Why I need three hands


A sailboat passes by some golden poppies growing along the banks of the deep water channel at Buckley Cove Park in Stockton.

I saw theses golden poppies growing on the banks of the deep water channel for a nice scenic shot at Buckley Cove Park in Stockton. I used a used a Cokin graduated filter on the scene. The filter is a square piece of plastic, graduated from dark grey at the top, to clear at the bottom. It helps to bring the tonal values of a bright sky and a darker foreground closer together. The filter kit comes with an adapter that screws into the front of the lens to hold the filter in place. It’s a bit on the fragile side, so, having broken more than one, I usually leave it at home and just hold the filter in place with my fingers. I also wanted to have the flowers pop out more by using a flash. I put the strobe on, held the filter and shot. The light on the flowers was too flat. To make the poppies look a little more rounded and full, I used an off-camera cord with the flash. The cord, which connects the flash to the camera, allowed me to hold the flash at about arms length off to my left. The problem was, with the flash in one hand and the filter in the other, I still needed to hold the camera and push the button. To make matters worse, coming up the channel there was a sailboat (the only boat in about a mile in either direction) that I wanted in the shot. It was pushed by a stiff breeze and moving at a pretty good clip. I sat for a minute trying to mentally juggle everything. Then I remembered that I carry a small roll of clear first aid tape in my camera bag for emergency repairs and such. The tape is sticky enough to hold things together without being too difficult to take off and tears off the roll easily. With the boat rapidly approaching, I taped the filter to the end of my lens, held out the flash, and managed to get about five frames off before the boat was past my position.

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