Hack 8 A Flexible Arm to Hold Accessories

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How many times have you wished for an extra hand when you're shooting? Here's one you can attach to your camera's hot shoe or tripod socket.

When you're shooting without a tripod, it's best to have both hands on the camera to keep it steady and record sharp images. But sometimes you need to shade the lens from the sun or hold a small item while you photograph it. An extra hand would be invaluable at those times.

The folks at GranView Camera have invented a unique accessory called the Flare Buster (http://www.multiclip.com) that might turn out to be one of the most versatile tools in your camera bag. This ingenious item is simply a flexible arm that's 15 inches long with a camera mount on one end and a sturdy clip on the other. You can attach it to your camera via the tripod socket or the hot shoe. Then, use the clip on the other end to hold whatever it is you need held.

The Flare Buster kit comes with a card that can serve as a shade against the sun, two vignettes that are handy for portraits because they soften the edges of the frame around the subject, and a couple of reflectors.

Now, the fun begins. If you need a simple lens shade, put the supplied card in the clip and position it so that it protects the front of your lens from the glare of the sun. The flexible arm moves easily but stays firmly in position. For cameras that don't accept filters, simply attach the filter to the clip and position it in front of your lens. Who needs filter screw threads when you have a Flare Buster?

Digital cameras have amazing close-up focusing ability. Usually, the hardest part is correctly positioning the item you're photographing. Why not attach the item to the Flare Buster and position it any way you want, as illustrated in Figure 1-8? You don't even need a tripod; because the item is now connected to the camera, they move in unison.

Figure 1-8. Flare Buster, holding an item for close-up photography

For a super-soft background when shooting close-ups with the Flare Buster, try moving the camera from left to right during the exposure. This is called panning, and you can get some evocative effects with it.

Or, for close-up subjects that are fine where they are, such as a flower in the ground, attach one of the reflectors to the clip and use the flexible arm to reflect a little fill light to your close-up photography by bouncing light back onto the subject.

Flare Buster kits range from US$30 to $36 depending on the configuration. They are well made and fit easily in your camera bag. You'll always have that extra hand available to make photography just a little bit easier.