Living in Colorado affords me plenty of opportunities to photograph winter landscapes. The problem with winter landscapes in the mountains, though, is that the temperature can get beyond just cold. Frigid temperatures are a particular problem for me because I lug around an aluminum tripod that practically freezes skin on contact. Here’s an awesome solution I put to the test a few days ago on hike through Red Rocks park. It cost me four bucks.
This is a two-part trick. The first part involves six feet of copper pipe insulation that you can get at Home Depot for less than $2. Simply measure the legs of your tripod, cut pieces of the insulation to the appropriate length and wrap the pieces of insulation around the legs . The insulation comes in different diameters for different size pipes. My tripod legs are one inch in diameter, so the one-inch pipe insulation worked for me. I recommend the kind that is pre-split and has adhesive to connect the sides after you wrap the insulation around the tripod legs. The adhesive will stick a little bit to the aluminum and prevent the insulation for sliding around. Nevertheless, you could save a buck by buying pipe insulation that is not split and then just split it yourself. You’ll just need to use duct tape to keep the insulation from sliding around.
As an added bonus, the pipe insulation is perfect padding for when you want to carry your tripod over your shoulder on hikes. It weighs next to nothing so I plan on keeping it on my tripod permanently.
The second part of this two-part trick is a no-brainer: gloves. I’m a big fan of the $2 pair of cotton gloves that you find in the clearance bins at Walgreen’s every spring. The trick is to find thin gloves that provide enough dexterity to operate your camera in really cold weather. I wear them under my regular winter gloves on really cold days and just take off the winter gloves when I operate my camera. The added bonus of the gloves is that they make good padding for gear in the camera bag when you’re not wearing them on your hands.
Every photographer (or artist of any medium) gets into a creative rut now and then. This trick using Flickr and Flickriver is something I use to get new ideas for photographs. Even if you are not a photographer, Flickriver is a great source for fantastic photographs and I recommend, at the very least, a quick visit just to see some great photos.
First, you’ll need to know what Flickr and Flickriver are. (I’m sure that those of you living on the top side of the rock already know about Flickr): Flickr is a photo sharing website. It’s much more than that, really. But, for the purpose of this post, that’s all you need to know except that to do this trick, you need to have an account with Flickr so you can save your favorite Flickr photos for review later. Flickriver is a really cool website that taps into Flickr to fetch all of the most interesting photos posted there. The photos change each day, and each day there are hundreds of new, interesting photos to see.
Now, for the stupid trick. This trick is so simple (and so stupid) it’s almost not worth writing about it, but here it goes:
- Go to www.flickriver.com. View the photos.
- When you see a picture you like, click it to open the original Flickr page with the photo.
- Hit the “Add to Faves” button. (You’ll need to be logged into Flickr to see the button.)
- When you’re done browsing Flickriver, jump on over to Flickr and view your favorites.
See? I told you it was simple. Stupid, too. But, when in a creative rut, it’s a great way to glean ideas from great photos and get the creative juices flowing again. It works because there are so many Flickr users posting so many great photos all the time, that there will always be something that appeals to you. Flickriver consolidates all of those interesting photos in place for easy viewing.
Now, to really speed things up, you can use these keyboard shortcuts on Flickriver to move to the next or previous photo and to open the Flickr page containing the photo and the “Add to Faves” button:
- j: Next Photo
- k: Previous Photo
- v: Open Flickr
I really didn’t mean this post to be as much an advertisement for Flickriver. But, I admit, it really is a great use of the Flickr API.