Friday, November 16, 2012


  In a recent blog posting, I presented video of lightning strikes during an afternoon thunderstorm over Tucson.  The video below is a lightning strike recorded in super slow-motion that really shows how a strike starts out with "feelers" before evolving into a full strike.

  Pretty impressive.  This was done with a Phantom high-speed video camera.

Monday, November 5, 2012


[Note:  this is another in a series of postings that were originally hosted by Apple but went away when Apple cancelled]

  Sometimes you need to place a camera in an unusual position or just set it up on something less than a full size tripod.  One solution for those needs can be the Gorillapod, a unique mini-tripod system.  As you can see from the pictures above the units are made of a series of snap-together rubberized elements that can rotate at angles to each other.  There is friction between the elements so that they will stay any position in which you place them.  You can also pull the elements apart and snap them back together if you need to make one or more of the legs shorter.  The key attribute is the ability to wrap the legs around most anything to hold a camera in place.  Or just use it as a tabletop tripod if needed.

   The company that created the original Gorillapod has been very creative in coming up with new versions and applications.  The not only come in various sizes - two are shown above - but you can get a version that has magnets in the feet so that you can stick it to a ferrous metal object.  My son gave me a “Gorillatorch”, which is basically one of the smaller units with magnetic feet and a LED light on the top, for my birthday.  Not only can I stick the light on the side of my filing cabinet as an emergency light I could, if desired, snap off the magnetic feet and use them on my smaller Gorillapod shown in the left and center picture above.  The link above will take you to their website where you can see the many varieties available and some of the creative uses.

   The two pictures on the right above show my two units in action. 

   The smaller unit is sized for small digital cameras.  It has a 1/4”-20 post for mounting of the camera and a quick-release coupling between the camera mount and the Gorillapod.  The larger unit has a similar 1/4”-20 mounting post but without the quick release.  It has a larger pad on which a ball head can be mounted, if desired.

   The middle picture shows my “point-and-shoot” Sony DSC-TX7 mounted on my smaller Gorillapod.

   The right hand picture shows my Sony HXR-MC50 camcorder mounted on the larger unit.  Generally, you can flex the unit to get the camera level without needing a ball head.  The larger unit is also suitable for a larger digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera.

   You can order one (or more) of the units from both Amazon and B&H.  The both have quite a variety from which to select.  If you access them via the links below I get a small consideration for the purchase.

  The Gorrilapod at Amazon

  The Gorrilapod at B&H