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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

How to Hold an Umbrella?
Neil Wade, Photographer
Taipei | __ | Taiwan | Posted: 3:39 AM on 03.08.09
->> Has anyone ever figured out a good way to hold a (rain) umbrella while shooting? How can you hold the umbrella and zoom or focus or change a lens or whatever?

It seems impossible to me, but I'm curious if anyone's figured out a good solution. (Besides making your assistant do it!!!)
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 3:53 AM on 03.08.09
->> How about Lou Brock's "Brockabrella"?
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 4:01 AM on 03.08.09
->> Actually a million years ago when I was a student at Fresno State, my buddy Barry Wong and I were getting soaked shooting a Bulldogs football game and a staffer at the local paper by the name of Ralph Thronberry had rigged up something that held a large golf umbrella onto his monopod.

I believe he used a clamp from a Larson reflector. It looked something like this:
http://www.larson-ent.com/detail248_UNIVERSAL_CLAMP.htm
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Neil Wade, Photographer
Taipei | __ | Taiwan | Posted: 4:16 AM on 03.08.09
->> That's a good one. I also just came upon this clamp:

http://www.kphoto.com.tw/front/bin/ptdetail.phtml?Part=AFE09294&Category=20...

(Sorry for the Chinese, but I live in Taiwan)

Looks like you could easily make one with the right parts.

BUT, How about if you're not using a monopod or a tripod? What if you're covering an event like a parade or a carnival or just trying to do some artsy street photography in the rain??
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Jesse Beals, Photographer
Silverdale | WA | USA | Posted: 4:16 AM on 03.08.09
->> On monday I will send you a photo from work on how I set up a large golf umbrella to my mono pod along with hooking up a flash under my 400 lens. Looks funny at times but I tell you what, shooting in the pacific northwest I never got wet this past year during soccer & football games.
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Tony Sirgedas, Photographer
Pierce County | WA | USA | Posted: 4:20 AM on 03.08.09
->> Shoot, Jesse beat me to letting you know he does it with a nice black umbrella.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL22/547656/18275965/294191438.jpg
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Tom Sperduto, Photographer
Edison | NJ | USA | Posted: 5:24 AM on 03.08.09
->> Search Ebay for an umbrella hat. You might look silly, but it works.

I had a great conversation with Jay Maisel years ago and he raved about walking around NYC wearing one of these making pictures.

Be careful though, these things are so hip it may set you back $3.
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Svein Ove Ekornesvaag, Photographer
Aalesund | Møre og Romsdal | Norway | Posted: 8:29 AM on 03.08.09
->> I just attach the umbrella to my monopod, works great and I can use both hands to operate the camera.
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Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 8:53 AM on 03.08.09
->> I have a decent size umbrella which has a an integrated clamp on the base - it's made to fit on lawn/beach chairs so the shaft is shorter. The bottom part of the clamp flexes up to 90 degrees.

Here's an example of one I found quickly. And it's only $16

http://www.beachchairs.com/beach-umbrellas-&-cabanas/chair-umbrellas/coolwa...
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Dallas | TX | USA21 | Posted: 9:42 AM on 03.08.09
->> I've had good luck with one of these ...

http://img.alibaba.com/photo/10473139/UFO_Cap_Umbrella_.jpg

Of course, I end up having to shoot from the hip a lot, but if it was good enough for Winogrand ...

- gerry -
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 10:14 AM on 03.08.09
->> I don't shoot in the rain.
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Jason Palmer, Photographer
Wichita Falls | TX | USA | Posted: 11:57 AM on 03.08.09
->> a former co-worker of mine did duct tape and a flash bracket for a smallish umbrella.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 12:54 PM on 03.08.09
->> You probably have a pair of super clamps, right? Put the two together joined at the pin. Clamp one end on the umbrella and the other on your monopod. This works, but it makes me a little nervous on the sidelines of a soccer or football game at the first rumble of thunder.

A better investment however would be a camera rain gear. Even cheaper solutions would be better as you'll be more mobile, have a lower profile so don't block the sight lines of others, and don't have to worry about the wind that typically accompanies rain/thunderstorms collapsing/destroying the umbrella.
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Kevin Colton, Photographer
Geneva | NY | USA | Posted: 1:47 PM on 03.08.09
->> I have used this, but I like my rain covers better.

http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20060911/hands-free-umbrella/
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David Jones, Photographer
Alpharetta | GA | USA | Posted: 2:42 PM on 03.08.09
->> http://www.handsfreebrolly.co.uk/index.htm

Never used it, but it looks like it could fit your needs in a storm. Oh and,"once you get home just shake your brolly in and out..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r2wKdWHSWw
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Steve Russell, Photographer
Toronto | ON | Canada | Posted: 3:36 PM on 03.08.09
->> If you don't have to be super mobile I find that
light stand + golf umbrella + gaffer tape works great.
Just make sure you have something on the base of the lightstand for those sudden gusts.
I find my chestvest works really well wrapped on the bottom!
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Baron Sekiya, Photographer, Photo Editor
Keaau | HI | USA | Posted: 6:17 PM on 03.08.09
->> http://www.mediabaron.com/rain/

And if you let the stats kids in prep sports huddle under there too they appreciate it. Doesn't work in gusty winds and now I usually clamp down on the shaft of the umbrella instead of the handle so I can make it lower and more steady.

When not being used for this contraption I usually have the SuperClamps apart with a Magic Arm attached to one for use.
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Kevin Seale, Photographer
Crawfordsville | IN | United States | Posted: 7:40 PM on 03.08.09
->> I do the exact same thing as Baron with the super clamps. I tend to keep the clamp on the handle and lower the entire rig on the monopod to adjust the final height mainly to not end up crushing the flimsy shaft. I am a chronic overtightener.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 9:24 PM on 03.08.09
->> I gotta agree with Clark. I think that I had all of TWO non rain football games this year. Rain suits on me and the gear. No need to worry that a big gust of wind would flip my umbrella inside out or that it would somehow break free and either hit someone or go flying across the field.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 9:29 PM on 03.08.09
->> Chuck wrote:"I don't shoot in the rain."

Dude, why did the voice of Margaret Hamilton, who played the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz, go off in my head yelling "I'm melting" when I read your response........
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Scott Lukaitis, Photographer
Brick | NJ | USA | Posted: 12:01 PM on 03.09.09
->> I stick it down the back of my shirt and use my belt to hold it. I've shot many muddy motocross racec like that.
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David Stluka, Photographer
Oregon | WI | USA | Posted: 12:04 PM on 03.09.09
->> Clark posted my version. I stud 2 super clamps together and then mount to the monopod. It's it better than rain gear when it's not windy. Plus you get to stay dry, too. I have also used a magic arm with 2 super clamps.
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David Stluka, Photographer
Oregon | WI | USA | Posted: 12:05 PM on 03.09.09
->> BTW: this also works great in the hot sun.
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Ken Shelton, Photographer
Wyckoff | NJ | USA | Posted: 1:47 PM on 03.09.09
->> Ditto on the pair of super clamps with a monopod. Spend a couple of extra $ on a good golf umbrella with a sturdy handle that can take the pressure & torque of the superclamp and get one with gussets to help prevent it from blowing inside out.

http://www.kenshelton.com/me_at_mooseman_1_std.jpg
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Jesse Beals, Photographer
Silverdale | WA | USA | Posted: 2:42 PM on 03.09.09
->> Hey Neil, go to my member page and check out how I handle an umbrella in the rain while covering a football game. Last photo in my gallery, I have a set up were I can have my 400, a flash head, a power pack and umbrella attached to my mono pod. Seems to work, I stay dry and the gear fits.
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Jeff Mills, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 6:21 PM on 03.09.09
->> Are umbrellas allowed on the sidelines at most games even ?

Seems like it would obstruct the fans view as well as make it ackward for other shooters in a crowded enviroment.

I'd most worry about a strong gust causing the umbrella coming free and blowing across the field or hitting fans of officals on the sidelines etc

I had a lenshood fall off and roll onto the basketball court once (luckily only a few feet and I was able to quickly grab it) but having an umbrella going blowing across the 50 yard line during play of a nationally televised game would certainly not be a good thing in my book.
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Ronda Churchill, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | United States | Posted: 8:00 PM on 03.09.09
->> You can live in the desert like me and then this predicament happens once a year. It's usually such a monsoon that I shoot from my car with my window down and put a towel over my lens. This is for weather features obviously, because when it rains here the kids go crazy like it's a snowday...that and car wrecks galore.

I agree with Jeff. I think that a rain coat and rain covers for gear is best way to go.
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Ron Erdrich, Photographer
Abilene | TX | USA | Posted: 8:46 PM on 03.09.09
->> I use a big golf umbrella that I bought at Wal-Mart for a few bucks and tuck it into the belt of my ThinkTank modular belt and balance it in the crook of my arm while shooting. This is usually what I do for spot news, sporting events require plastic or rain covers. I have been thinking about putting on some kind of velcro wrap on one of my shoulder straps for the modular belt so I can clamp the umbrella to it.
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Michael Granse, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 9:03 PM on 03.09.09
->> I use these, and they have been great:

http://www.warmcards.com/SJ1.html

I keep the large cover in its zipper pouch clipped to my monopod at all times. Since this is with me regardless of the weather, it is ALWAYS with me when it starts to rain. The covers are made of rip-stop nylon, and you can cut a hole for the tripod mount of your lens without this hole tearing, fraying, and expanding. I have had my covers for a few years now, and they have been great.

There is one noteworthy design flaw, but there is an easy fix for this. The covers are nylon, and when you tighten the end closure the cover will try to creep toward the camera as it is slippery against the lens hood.

I have fixed this by putting a yellow rubber bracelet (I think these started with Lance Armstrong) around all of my lens hoods (even the 300mm f2.8) and now the covers creep to the bracelet and stop.

Aquatech makes better camera covers, but they do not make a cover that folds up to the size of my Blackberry and hangs almost unnoticed on my monopod until needed.
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Aaron Rhoads, Photographer
McComb | MS | USA | Posted: 12:57 AM on 03.10.09
->> The only problem with shooting holding an umbrella, at least in my neck of the woods...is that its almost always windy too.

So it sorta does no good.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:07 AM on 03.10.09
->> I still don't shoot in the rain...my pretty!
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John Rhodes, Photographer
Dallas | TX | USA | Posted: 11:38 PM on 03.19.09
->> The two super clamps work well for me too.

Although many stadiums now ban umbrellas (still good at golf tourneys). In a pinch, I have also reverted to using a Walmart nylon ditty bag with the end cut off as a cover. I pull the open end of the bag over the camera and 400mm lens and gaffer tape the open end around the lens hood. Pull the drawstring tight, look through the remaining small hole to see through the view finder (loosen string to change cards). I work the autofocus and shutter through the bag. You can cut a small slit in the bag to mount the monopod stud through. It's waterproof, cheap, pretty durable and you can throw it away after the game. (note... it is hard to change from horizontal at vertical shooting. I just setup vertical!)
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Nashville | TN | U.S. | Posted: 11:25 PM on 03.25.09
->> http://www.break.com/pictures/idiot692242.html
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T.J. Hamilton, Photographer
Grand Rapids | MI | USA | Posted: 7:40 AM on 03.26.09
->> In a pinch, I'll wear a shirt that has a pocket and jacket or coat over that zipped up. Then, I'll slide a golf umbrella handle past the zipper into the pocket, keeping the coat zipped up. While shooting, I'm cradling the camera with my hands and pushing the umbrella against my chest with my arm.

Then, there's the duct tape approach, gaffing the umbrella past the lens using liberal amounts of duct tape...not pretty though.

Unless its raining buckets I usually forget the umbrella and just get wet, having a towel in my vest to dry off the equipment occasionally.
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 4:55 PM on 03.26.09
->> I know why Chuck doesn't shoot in the rain -- he can't hold his broom and his monopod at the same time!

To Jeff's point, most D1 football stadiums don't allow umbrellas on the sidelines -- unless, of course, you're from a TV station and must look pretty all the time. Most golf tournaments I've covered will allow fans but not photogs to use umbrellas (?!). And I've shot in a few old gyms where I could have used an umbrella when the roof started leaking.

I've seen several folks with jury-rigged connections to their monopods, but usually with rain comes wind, so better use a fast shutter speed and hit the freeweights before you go that route.

My suggestion is good rain covers for your gear and a $1 disposable K-mart poncho for you.
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Thread Title: How to Hold an Umbrella?
Thread Started By: Neil Wade
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