Happy 17th Birthday to Me

Kettering, February 1993. The floppy hair, the youthful skin, the charity shop clothes, ah, it's all just a distant memory. Apart from the charity shop clothes...

Break out the cake and the candles, I'm 17 today. Sort of.

On the 1st of February 1993 a very fresh faced and keen 15 year old went along to the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph on Northfield Avenue in Kettering to start 2 weeks of work experience in the photographic department. With the exception of a couple of very bleak moments during my assisting years, I've never looked back since!

Besides treating myself to a small tipple this evening in celebration, I thought I'd share the love a bit with a little photographic cheat I've just discovered. I know how no matter how much I go on about professionalism, business and creativity, all anyone really wants to hear about is technical stuff, so here you are. You soulless, nerdy lot!

A while back I spotted these rather natty straps from America, and thought, like a lot of people "what a good idea". I seem to go through straps fairly regularly shooting as much and in the manner that I do. Plus I've never found one that's really comfortable and doesn't result in getting 3kg of camera in the guts if I ever run anywhere. I initially thought of buying one of these straps, but at the time they weren't shipping to Europe, and ordering things from the states is just too much hassle for me.

There it is, a very natty, and considerably more comfortable new strap. Cost to me - effectively £0.

Then a few months ago I was in Calumet, as I often am, and spotted one of these. Very tempted was I, all that put me off was the £50 price tag. I mean, it's a nylon strap and a clip for crying out loud! I'm on a mission to cut back on buying that sort of thing, as I've a nasty habit of putting a few "bits and pieces" on my account, then wondering why my monthly bill is so hefty!

In a manner very similar to putting together the Credit Crunch Softbox, I had a sudden flash of inspiration yesterday afternoon. I realised I'd got a few old straps lying around in bags (several as it turned out) and at least one spare manfrotto quick release plate. 10 minutes later I had a very comfortable camera strap that will undoubtedly be more useful when I'm shooting action stuff.

Where do they all come from? I haven't even taken any off my camera bags, just rummaged through my gear cases!

Now don't get me wrong, I realise mine's not as good as either of the 2 proper ones, but it's easily 75% as good, and just like the softbox, it's effectively free, as I already own all the bits. I'd wager that most people will have a couple of the straps knocking around from an old camera bag or two, and a quick release plate costs all of £13. That means more money to spare to spend on my Birthday Celebrations!


Vue Represents said...


Photosmudger said...

Thank you very much. Cake?

Vue Represents said...

Don't mind if I do! Ta

Paulo Rodrigues said...

Happy Birthday.

Don't worry you won't get the same birthday gift as DH!

I was thinking about doing something similar. The one thing that worries me is that the plate could work loose. You could probably attach the d-ring to one of the camera strap lugs just in case.

See you Saturday

Photosmudger said...

Cheers Paolo - just a card will be fine!

I know what you mean, but as I've already mentioned to a guy on Flickr, the plate is on so tightly, plus it would need to do quite a lot of unscrewing that I'm quite confident it'll do the job.


Dan Korkelia said...

This is good stuff, got two of those plates and been looking around for a longer strap, this seems perfect.

I also want to reassure Paulo these manfrotto plates are well solid and do screw on time.

Photosmudger said...

Let us know how you get on Dan, good to meet you yesterday.

Dan Korkelia said...

Likewise Tom. I already thought of a possible small
improvement to this attachment. Adding a single clip ( just like the strap ones) with it's own rotating base would to plate first and then attaching actual shoulder strap to that. This should eliminate any presure on plate screw.

What do you think?

Callum Winton said...

Happy birthday young 'un ;)

Improv strap is a good idea.
Liking the look of the blackrapid double harness and the ulility belt bits are nifty.

I sometimes use a SunSniper which is basically the same system, but has a built-in shock absorber (aka stiched in elasicky bit) which makes it very comfy.

They just released a new one that has a steel core to stop thieves cutting the strap and nicking your kit...
Although I think you'd notice being suddenly 5k lighter :)

Laters fella

Photosmudger said...

Cheers Callum, yup, I'm aware of the SunSniper or whatever it's officially called. Basically the same thing, and I quite agree - I'd be very quick to spot my camera missing!

Anyone spots any more bits to make this work better, let me know.