Protection For Your Gear On Rainy Days or Harsh Direct Sunlight

June 26th, 2014

CalUmbrellaCal Mitchener in Charlotte, NC wanted to share his latest real estate photography invention with us, that protects his gear on rainy days and harsh, direct sunlight. Cal adapted a golf umbrella to mount easily on his tripod. Here are several detail shots of Cal’s invention. Detail 1, detail 2 and detail 3.

Here is Cal’s description of how he built the umbrella adapter:

I came up with a great solution to rainy day shoots, as well as harsh direct sunlight. I saw something similar on the web, but I modified it a bit to better suit my needs.

I epoxied the golf umbrella’s handle into a section of 1.5” copper pipe, added a 1.5” to .5” reducer, and a short section of .5” copper pipe.

This slides easily into the .5” copper sleeve & end cap attached to bracket. I use this for rainy day exteriors and shooting into bright sun.

I love this thing, and thought it would be of interest to other real estate shooters.

Cal also reports that the market for real estate photography is “on fire” in Charlotte! He shoots 20-25 homes a week. When you are shooting at that rate, you can’t cancel because of a little rain!

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15 Responses to “Protection For Your Gear On Rainy Days or Harsh Direct Sunlight”

  • Really? A massive umbrella and nothing to weight down the tripod? Good luck!

  • pretty nifty…..I would guess the wind could easily topple over the whole rig if you turn your back.

  • Tom,
    The gear on tripod weighs almost 15 lbs. I obviously don’t use it in windy conditions. The Gitzo tripod also has a hook on the center column to hang a sand bag if necessary.

  • Very clever Cal. We have used a golf umbrella before with great success but couldn’t figure a way to attach it. Thanks for the tip.

  • DIY Photography also has this great hack for protecting your lens if you have to shoot in rain:

  • Bill, I have seen this set up before. I don’t like it because it’s too easy to get water drops/mist/sun in lens. It’s not much better than a lens hood imo…
    My rig keeps lens clear of rain drops easily, & I stay dry myself.

  • Cal,
    Thanks for sharing. By looking at the detail shots, am I to understand that you have to take off your tripod head in order to mount your tripod adapter?

  • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished for something like this!

  • Cheryl – I leave the bracket on the tripod all the time. I have it mounted between my Manfrotto 410 jr geared head & Gitzo sticks. I needed some additional space between the head & bracket to be able to freely move the geared head 360 degrees, so I used some 1/4-20 to 3/8 brass adapters/bushings to achieve that end.

    The umbrella with 1/2″ copper pipe slides easily into the 1/2″ copper no-stop coupling; & the 1/2″ copper end cap holds it in place securely. It’s quick & easy to deploy. I didn’t want to have to disassemble my rig very time I needed to use it…

    I actually use it more for harsh sunlight than rain…

  • Cal – Totally understand how it would help in harsh sunlight…not much rain out here in the California desert! I’m going to give it a try.

  • You won’t regret it Bill…
    I use it all the time to shoot impromptu elevated shots in direct sun using a technique I learned from the esteemed Iran Watson. I always use a pair of PocketWizards to remotely fire the camera on a tripod. I fully extend tripod, attach umbrella, & balance it all in one hand held as high as I can extend my right arm. I fire the camera via PW I have rigged up with a belt clip with my left hand.

    I get beautiful elevated exteriors in the rain, or in harsh sunlight. This contraption really helps when you are shooting all day, every day like I usually am.

  • Hi Cal, may I ask who designs / powers your RE website? Very nice, clean, & simple. Thanks!

  • Thanks for the kin mmmmm


  • My keyboard died, sorry for garbled response lol. Thanks for the kind words!
    Ken Magas of Ken Magas Design in Charlotte NC did the WordPress site. I have been very happy with everything he has done for me website wise…

  • I’ve done this a few times using an old-school umbrella clamp, but I think this might be a better way to go.

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