Want to add some simple panning action to a time-lapse video? Trying using a cheap IKEA kitchen timer. GetawayMoments has a tutorial on how to convert a $2-$6 timer from IKEA into a simple device for your time-lapse projects.
If you ever find yourself needing some quick stabilization when recording video with your DSLR, but don’t have a fancy rig with you (or you’re in a place where you can’t bring one), you can use an ordinary tripod as a makeshift shoulder rig for some extra stability.
Image credit: Photograph by packman86 and used with permission
Mechanical engineer and Flickr user Some Guy (Art) was bored at his job where picture taking was explicitly disallowed, so he did what any rebellious photo-fanatic would do: build a makeshift camera out of trash! Bringing $5 worth of parts (e.g. dowels, bolts, super glue) from home, he successfully turned some machine core — which he calls “cardboard toilet paper tube on steroids” — into a 35mm pinhole camera.
If you need a cheap way to bounce some light, don’t want to spend a wad of cash on a real reflector from a camera shop, and don’t want to take the time to make a cardboard and aluminum foil reflector, you can buy a cheap car sun shade (less than $10 at Walmart) as a cheap reflector. They’re lightweight, foldable, and reflect light well — just make sure the reflective surface is white or silver.
The Coleman LED Quad Lantern is an area lantern that features four detachable LED panels that function as individual lights, with each one containing six LEDs, a handle, and a rechargeable battery. While it’s designed for outdoor use (e.g. camping), it can also be used as a cheap solution for lighting your photos on the go.
If you have an old or broken flatbed scanner lying around and gathering dust, a neat thing you can do is convert it into a cheap, do-it-yourself lightbox for viewing negatives and slides. Photo-enthusiast James Wilson did this as a weekend project:
It was a simple process; gut the scanner, hook up a light fixture inside it, and paint the inside of the glass white. Total cost was around ten bucks for the light fixture, wiring, and paint. [#]
If you need some quick white balancing for whatever reason, and don’t have a white balance card or Expodisc handy, you can try using a standard coffee cup lid. Photographer Steve Bennet always has some lids lying around in his car, and found that they work as rough white balancing tools.
To use, I set the focus to infinity, place the cap over, then set the custom WB. I dont even need to hold it as it fits nicely inside my lens hood, but that is just a lucky coincidence.
Of course, this won’t deliver perfect results that rival professional tools, but if you’re not shooting RAW and need a quick approximation, you might want to give this a shot.
Remember the 102-year-old lens experiment we shared a week ago? Daire Quinlan did something similar — he combined his grandfather’s 6×9 Pocket Kodak lens from 1920 (90 years ago) with homemade bellows to create his own tilt-shift lens to play with. Unlike Timur Civan, who used his 102-year-old lens on a 5D Mark II, Quinlan used his frankenlens with a Nikon film camera.
Here’s a “duh” idea that might not have crossed your mind: you can use your iPad as a portable light table by displaying a blank page on the browser. Might be useful for those of you who are thinking of doing some printing in your bathroom or something.
Of course, you can use a cellphone too for things like 35mm negatives, but an iPad is much more similar to a portable light table. This idea is courtesy of photographer Dalton Rooney, whose free WordPress theme for photogs we featured a while back.