Malcolm Waring’s Comments on PAP

August 28th, 2007

Malcolm Waring sent me the following comments on his experiences with PAP:

  • Now I wish I would have taken the time yesterday to photograph the rig.
  • I was getting aggravated trying to shove the pole up in the air and point it in the right direction, so the first thing I got was a monitor.
  • I picked up a Coby 5.6″ LCD at “Gateway Cosmetics and Electronics” in Newark when I was working in that area recently (“Electronics” isn’t really part of the name but darned if there isn’t a large amount of space dedicated to it in that store).
  • You may need some adapters depending on what your camera has, and just threw out the video cable that comes with the TV. Mine got a discontinuity after about 4 uses.
  • Also, be advised that I shorted out one of my rechargeable eneloop batteries. They are fat and there was a sharp solder blob in the battery case.
  • Next I wanted to go higher so I found 4′ sections of military tent pole cheap on ebay. I shove the window washer pole into the open end of one of these sections and connect 4 more sections to it. That’s 28′ which is all I can walk around with. You can add one more for 32′ but that’s about all you can swing up, any more and the fiberglass will break on the open end. I think these are meant to be put together straight up, with two people.
  • When I was looking for poles, I see that people in the UK use 11 to 13 meter carbon fiber carp poles for PAP. I can’t for the life of me figure out how you would use a 45 foot fishing pole, or even why you would go to so much trouble for carp (yuck, muddy tasting). They must either use it to get to the bottom of the pond, or use it to fish on the neighbor’s fenced in property. I don’t know.
  • OK, so now 10 seconds really goes fast with all this stuff so I had to rig up a remote shutter release. No IR or anything available on the Lumix FX-01, and I wasn’t ready to hack into it. I may do something using radio controlled servos later but there is a lot involved with that so I went mechanical.
  • Basically, I took a flat piece of vinyl that goes across the top of the camera and bent a paper clip that hooks into where the wrist lanyard goes. Then I glued a blob of vinyl on that flat piece that sticks down and pushes on the button. On the other end, I tied a piece of mason twine that goes down to where I can pull on it.
  • I happened to have some 1/4 cross sections of vinyl picket fence pieces that slide over the end of the camera and keep the lever lined up.
  • I have some rubber band bungee things from MPEX that keep the video cable from flopping around and they also hold 5 more paper clips that are bent 90 degrees like fishing rod eyes to guide the shutter release string.
  • Works like a charm. I can walk and turn and take shots as I please.
  • I still have to figure out a way to clamp the tv to the pole. I am also working on a PVC stand that should let me get up to 50 ft but it’s low priority.
  • I’ll try to get some shots of the rig and post some photos I took around the house later this week.

In the meantime, see these links:

See this link for the TV:

RCA cable:



Thanks Malcolm for all the details.

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4 Responses to “Malcolm Waring’s Comments on PAP”

  • Simplicity is the key. Start small and go forward.

    Get a great small camera (~$500): I use a Canon PowerShot SD430. It has a 30 second delay timer (and absolute necessity) and loud sounds that tell me when the 30 seconds are up and beeps while it takes a burst of shots. I can hear them unless the neighbors are pressure washing the driveway. I don’t use any remote control stuff at all.

    I use a 32’ fiberglass windsock pole (i.e, doesn’t conduct electricity even if you didn’t look up first). It goes up and down quick without any screws/clamps, etc. Most external RE shots can benefit from this height or even less. It weights less than 6 lbs and costs about $100. I can raise it from almost anywhere I can stand.

    If you don’t have this equipment in our RE photo grab bag, you are missing many great photo opportunities. Sometimes these are front exterior shots. Waterfront views over the top of houses are great marketing photos. But many times these may be back yard shots that include decks that can’t be seen (as well) from ground level.

  • Keep in mind I started with items that were on hand.

    If you are starting from scratch I also highly recommend a non conductive pole.

    Another thing to look for is a camera with an IR remote shutter release since you could probably take apart the remote and extend the emitter with a wire.

    More information about poles/masts in this thread:

    Search the group for more.

  • If anyone wanted to go store-bought then this Italian company make a 6m telescoping pole designed for elevated stitched panoramas. 275 Euros.

  • […] (Pole Aerial Photography) that he’s done recently inspired by some previous posts we’ve done on this subject. Paul says, “it’s really making a difference in my exterior photos. Using this […]

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