing your nice new tripod will only make you jump up and down and say things that aren't very nice.

The Polarizing Filter

This filter can be used with black and white and color film. It is an excellent choice to keep with you all the time.

With color film a polarizing filter will make your sky just a beautiful deep blue. To reduce exposure for color, or black and white photography simply install your polarizing filter. It's a great neutral density filter.

Rear Lens Caps

These caps, that many people throw away, are one of the best kept secrets going.
Try this:

  • Tape two real lens caps together back to back.

  • Now stack your lenses' two-to-a compartment in your camera bag. One on top of the other.

  • Now your lenses are more secure as they won't bang around and hit each other and they are easy to access as well.

This technique is super. To get the lens on the bottom pull out the pair and spin off the lens you want.

Ultra Violet Filters

Rather than lens caps get a UV or skylight filter for each of your lenses. This eliminates the clutter of lens caps in your camera bag and affords continuous, excellent protection to all your lenses.

Filters are cheap in comparison to the repair or replacement of a scratched lens.

Go take pictures.

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