If you have a Canon compact camera running the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) firmware, you can create a simple shutter release cable using some cheap components. The firmware causes the camera to snap a photograph anytime 5V is sent down a USB cable connected to the camera. You can do this using a USB cable (e.g. the one that comes with your camera), 5V battery, simple push button, and some kind of housing (a metal candy tin, for example). Oh, and you’ll need to be comfortable cutting up and soldering wires. Luo Bo Te over at kisstheasphalt has written up a tutorial on how to put everything together.
Photographer Jared Krause made this simple camera strap for shooting on the streets of Toronto. The length of nylon rope he used cost just $2.50. Due to cold weather, Krause almost always wears the strap outside a jacket or sweatshirt, but if you’re shooting in warmer weather it might be wise to add some padding for comfort.
Camera bags can get pricy, and when it comes to camera bags that travel well (i.e. on wheels) prices can really skyrocket. In fact, if you type “Rolling Camera Bag” into Amazon your first three options will run you $262.54, $171.07, and $249.00.
So if your idea of prepping for a vacation with your camera doesn’t include a hefty bag budget, Jerrit Pruyn over at FStoppers has a great solution: take your ordinary rolling carry-on bag, buy a matching Calumet Padded Insert for about $30, and put the two together. The result is pretty indistinguishable from some of the rolling camera bags you’ll find on the market.
Photography enthusiast Jeff Vier made himself a cheap DIY grid spot using a $5 gutter downspout adapter he purchased from Home Depot and a $0.50 bag of drinking straws. Simply cut all the straws to the same length (the longer the straws, the more focused the light), carefully arrange them inside the adapter, and then use super glue to fix them into place. Vier found that his makeshift adapter fit perfectly over his Speedlight 580 EX II without any adjustments.
Here’s a short video tutorial on how you can make a cozy for lens protection using some fleece and some velcro. It’s a simple wrap that allows you to keep your lens safe when transporting it in something other than a camera bag. Simply measure out a piece of fleece that’s the appropriate size and sew some velcro onto the ends. The project takes about 30 minutes and costs a buck or two for each cozy.
Physics guru David Prutchi recently came across a line of professional grade gyroscopic camera stabilizers by Kenyon Laboratories. They cost thousands of dollars each, but Prutchi noticed that the designs hadn’t changed much since they were first patented in the 1950s. He then set out to create his own DIY version using low-cost gyroscopes from Gyroscope.com. His finished device (shown above) actually helps stabilize his DSLR when shooting video or when photographing with non-image-stabilized lenses. Read more…
If you want an extra personal touch at birthday parties, you can turn portraits of the birthday boy or girl into picture perfect party hats! Simply print out a portrait using a special template, turn it into a cone, add some fringe, and you’re done. Eden over at Sugar and Charm has the low down.
Photographer Allen Mowery has a step-by-step tutorial on how to build a useful DIY flash mounting accessory using a ratcheting hand clamp and standard 1/4-inch threaded screw. It’s a cheap DIY version of the Super Clamp or Nasty Clamp, and can help you place your flash in places that are inaccessible to light stands or traditional equipment.
Photography enthusiast Kris Robinson used to handhold a flash above his subjects for macro photographs, but then he got tired of doing that and ran out of hands. He then came up with the brilliant idea of making a do-it-yourself contraption that attaches to his flash when it’s mounted to the hotshoe. The light travels down a tube lined with reflective aluminum tape, and is bounced downward onto the subject through a diffused lightbox. For a couple sample shots, see here and here.
P.S. Robinson also offers a tip for shooting macro photos of insects: if you place them into your freezer for a minute or two, they’ll sit nice and still for a while before warming up and scurrying away.
Image credit: IMG_0495 by Kris Robinson and used with permission