Dan Bailey and Karen Hutton, Fujifilm X Team Photographers, jumping for joy in Florida
Fuji XT 2, 10-24mm f 4 lens, ISO 800, f 4, 1/8000, Fuji X 500 flash on High Speed Sync.
Platypod has just introduced a new model of their awesome camera support system, the Platypod Ultra. I recently had the opportunity to try it out while I was in Florida. Three “X” Team photographers; Dan Bailey, Karen Hutton, and I, were invited to the Fuji sales meeting to give some inspirational presentations and hands-on-seminars to the sales team. All the Fuji people we know and the X Team photographers (all members of the Fuji Cult) are passionate, fun, creative and, well, a bit crazy! I volunteered to come up with an idea to show off the Platypod so Dan and Karen were up for helping me by leaping, repeatedly, in the humid, but beautiful weather.
I needed to get at a really low angle in order to separate them from the ground and have them flying against the sky surrounded by palm trees. The Fuji XT 2 does have a reticulating LCD screen which would allow me to put it on the ground, but I also wanted to shoot with the Fuji X 500 flash on high-speed sync to freeze the action.
Adding the flash made the set up bulky and top heavy and almost impossible to get the right balance, angle, and level. The Platypod was the perfect solution.
The bricks around the pool were uneven but the Platypod Ultra comes with 4 screws, so you can choose 3 or 4 “legs” for. As you can see, because of the angle the weight was leaning back, so I reversed the normal direction to achieve perfect balance. I used the ball head from my carbon fiber Manfrotto, but I wish I had taken my MeFoto head instead. The tightening screw on the Manfrotto head extends below the platform, so it was awkward to get it in the right position. The photo here shows it with the MeFoto head, and it fits perfectly.
I’ve seen some of my students with the Platypod MAX but this was my first time trying it and the new Ultra has plenty of options for screw positions as well as strap placement for securing. The screws can be mounted either with pointed end down for rough surfaces or securing to trees or branches, or the rubber side down for flat surfaces so they won’t skid. The kit comes with the carry bag and the carabiner, as well as the pack of screws and a small strap.
There is an additional accessory kit that comes with 3” Long 3/8”-1/4” Female to female anodized aluminum spigot adapter, a 4”x 6” 2mm thick silicone pad, 36″ inch tension strap 1.5” wide, and .5” wide anodized aluminum 0.5” riser 3/8”-16 female w 1/4”-20 male bolt. In retrospect, this riser would have made it easier for me to use my Manfrotto head.
I did a variation on my leaping shot. Since it was a gray day, not much color in the sky, I added a CTO to the flash using the MagMod system and set the white balance to Tungsten, which made the sky much bluer.
We had a great time!
The Kickstarter Campaign for the Ultra is underway! The goal has already been met, so if you order, you’ll be amongst the first to get one this summer.
You can always check out my website for upcoming workshops and mentoring.