Nick Carver Photography Blog

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Homemade Plamp

One of the most frustrating things in macro photography is trying to keep flowers still while photographing them. At the high magnifications of close-up photography, even the slightest trembling in the wind will ruin a shot. That's why someone smarter than me invented the Plamp (plant clamp) - an articulating arm with clips on either end that attaches to your tripod and can hold a flower steady for you.

It's a really great product, but I just couldn't justify the price, size and weight for something I'll use so rarely. So, instead, I made a trip to my hardware store, picked up a yard or so of their heaviest-gauge wire, bought a pack of charging clips and decided to throw an imitation plamp together myself.

Total cost of materials: About $3.00.
Total assembly time: About 10 minutes

Basically you just attach a clip to either end of the wire and you're done. You can wrap it around your tripod and position the arm to hold the flower just right. Of course, this isn't as good as the Plamp itself (it isn't as sturdy and is a little "springy"), but it definitely is cheap. Here's a shot I took with and without my homemade plamp (both pictures: 1/25 at f/14):

Without:

With:

See? Much better. Now go out and get your supplies!

Chino Hills State Park

I went on a little hike yesterday through Chino Hills State Park. It was my first time visiting and I have to say, it's a really great park. Despite the abundant power lines and air traffic overhead, you feel pretty detached from the surrounding cities. I love rolling green hills - classic California landscape - and Chino Hills SP has plenty of them!

I think it was a little bit early for peak bloom this Spring, but there were a lot of flowers out. I saw poppies from a distance, purple lupines and tons of these little white guys (see pictures) for which I don't know the name. Also saw lots of coyote and mountain lion tracks in the mud.

Could have used a few more clouds to spice up the skies and sunset a bit, but oh well. I'll be back before too long. I was out maybe a total of 4-5 hours and I am ridiculously sore today. I need to go hiking with a full backpack of camera gear more often!