Friday, October 24, 2014

Perseverance Saved Monopod and Money

© 2014 Kae Cheatham

Photography has been a large part of my life for several decades. I usually shoot action events, domestic animals; and to steady my aim, I most often use a monopod. Now I have this new big lens, and when I was using it on the monopod the other day, the lower extension kept slowly retracting.
weighs about 4 lbs

I noticed that a plastic cap was missing from the tightening cog. Bummer. Do I need a new monopod?

I bought both my tripod and monopod in the last century, so an upgrade could be considered. Still, I have other photo priorities right now, such as a speed light for my digital cameras (I’ve been using last-century units teched for film cameras, and have to do a lot of manual adjustment to get the correct exposures).

After eyeing several monopods (with $100 + price tags) at online stores, I decided to see if I could get the cap replaced, and carried the monopod in to my local hardware store. I didn’t have much hope for success, especially after one salesperson said, "What the heck is this thing?" But I persevered.

The next store associate took one look and said, "I think the nut needs to be tightened." (Could it really be that easy?) After a brisk walk down the nuts-and-bolts aisle, he selected a small tool, tightened the nut...And no more creeping retraction!

I bought the little socket (under $2.00) and at home, using my own ratchet, made further adjustments to allow for the heavier lens. Good as new! I added the socket to my camera bag, in case I need field adjustments.

I’m so glad I considered other options and didn’t just impulse buy a replacement.

Visit Kae C's Images on Facebook and Fine Art America. 
Tweets @KaeCsimages

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Field Guide to Happiness - Review

Linda Leaming, who has made her home in Bhutan for more than twenty years, has written another fine book about her life in this isolated small county wedged near Indian and Tibet. Where in the first book Married to Bhutan she described her new life and how she became connected to the people and culture (including marrying Phurba Namgay), this book A Field Guide to Happiness presents more of her views about how and why the Bhutanese maintain Happiness.

Happiness is the mantra of the country, almost a directive from the government itself; but Linda shows that happiness is ingrained in the culture and individuals. The book is charmingly written, in that Linda presents her own foibles and Western-culture attitudes as examples of how to (and not to) live happily.

In a straightforward, to lecturing way, I gained more insight into kindness, meditation and self-awareness. I also picked up a few recipes :-).
I wish there had been some pictures of this place. Linda's descriptions are splendid, because she is a very creative and eloquent writer. I like the cover art, by Phurba Namgay, and I often visit Linda's web page where she often shares pictures of Bhutan and of Namgay's work.

Linda's first book, Married to Bhutan is a well-received and popular memoir; it has been published in several different languages and I have no doubt the same will happen with A Field Guide to Happiness.