Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Butterfly Bracket

So having read 'Closeups in Nature' and 'Landscape Photography Field Guide' both by John Shaw, I decided to have a go at his macro flash bracket, dubbed the 'Butterfly Bracket' (because he uses it to shoot butterflies). It is a simple construction requiring some aluminum strapping (1/8" by 1" wide) and a small ballhead, and some nuts and bolts. I was unsure of where to obtain the aluminum and I eventually found a source online, but shipping was expensive, so I put the idea on the back burner for a bit. The other day at work, I got to thinking about it again, and decided to ask on of the guys in our maintenance department where I could get some aluminum locally, and explained what I needed etc. He, funny enough, used to work in an Aluminum Foundry, so he knew some spots. So, my luck got better then next day though! I am at work again, and the fellow I spoke to earlier called me into the maintenance shop, and promptly handed me a 7 ft long piece of 1/8" by 1" aluminum strap! One of my coworkers had bought it by accident thinking it was stainless steel, but discovered otherwise when they tried to weld it and it melted under the heat. So he didn't need it anymore and I offered to take it off his hands for $5!! What luck!!

So, now I am set up, I already had a small ballhead that I purchased last year when I first wanted to make the butterfly bracket, so all I needed was to cut and drill the aluminum. All in all, it was pretty straightforward. The only issue is with the flash arm, I didn't have the tools to make a slot for the flash to move up and down, so all it has is a series of holes. I have some leftover strap, so I will make version 2 at some point!

Here are some shots of it, it may not be pretty, but it works! I think the SB-600 is a little heavy for it, so I am going to look into an alternative at some point, maybe the SB-400, or a cheaper non-Nikon brand. I don't need anything too crazy.

From above w/o camera

Flash arm

Camera arm

And here it is fully loaded!

Profile with camera

From front w/ camera

From above w/ camera

Alright, that's it for the write up. It is now 2:11am and I am tired. Tomorrow I will post a few shots of the results. There was nothing really interesting around the immediate area, I did find a small spider hiding in my basement though, so check back!

Thanks for tuning in :)

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