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03-18-2016, 11:53 AM - 4 Likes   #1
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Monopod, ball head mount and MY use of it.

I know that monopods aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they're almost always necessary in my case, due to some physical limitations. I've managed to alter mine to suit my needs and did so on a tight budget. Granted, there are much more expensive models/brands, but.... like I said, a "tight budget." And, I will say, tight budget or not, MY rig works splendidly. So, that having been said, I thought I'd show you what I've got.


It's an inexpensive Targus brand monopod I bought from Walmart for $15.00. It's made of some sort of polymer (read: plastic) that's very strong and rigid. The extension locks are very secure. Secure enough that when I get down on one knee to take a low-level shot, I can use it to hoist myself back to an upright position and it won't collapse and become shorter. It will also extend to 6' long. When I'm on uneven ground, woodlands, etc., I will leave my camera around my neck, (Yes, I use a neck strap ALL THE TIME!) disconnect the monopod and use it as a staff of sorts to help maintain my balance and footing. It has a two-way tip that can be adjusted to a plain rubber, rounded tip or turned to expose a metal spike for slippery surfaces, such as ice or whatever.


I've mounted an inexpensive Beike BK03 ball head mount on the monopod. In spite of the minimum cost of only $20.00 for it, I've found it to work wonderful for ME. Again, the "tight budget" applies. It's very well made, very solid and locks up as tight as a bank vault. Again, I know that there are other brands that are probably better, but I doubt that you can find one for less than $100 that will perform any better than this little gem.


O.K., one last thing I'd like to add to this show & tell session. Bad knees and hips prevent me from shooting a lot of things that I'll see in the field, so I've developed my own method of capturing these shots. It's not exactly something new, as I'm sure someone, somewhere has already figured this out. But, I'll show you how I finagle my camera into position..... right down to ground level.... and capture photos that I'd otherwise have to pass up.


I simply loosen the knobs on the Beike, position the camera at the angle that I think will work, extend the monopod out, pre-focus the camera, put it on a 12-second shutter release delay and place the camera in position and wait for the "click." Then, I can review the image and if I didn't catch it like I want, I just re-shoot it until I get what I want. Of course, the image will be upside down, but that's easily remedied in PP. The attached image of the flowers is one that I took using this somewhat unorthodox method.



Last edited by Dewman; 08-05-2017 at 04:10 PM.
03-18-2016, 12:01 PM   #2
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Cool. For those upside down shots you could get a mini-ball head with hot shoe ($5 ebay) or similar to keep it off the ground and give you something to pivot/rest on (put a small flat plate on it as foot for upside down work).
03-18-2016, 12:45 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
For those upside down shots you could get a mini-ball head with hot shoe ($5 ebay) or similar to keep it off the ground and give you something to pivot/rest on (put a small flat plate on it as foot for upside down work).

Duly noted, sir. I have one of the hot shoe covers that I could easily epoxy a "pivot plate" of sorts that would work great! EXCELLENT! I needed something to do this afternoon, so.... now my work is cut out for me! Photos to follow!
03-18-2016, 12:48 PM   #4
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I think, outstanding!

My monopod is about my favourite accessory and it's making a lot of difference to me in terms of the shutter sppeds I can and can't use. Can't say I use it quite in the way you do as I'm a mere youngster at 49 and my joints still work, but it won't be too long. Very nice to see this post, and I especially like posts when people use a piece of eq slightly different to how most use it but when they make it perfect for them.

03-18-2016, 01:45 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Thank you for the interesting post. I have been thinking about monopods for various situations where I photograph - and part of the motivation is some physical limitations I have (chief among these a very bad back).

I don't know if this would work for you for some of your photography, but I have taken to carrying around a lightweight, portable step stool. I use it mainly at the farm sanctuary where I volunteer as a photographer - but I also sometimes use it for other shoots (other animal rescue work, flowers, landscapes, etc). Having a stool enables me to shoot from a low position, and stay in that low position, without putting so much pressure on my back (as I would if I crouched or bent over to shoot). Sitting enables me to turn my body into a tripod, and I can hand-hold at a somewhat lower speed than I can when standing straight up (and a lot lower than if I'm standing but crouching).

An unexpected benefit of sitting on the stool is that I become much more still - that enables me to connect more to the scene - and often results in the animals relaxing around me (so I get to see more interesting actions).

Of course, you can get similar results from sitting on the ground, but I find that the step stool a) keeps me from having to sit on yucky stuff (I photograph in barnyards, after all), b) gives me more options for height (I can shoot sitting straight up, or I can squash down a bit, or I can stand on it to give myself an extra 8 inches).

The stool folds up to the size of a 1 1/2" ring binder, has a built-in handle, and is quite lightweight.
http://www.amazon.com/Kikkerland-Rhino-Step-Stool-Black/dp/B00E6MJGSA

The only problem I've had so far is that I tend to put it down and forget it (e.g., in a barn). So I think I need to put a sticker on my camera (maybe the lens cap) that says "Don't forget your step stool!"

I wouldn't go hiking with it, but it's something to consider keeping a car or at home for certain activities.
03-18-2016, 01:46 PM   #6
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Now you need to buy a K-1 :-) ! The articulated screen, albeit viewed from a distance, will reduce the trial and error of your technique. I'm always happy to help others spend their hard earned money...

Last edited by darylk; 03-18-2016 at 01:52 PM.
03-18-2016, 03:01 PM   #7
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Dewman, great idea! Just goes to show that innovative ideas are born from necessity!

03-18-2016, 03:12 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by csa Quote
Dewman, great idea! Just goes to show that innovative ideas are born from necessity!

Yep, Carol.... necessity was definitely the mother of my invention! I use it all the time now! It allowed me to capture this one, too!


03-18-2016, 04:08 PM   #9
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Well done!
03-18-2016, 05:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
Yep, Carol.... necessity was definitely the mother of my invention! I use it all the time now! It allowed me to capture this one, too!

Good on ya! Gives me hope...
03-18-2016, 05:37 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bamtax Quote
Good on ya! Gives me hope...

That made the entire thread worthwhile, Bamtax! Give my little quirky twist a try. You'd be surprised at how easy it is and how well it works.

---------- Post added 03-18-16 at 06:38 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
Well done!

Thanks, Dave.
03-19-2016, 07:04 PM   #12
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Like what you've done! I have the same issues of old knees and difficulty getting low and back up again.

I have that same model Targus monopod (also from W-Mart); however it hasn't worked out for me as a walking support. The least bit of downward pressure causes the pod sections to "collapse", well, more of a "slide". So far I don't see a way to tighten the locks to clamp more firmly.
03-19-2016, 07:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by shuber Quote
Like what you've done! I have the same issues of old knees and difficulty getting low and back up again.

I have that same model Targus monopod (also from W-Mart); however it hasn't worked out for me as a walking support. The least bit of downward pressure causes the pod sections to "collapse", well, more of a "slide". So far I don't see a way to tighten the locks to clamp more firmly.

I have two of the Targus monopods and one of them had a tendency to "collapse" as you stated. My solution was to take a piece of 60 grit sandpaper and fold it over twice, and run it up and down inside the indentation in the monopod leg where the locking lever engages. It creates a rough surface that allows the lever to get more of a grasp. It didn't completely cure the problem, but it helped a great deal. The second one I bought has held up very well and works wonders to help me up and down. Good luck. Maybe my home remedy will work for you, too.
03-20-2016, 02:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dewman Quote
My solution was to take a piece of 60 grit sandpaper and fold it over twice, and run it up and down inside the indentation in the monopod leg where the locking lever engages.
Thanks for the tip! I'm going to give that a shot.....
03-20-2016, 03:36 PM   #15
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This is what makes this forum so great. Members sharing their tips with others, in order to assist anyone that might benefit from the tips.

Good on ya, Dewman!
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