The View Up Here

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Just Getting it Airborne

Posted by Tom Benedict on 11/08/2011

The editor in charge of the Flickr Collection at Getty Images got back with me and said he’d check with his Creative Research group to let me know if they had identified any areas of their collection of Hawaii images they wanted to expand. So it’s a start! But so far no word on what those areas are.

Meanwhile this led to a discussion with my wife and father, both of whom are good critics. What I mean by that is that both of them understand that the ultimate purpose of criticism is to improve the thing being criticized. So neither holds back punches, and both have provided me with good insight in the past. My wife pointed out that there’s a difference between grand sweeping panoramic landscapes and tightly focused single-frame images. Of my KAP work, she preferred the latter rather than the former. My father gave me some additional information, but agreed that the single frame, carefully composed photograph of a single subject stood on its own better than the panoramic landscapes. Each has a place, but of the two it was the single-frame photographs they preferred.

Up until now most of my design work with the T2i rig revolved around the idea of it being a special purpose rig for making panoramas. Well that needed re-thinking! I’m still working on the design for a highly stabilized KAP rig, but now it looks like making it more general-purpose would be a better idea. In the mean time, it’s pretty clear that my first priority should be to just get the T2i airborne.

While Michael Layefsky was out, I got a chance to see his DSLR rig. He uses a different body from mine, but the weight and the overall build is similar. The T2i rig I built for a photographer here in Hawaii used the Maxi parts from Brooxes, but Michael’s rig was built using the normal BBKK components. Well heck! I have a spare utility frame on my masthead rig! Yesterday I pulled it off and gave it a good looking over. Sure enough the T2i not only fit, it fit with room to spare.

But that’s where convenience ended and reality took over. The center of gravity of the T2i with 18-55mm kit lens is quite a bit forward of the tripod socket. It’s actually almost in line with the lens mount, but off to one side. Some careful work with the utility frame, the camera, a three-point support, and a postage scale nailed the CG and let me plan where to drill the hole in the frame. Unfortunately the answer was that the tripod socket hole needed to be drilled about a quarter inch off the side of the frame, out in space. ARGH!

I made a wider shelf for the utility frame, match-drilled it and bolted it onto the frame, and went from there. Now I have a frame that’ll take the T2i or the A650, and mount either one to my BBKK KAP rig, or my masthead rig. The shelf was made using 0.050″ aluminum, so it hardly added any weight. And since most of the weight is borne by the utility frame, the thinner material isn’t a huge concern. Besides, I always always use a safety tether between my cameras and my rig, so even if the shelf separates in flight or on top of the mast, the camera isn’t coming down.

The only bits remaining are a new metal geared servo for the tilt axis (my current plastic geared on oscillates, even with the A650 and Ho/Ver axis), and the GentLED-Focus cable that’ll let me trip the shutter on the T2i through an R/C remote. I placed the order for those bits from Brooks over the weekend, and should have them in-hand by tomorrow at the latest.

So at long last, months after I bought the T2i, I’m finally going to have it airborne. It sounds goofy to say this since I’m the one who’s been dragging his heels, but I can’t wait!

– Tom

P.S. Yes, I’m still planning to build the ultra stabilized rig. But for now? Time to do some KAP!

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