How To

Christmas projects #12 – Movie grip


The quality of the video that can be shot using a DSLR or CSC has increased rapidly in the past years, resulting in a bewildering array of video-orientated grips being sold. However, you don’t need to spend a huge amount to make your camera more video friendly, as this DIY grip proves.

The key ingredients are: plastic pipe (you will need…

Christmas projects #11 – Time-Lapse Panning device

Time lapse


If you want to add a panning movement to time-lapse videos this is a simple solution. You need a 60min kitchen timer with a hole drilled in the top that is large enough to fit a 1⁄4in tripod screw. Be careful when drilling as there may be some mechanical parts inside the timer that could be damaged. With most timers…

Christmas projects #10 – Photo cube

    A photo cube serves no practical purpose, but it is a great way to display six festive photographs as you enter the New Year.

To start with, you’ll need to find a cube template – if you search online you’ll find dozens that fit the bill and are free to use.

Christmas projects #9 – Macro Tube

You can turn the metal and cardboard packaging from a crisps tube into a ‘super’ extension tube.

Once the glue has dried, cut your crisp can to length. The longer the tube, the greater the magnification, but the more light will be lost (requiring a longer shutter speed or higher ISO).
With your tube cut to size, it’s time to mount your lens.
A 50mm prime lens is ideal, and as you aren’t actually ‘mounting’ the lens it doesn’t…

Christmas projects #8 – Single camera stereo

A finished stereo pair, complete with a narrow space between the images to aid cross-eyed viewing.

Stereo photography is often seen as being quite involved, with a need for specialist twin-lens cameras or two cameras mounted side-by-side. But it doesn’t have to be that way: if you limit yourself to static subjects, it’s possible to produce a stereo pair with just one camera and free software.
The process starts with you shooting two images of the same…

Christmas projects #7 – Bottle-cap ’pod



With various family visits and parties, it’s the time of year when a pocketable compact camera might take precedence over an SLR. If that’s the plan, then a bottle-cap ’pod will let you transform a drinks bottle into a camera stand, allowing you to use longer shutter speeds instead of cranking up the ISO (and noise).
That’s it!
Now you can swap…

Christmas projects #6 – Silhouettes

Exposing for the sky and having a subject that is clear to ‘read’ are the two key ingredients to a successful silhouette.

A silhouette puts the ’graphic’ into ‘photographic’, reducing your subject to a featureless dark shape against a brighter background. There’s no better time to hone your silhouette shooting skills than right now, when the sun is low in the sky for much of the day and both dawn and dusk are at a reasonable hour.
However, don’t limit yourself to the…

Christmas projects #5 – Lo-fi lens



If you’ve toyed with the idea of playing with a plastic camera, such as a Lomo or a Holga, but have been put off by their reliance on film, a ‘lo-fi lens’ may be the answer. While Lomography offers an adapter for its Diana lenses, I much prefer the ‘digital’ Holga lenses.
These lenses are designed specifically for digital cameras, but…

Christmas projects #4 – Quick-clamp

A quick clamp makes a great alternative to a beanbag, especially if you’re shooting in the urban jungle where there are usually plenty of rails and poles to clamp a camera to.

All we’re doing here is getting a heavy-duty plastic clamp, drilling a 1⁄4in (6.5mm) hole in the end of one of its ‘arms’ and then using a 1⁄2in (12mm) long, 1/4-20 bolt to attach a small tripod head.

This creates an incredibly simple, yet wonderfully versatile and steady camera support that can be used to clamp your camera to a wide…

Christmas projects #3 – Beanbag


A bag of rice or lentils makes a great beanbag, but it won’t earn you any kudos when you’re out and about. However, if you have some scraps of fabric and can sew (or know someone who can), a simple beanbag cover can cost nothing more than time.
Adding a strip of Velcro will make a neat closure for the ‘open’…