In the wide world of walking sticks, there are basically two
types: the ones you buy and the ones you make. Either version can
become a steadying friend for your outdoor photography.
A trip to the mountaineering store reveals that
today's walking sticks—or trekking
poles as those in the know call them—are
lightweight, sturdy, and have comfortable grips. Most are constructed
in collapsible sections, enabling the stick to fit nicely in a
suitcase or be lashed onto the outside of your backpack. Most
trekking poles have a rubber tip that provides good traction on paved
walkways and a metal tip for digging into the side of hills.
(http://www.leki.com) is a
popular supplier of trekking poles that range from US$50 to over
US$100. Outdoor photographers should take a look at the
Sierra Antishock (model TK2091-04),
which has a removable wooden knob that exposes a camera mount, as
shown in .
Figure 1. The Leki Sierra Antishock walking stick with camera mount
By attaching your camera to the walking stick, you can create the
third leg of what I call the human
tripod. You supply your two legs, and the
walking stick becomes the third. Simply position your feet about
shoulder's width apart, and then lean forward
slightly on the walking stick while composing your picture in the
camera's viewfinder. You'll find
that this method is much easier for stabilizing the camera than
trying to hold it with just your two hands.
If you'd rather not spend the money on a Leki stick,
you can make your own. First, make a quick trip to the hardware store
for a 1/4" screw with 20 threads per inch. Get one about an inch or
so long. Screw it into the tripod socket on the bottom of your
camera. I recommend that you add a plastic washer to serve as a
cushion between your camera and the walking stick. Slip the spacer on
the screw and position it so that it's flush against
the bottom of the camera. With a felt-tip pen, mark the screw right
beneath the washer, and then remove both pieces from the camera.
Drill a hole that's slightly smaller in diameter
than the 1/4" screw in the top of your walking stick, and then twist
the screw into the hole so that the mark you made is just below the
top surface. Be careful not to damage the threads while doing this.
Now, slip the plastic washer onto the post. It will serve as a
cushion. Attach your walking stick to the tripod socket in the bottom
of the camera. Do this with care the first time to ensure that you
measured correctly, and don't damage the bottom of
the camera by screwing the post too deep into the socket. If you
miscalculated, sink the post further into the walking stick and try
again. The post should fit snugly in the camera socket, but it
shouldn't go too deep.
If you want to add a crowning touch, add a decorative knob to the top
of the stick to cover the post when the camera isn't
attached. You can drill a hole in the knob and sink in a 1/4" nut so
that the knob easily screws on and off.
Regardless of whether you go the homemade route or opt for the slick
Leki model, a walking stick that doubles as a camera stabilizer can
help you take sharper pictures when you're in the