Take fantastic photos from 40 feet up with this free photo mast. Easy to make, fun to use.
Make cool videos, panoramas, and mind-boggling virtual reality shots from a bird's-eye view.
Professional photo masts are usually telescoping and easier to set up and use. But they can run hundreds or even thousands to buy new.
Step 1: Bamboo Hunting
Okay so where do you get bamboo poles to lash together?
Chances are there's some growing nearby, and rug stores may throw them away.
Bring bungee cords to hold the bamboo on your car and a towel to protect the car roof.
Step 2: Limbo Time
Limb your bamboo with a long handled cutter.
After the brush is cleared away, use a garden snipper and a rough file or rasp to remove any remaining twigs.
The bamboo should not have any sharp points.
Step 3: Round-Lash
Overlap the poles by about a yard.
Then round-lash them together with lots of duct tape
Duct tape makes it easy to take the poles apart for carrying. Just slice the tape with a pocket knife.
Step 4: Attach Camera
Fasten your digital camera on the end of the mast.
I use a DIY Tennis Ball Tripod and a bungee cord.
Step 5: Twist and Stitch
Set the camera to either movie mode, or multiple shot mode.
If you have a remote control shutter release you can take just the shots you want.
Brace the other end of your mast against a heavy stone or wall.
Have one person start the camera while you quickly walk along the mast hoisting it hand over hand.
You can also use the flagpole method - make a wire loop for the top of the mast out of a paperclip. Then use kite string to hoist the camera up the mast.
When the camera is up, slowly twist the mast to get a panoramic view.
You can use a free editor like Picasa, or Microsoft Movie Maker to extract still images from the movie files.
Stitch the images together with free panorama software like AutoStitch.
The images can be used for cool Photosynth VR collages as well.
Here is a Photosynth taken from the camera tower.