An Extra 12″

29 08 2014
An Extra 12" (adjustable spanner)

An Extra 12″ (adjustable spanner)


Been doing a few product shots this week, mainly tools. The texture on some of these is absolutely stunning. Choosing a background that compliments the product is quite a big part of the process. In this shot I wanted something other than a plain background, but not with too bold a texture. I used my son’s balance disc, and lit it with a single gridded strobe, shooting at F2.8 on an 85mm lens at pretty much closest distance to the spanner, which was sitting on a piece of glass between two chairs, over the training ball.  Ambient light illuminated the upper side of the tool. I also used a 0.6 ND filter in the gel holder of my Pro Shade, just to allow the use of a wide aperture (throwing the rubber spikes on the balance disc out of sharp focus).

The camera was mounted on a Manfrotto 3021 tripod, with the centre column set parallel to the floor. This is a great tool and the only way I think it could be improved is perhaps a carbon version, with titanium fittings. Just waiting on that lottery ticket….

a makeshift pipe wrench.

18 04 2014

so, this is a little piece about a problem I encountered with one of the numerous bits of photo gear that I own, and the simple solution that resolved it. 

I have this old rolling studio stand, that the wife insists must be kept in the garage. it’s a heavy old thing, probably steel, with aluminium sections. not terribly large, maybe 6 feet tall at full extension. the legs can be folded for transportation, and therein lay the problem. somehow I had managed to misthread the bolt in the base, that holds the legs in the ‘using’ position. so out came the toolbox and every wrench I own. you know what I am going to write next….yep, none of them had wide enough jaws to grip the head of the bolt.

but what occurred to me was this simple solution – MAnfrotto to the rescue. MA= Mechanical Advantage, right? who was it who wrote ‘give me a long enough lever and I will move the world’? Archimedes I believe, or one of those clever Greek blokes. 

I am, I guess, a bit of a Manfrotto collector. because their stuff works. it’s that simple. take one #122B Adjustable Pole for backlight stand, insert studded end into Super Clamp #035, and tighten. now you have a wrench with jaws opening up to 60mm, and a huge lever. without needing the extra leverage of the second extension, I was able to fasten the jaws of the clamp around the offending bolt head, and move it enough to allow the legs to be collapsed.

now I know you’re thinking ‘yeah, but the bolt is still misthreaded’ well true enough, but the legs can still be used in the rolling position well enough, without need to rotate that bolt. THANK YOU MAnfrotto