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Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom : Shoot from Anywhere

I'm a professional wedding and adventure travel photographer, and I've been thrilled with Joby's Gorillapod SLR-Zoom. It's one of the most useful pieces of camera equipment I've ever had. It weighs almost nothing, and it can support a camera or an off-camera flash on almost any surface.

When I'm shooting engagement portraits for wedding clients, I often shoot in the forests near Rocky Mountain National Park. Because these photo sessions usually occur at dusk, to capture beautiful sunset colors, I like to have an off-camera flash to add three-dimensionality to my images and make my subjects pop. I used to walk around with a small light stand, but it would frequently require extensive fiddling to stand up straight on top of leaf litter, dirt, or fallen trees. Now, I just attach my flash to my Gorillapod and wrap the unit around a tree branch. Viola! Instant light stand.

I've also used the unit as a portable light stand in urban shots, too, attaching Gorillapod SLR-Zoom to drainpipes on the sides of buildings, DJ speaker stands, door handles, stair handrails, side view mirrors on cars, and a variety of other objects. Way cool.

The other day I was using my Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom to shoot a climbing video way up in the hills. I attached my camera and a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom (a very heavy lens) to the Gorillapod, and it held perfectly steady while I was filming. The Gorillapod has rubberized feet, so it doesn't ever slip off of rocks. I loved being able to just set the tripod on an uneven boulder and have the whole thing be completely stable--I get the shot I want and know that my camera is secure.

Another fun use for the Gorillapod is to attach it to a remote camera, which I did at a wedding reception a few weeks ago. I attached a wide-angle lens to my camera, pre focused it on the floor, attached it to the Gorillapod, and wrapped the Gorillapod's legs around a pole in the rafters of the building. Thus, my camera had a unique, overhead angle on the whole party, and I could push a remote trigger button in my pocket to take a picture whenever I wanted.

There are a number of other clamps that I've used to achieve this, but none have been able to attach to so many different things. I'm highly impressed. All in all, Joby's Gorillapod SLR-Zoom is a must-have in any photographer's arsenal! I think I'm going to get a bunch of the smaller ones and replace all my light stands.  

Bottom LIne: An indispensable nine-ounce tripod that goes with me every time I have a camera. --N.W. (Aug '10)

BUY ONLINE : $49.95 (available for less at several online retailers): Amazon, REI , Altrec .

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.



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