Don’t Want to Carry That Long Lens and Camera Gear Around?

January 20, 2014  •  1 Comment

Stroller-Pod Well I finally got a 500mm lens for my Canon just before the CNPA trip to the North Carolina Zoo earlier last year.  “It’s a hilly place”, I thought, “I really don’t want to carry sixteen pounds of camera and tripod gear up and down those hills all day.  After all, I’m no spring chicken anymore :)… and I’m still recovering from an injured foot.”

So I decided I needed to create a rolling tripod.  Something easy to move that was balanced and would allow for easy shooting as I swing around the tripod with my new Wimberley head.   Additionally, it had to be quiet.  I thought about some sort of mount on top of a hand truck similar to what we used to use to take trash cans to the street (before they had wheels)… but that would be noisy and annoying to everyone nearby including myself. No… It had to have quiet rubber wheels and locking parking brake for in case I was on a hill at the park… and that’s when it hit me that it had to be a baby jogger.  You know, the ones you see those super fit parents jogging alongside with their kids down the street in the hood?

My next requirement was cost.  I was not going to spend a ton of money on this project. So I went to Play It Again Sports and found this beat up used jogger for $150.  I decided it was still too much money, but had the frame work in good shape, the parking brake I required, rubber bicycle tires and a hand brake (an added plus).  I told the lady at the store I didn’t think I’d pay more than $50 for it as I headed for the door.  She replied, “Let me call the owner of the jogger”.  I didn’t realize it was negotiable.  The owner agreed and five minutes later I had the perfect framework for my rolling tripod.  I still think I paid too much… but I wanted to play with that new lens at the zoo and not break my back in the process.

 

Image by Jill Bernstein

Once home the baby seat came out easily as it was only snapped and Velcro’ed in place.  I attached wood across the bottom to have a solid floor for two of the legs of the tripod.  I purchased threaded pipe fittings and screwed them to the wood floor and to the front wheel fender. These acted as cups for each of the tripod feet to securely fit into without slipping.  Flipping the former baby sunshade frame forward gave a perfect place to bungee the tripod legs to the cart to avoid overturning.  The last thing I wanted was for this rig to take a tumble with all of that very expensive camera gear.  A couple more bungees from the center of the tripod head to the framework made for a very solid rig. 

Image by Jill Bernstein

Another one of my requirements and one of the reasons for the parking brake was to minimize camera shake.  All that work to only have blurred images would not make me happy camper.  Lastly I added a plastic box that sat on the wood floor to carry my water bottle, jacket and other junk I might need.

This stroller-pod had the type of front wheel where you had to pop a wheelie to turn a corner.  Adding my camera gear bag to the back handle helped balance the rig allowing for easy pop-up-to-turn movement.  However, if I do it again, I’ll get a stroller with a swivel front wheel.

Shooting was a breeze.  I’d roll up to an exhibit and turn the stroller-pod sideways to the animals, lock 

Image by Jill Bernstein

the parking brake and shot from the side as I could easily stand right up to the camera and swing the Wimberley and camera left and right as needed.  Shooting from the rear of the stroller-pod is difficult as you have to lean over the handle that hits you in the stomach in order see in the viewfinder.  However, shooting from the side also allowed me to use my feet as a bumpers against the wheels to prevent the stroller-pod from rolling if the parking brake was not really needed.

In the end, it all worked out great.  I strolled all around the zoo just like any proud mom.  I have to say my baby got more attention than any kid in the park.  At the end of the day, my back, legs and feet felt great as I didn’t lift a thing all day.  In fact, I helped carry other photographers gear from time to time throughout the day.  I was Superwoman (with the help of some wheels)!

As I always say… Anything is possible… You’re only limited by your imagination!


Comments

Sam Upchurch(non-registered)
Very creative and functional Connie! Now all you need to do is market it!
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