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Anyone use a "pole-cam"?

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I tried pole-camming alligators with a Seacam/string setup, and it was virtually impossible because the spring for the Seacam's shutter release is so tight.

 

My Seacam has a remote bulkhead in the side, but I haven't investigated cords/connectors yet. At the time I received my Seacam Mk II housing, the bulkheads were NOT standard and had to be specially requested. That may have changed by now -- does anyone know? (Frink?)

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I used a polecam for my avatar shot. The pole was cobbled together from Gitzo tripod parts and ULCS and Nikonos UW components - see attachments. The challenges where a bit different from the previous examples. Very shallow water with skittish fish. It was November, there was ice on the edges of the stream and snow and ice on land. The day length by then was very short - the valley received no direct light at all due to the low sun angle. To simulate ambient light I used an SB104 which was attached pointing down to the Nikonos bracket, which was duct taped to the pole out of the water. The shallowness and amount of suspended material precluded lighting from the side. I pre-focused and used an electronic remote control. I did wear neoprene! That is, chest waders! I did not use a dSLR but a filmSLR - a Nikonos RS with 13mm lens. I walked very slowly up to the salmon with the camera very near my feet. I estimated distance by looking straight down on the subject. I was able to shoot the salmon very close up. The avatar is one out of a series that I shot of the same fish - it did not move between shots.

Tom

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My Seacam has a remote bulkhead in the side, but I haven't investigated cords/connectors yet.  At the time I received my Seacam Mk II housing, the bulkheads were NOT standard and had to be specially requested. That may have changed by now -- does anyone know? (Frink?)

 

I just got a message from Frink Photographic and apparently Seacam is either finished or nearly finished with some parts for the Mark II and D2x housings for pole-camming. Maybe Seacam "Silver" finish on the extension cord to protect it from creature teeth :)

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How long of a pole to use??? Considering the size of a DSLR housing and weight what would be the max length you would use while still having a reasonable amount of control? Most dive boats have rear platform that is relatively close to the water for access so would 10' be enough? I wonder to though if you had to use it from the sides of a boat and leaning over the gunwhale would you be limited by a 10 footer?

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Hi guys,

 

One thing I haven't seen here mentioned (and forgive me if I overlooked it) was getting a little extra piece of mind and insurance against losing a very expensive rig to the sharks.

 

Secure connections can be made to the housing, but what if something like this grabs your housing? Last year in South Africa, I pulled my housing (with no strobes) from the INSIDE of the mouth of the this 16ft. shark on a couple of occasions. I had a number of teeth marks on the dome port.

 

Andre and crew were very helpful (based on their experience) and strongly recommended that I tie a very thick nylon rope from the handle of my housing to the boat, in case a white grabbed the housing and all of a sudden I found myself in a tug of war with a 3,000 lbs. fish. You either let go or go into the drink. The rope is the last resort and hope to retrieve whatever is left.

 

They joked that the sea bottom around Geyser Rock in Gansbaai is littered with expensive camera equipment, and despite numerous offers of $$$ to the crew to retrieve it, it remains there. Whether true or not, it's a valid consideration, especially if you have $$$ invested in the latest and greatest gear.

 

Regards,

mpo

www.mpostock.com

www.batfishbooks.com

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Good point about security. I would go a step further and use a thin stainless or galvanized cable between the housing and the boat not sure where I would attach it to the boat but have enough cable so that you could move around.

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Mike -- good to see you here!

 

I agree -- I used steel cable that Douglas Seifert happened to bring along to tie my rig to the boat. I've seen sharks chomp far too easily through rope.

 

Use gloves. The cable I used had little sharp metal bits fringing off of it in various places, and it wasn't pleasant against the skin. :)

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Home Depot sells telescopic aluminum poles in 8, 12 and (I believe) 16 foot lengths (they shrink down to half their size). You can find them in the pool cleaning isle. I reinforced the bottom of mine with an extra plumbing pipe as the aluminum is prone to bending when torqued with a screw and nut. I then drilled holes on the inside telescopic pole every couple of feet and one hole at the top of the outer pole to run a thru-bolt as I don't trust the plastic pole tightener(?). At twelve feet the pole will bend a bit and requires quite a bit of elbow grease to move around. I guess the biggest issue is trying to travel with this contraption. Since I do everything locally, I'm not sure how airlines would handle such a contraption. YMMV.

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Mike,

 

Good to see you here, too! I suppose some steel fishing leader (sp?) might do the job considering the shark's sharp teeth. I had a nylon line tied to the lanyard metal loop (I wondered what that was for?) on my camera but it was more in case my whole contraption came apart. If the sharks grabbed my housing I'm sure Jimmy would have jumped in and tickled the Tiger until she released it. :)

 

Now... What lb. test line rope should we be using in case one of those big leatherback decides to clutch-on and mate with our camera setup?!?! You know once they grab on there's no letting go!

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Hi Eric and Laz,

 

Great to hear from you. I hope all is well. Let me know the next time you guys are in town.

 

Concerning traveling with the contraption, one of those containers/tubes used to travel with fishing poles would work fine. The tubes, found in any quality tackle store, come in a variety of widths and can be locked.

 

regards,

mpo

www.mpostock.com

www.batfishbooks.com

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Here's Little Geek all setup and ready for some polecammin' (minus the y-sync cord for the strobes). Best part is I only need to remove the tray screws and remove and plug the remote bulkhead and she's ready to go diving. Oh yeah.. And apologize numerous times to all the people I pole-slapped behind me.

 

camsetup.jpg

 

ULCS Loves Me! :)

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Nice set up!!! :)

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I remember discussin remote operation with someone earlier this year and being told that they'd come across a remotely used Seacam housing where someone had actually used a webcamera in a custom built viewfinder section fitted to the housing Sadly I can't remember who the discussion was with, but it shouldn't be too difficult to have a viewfinder section built up.

 

One question that was asked was about the remote release fitted to the EOS1DSMkII housing. I have this on mine (at least I have currently replaced it with a Nikonos socket for manual flash triggering, but its easily put back), and it consists of an S6 socket wired up through some Canon cabling which connects into the camera's remote socket. Its very nice and neat and I believe that cabling of up to 10m is available for remote triggering.

 

When I get around to it I intend to do some in-river photography and am looking into a 'tripod' - the best contender being an 'Overexposed Pro Platform' with ball arm sections fitted between it and the housing - unless anyone has any better suggestions.

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Oh.. One very important note for you Canon shooters wanting to use the remote switch. Make sure to set Cust. Function 4* (Shutter button / AE lock button) back to 0 (AF/AE lock) if you have it set to where the * button controls the AF. Otherwise the half press on the remote will not make the camera focus.

 

*This is the option for the 20D.. I don't know if its different for the other models

 

 

Good joke, Canon!

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I rigged up my Nikonos with a home-made pole cam to take this shot in a tide pool.

 

Joe

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