The Incredible, Edible Bean Bag Tripod

If you're a shutterbug on a budget, the bean bag tripod is a camera support you can make in just minutes.

| May/June 1985

  • bean bag tripod - deer
    The bean bag tripod lends itself well to wildlife photography.
    RON SPOMER
  • bean bag tripod - sewing machine
    For a lightweight, bulkless, "inflatable' bean bag tripod that can be carried empty into the field and filled with whatever natural materials are at hand, sew a zipper into one end of the sack.
    RON SPOMER
  • bean bag tripod - squirrel
    A bean bag also provides stability when shooting with a telephoto lens.
    RON SPOMER
  • bean bag tripod - lanscape
    The device will keep your camera steady for still landscape shots with slow shutter speeds.
    RON SPOMER
  • bean bag tripod - flower
    The bean bag tripod provides outstanding stability when photographing stationary subjects.
    PHOTO: RON SPOMER
  • bean bag tripod - filling bean bag
    Dried corn makes superb filler. For an incredible, edible bean bag, fill the sack with nuts, popcorn, or trail mix; when the photo session is done, you can eat your tripod.
    RON SPOMER
  • bean bag tripod - stability drape
    Mount your camera on a standard tripod and drape a bean bag over the top-you'll achieve total stability for absolute image clarity with very slow shutter speeds.
    RON SPOMER
  • bean bag tripod - on ground
    Use a bean bag as a ground-level camera platform for a bug's-eye view of nature.
    RON SPOMER

  • bean bag tripod - deer
  • bean bag tripod - sewing machine
  • bean bag tripod - squirrel
  • bean bag tripod - lanscape
  • bean bag tripod - flower
  • bean bag tripod - filling bean bag
  • bean bag tripod - stability drape
  • bean bag tripod - on ground

The lowly bean bag hasn't a leg to stand on, but that doesn't keep it from being a superb photographic "tripod." It's sturdier, lighter, simpler to use, and more versatile than most three-legged support systems, and if you make it yourself, it costs next to nothing.

Professional photographers have long known that one of the reasons their photos are consistently superior to the snapshots taken by amateurs is the pros' use of solid camera-mounting systems; too many novice shutterbugs are willing to risk the clarity of their images to shaky hands and wobbly knees.

But by simply filling a home-sewn cloth sack with dried grain, even the lowest-budgeted photographer can "support" his or her camera habit in style. A bean bag can be poked, pounded, and fluffed to form a comfortable rest for just about any camera-and-lens combination you can come up with, and will anchor that equipment to odd shapes and inclines seemingly steep enough to defy gravity.

I was introduced to the bean bag tripod several years ago by a professional photographer friend. He called it a bean pod, and he'd been using it for years to capture roadside wildlife on film.



Over the past few years I've fabricated and used several varieties of bean pods (which can be filled with dried corn, beans or peas, rice, small pebbles, or even those dumb plastic foam "peanuts" used as packing insulation), and I've found them useful for far more than mobile wildlife photography:

By placing a bean bag on the ground, you can get an ant's-eye view of wildflowers, mice, mushrooms, insects, and other terrain-hugging forms of life. This down-to-earth perspective adds an interesting new dimension to any slide show or photo album — and dollars to your income if you're a pro.






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