Today I received a package in the mail from my uncle. He is a retired toolmaker, and a while back I had asked him if he would make something for me. I wanted a couple of extension rods for my camera’s tiny tripod.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been out taking photos of flowers and needed a tripod unlike any I have. I have two of them. A tall one, that can be set at heights anywhere between about 16 and 72 inches, and another really small one that can be set between 2 and 5 inches. Neither of those work for photographing 10 inch flowers.

So he made me two aluminum rods with 1/4-20 threads on each end (male on one end, female on the other). One of these rods is 3 inches long, and the other is six. That way I can add 3, 6, or 9 inches to the height of my 2-5 inch tripod.

So I went tramping through the woods looking for subjects to photograph. It’s too early for any flowers in my woods (the only thing in bloom right now as far as I know are the crocuses and silver maples). Instead, I took pictures of moss on stumps, and some wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens).

Wintergreen with a berry

Wintergreen (Galutheria procumbens) with a berry

It came out pretty OK! Note the berry. Wintergreen berries form on the plant in the summer and stay there until it makes new flowers the next year. So this one has been hanging there all winter. Also… it tasted pretty good. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about picking those in the snow in the book Farmer Boy, which covered a year in her husband’s childhood. He grew up in Upstate New York near the Canadian border, and we’re thinking of visiting his homestead this summer. They have a museum there now.

Anyhow… now I have another tool in my photography arsenal. It could still be improved if I could attach a ball-joint to the top so I could pivot the camera. I can still pivot it down at the head of the tripod, but not too much or the whole thing becomes tippy. But even with it tippy, I can just hold it down so it doesn’t tip and it’ll still hold the camera nice and still.

Here’s another shot of a balsam fir (Abies balamea) frond. I could not have taken this shot without that extension.

Balsam fir (Abies balsamea)

Balsam fir (Abies balsamea)