Tag Archives: Photography

3LeggedThing ‘Brian’ Tripod Review

As I think about it, I’ve never reviewed a piece of equipment I’ve only shared recipes. So… here goes nothing!

On August 6th I was notified that I won an online contest! I enter photography related online contests about once every other week or so. Here are the series of tweets/facebook posts that made it my way:

I was dumbfounded.

First. Here’s a link to the tripod I’m reviewing: http://www.3leggedthing.com/2gen/brianblue.html It’s actually on sale when I’m writing this review. It is called the ‘Brian’ – and yes, that’s also my name.

I’ve read a few reviews. Most of them are four sections: Unboxing, Impressions, Pros, & Cons. So, here goes!

I admit it, I tracked this package several times. 3LeggedThing is based in the UK. The tripod shipped from the UK. TNT is the shipping company that took it across the ocean. I watched it sit in a storage warehouse in New York as it cleared customs (YES!). I got more and more excited until the blue and white box arrived at my house:

Pretty box yes?
I was bouncing out of my skin when it arrived. The part that blew me away (completely) is that the box printed weight was 6lbs. I knew (from my pre-arrival research) that this included the tripod, ball head, carrying case & any packaging materials. This is a LIGHT tripod!

This tripod is just plain fun. I actually was not the first person to open it & play with it. I let my fiancee do the honors. She loves building things. I wanted to see how easy it was to use this tripod. I had already watched youtube videos & read online reviews. She was able to set it up in no time flat.

The tripod came in a blue and black bag. Once you open it you are (warmly) greeted by the top of the head (end plate) and the legs. In the photo below you see my tripod feet have some dirt on them (I’ve been using this thing!)

When you look at the tripod like this (and first pull it out of the bag) it looks strange. But, then we quickly figured out that the legs are just folded over the center column. Very nifty design! Folded up the unit is a hair over 16 inches long. It weighs just under 3lbs.

Some basics about the tripod:
3 legs (imagine that) each one has 5 sections (4 of them are adjustable) with friction locks. The legs are a sleek matte(ish) black. The legs completely come apart (including locking mechanism) for cleaning or repair.

One of the legs came with a muffler of sorts (some sort of neoprene wrap) which signified that this is the leg that can unscrew to become a monopod. Yes, the monopod is included in the tripod! What a crazy idea!

The legs are adjustable with these neat latch things to 23, 55, and 80 degrees. You can (as with many tripods) adjust each of the legs independently. Also, the tripod ships with allen wrenches to adjust the stiffness of the legs – so they can open and close easier or harder.

The unit comes with rubber feet but can be replaced/upgraded to spikes if you are into that sort of thing.

The center column is where more amazing action is. The center column starts (bottom to top) with a hook where you can hang your heavy gear. This unscrews completely to help you reverse the tripod for upside down shots. The column extends from 11 or so up to 19 or so inches (without the extender piece that comes in the bag). The column is in two segments. Also controlled by friction dials.

Ball head is on top of this. Typical with ball heads, it has a ball. There are three dials. The one that matters the most is the one that holds the actual ball in place. This dial has a ‘locking’ mechanism on it that is pretty nifty. The head includes a dual bubble level on it.

The plate itself is pretty cool, too. Aside from having the nifty 3LT on it, the plate holder somehow has a magic way of making sure the plate will not slide out of the plate holder, while still allowing you to move it side to side! I have read that this is all part of a larger plate system that I know nothing about. So- just know that you can interchange this with something nifty. (read: more expensive than I can afford)

According to the 3LT website, ‘Brian’ fully extends (including center column fully extended & ball head on it) to 6 feet 7 inches. That’s taller than me (6’2″). I’ve only fully extended it once- just to see it done.

I have shot with the camera upside down. I was doing a neat time lapse video thing.

As you can tell, I love this tripod. I love how lightweight, durable, and intuitive the product is. I’m also thrilled that my fiancee thinks this is a fun toy to use (and so easy to put up and take down). She has used it almost more than I have!


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Small


  • I sometimes want to cuddle with it
  • I’ve had two technical malfunctions – an O-ring at the base of the center column was all wacky when we opened the box and the 3LT (rubber letters) on the base plate fell off. Both times I contacted customer support and they responded quickly — even sent me a new O-ring & base plate!
  • Price! While I got mine for free (from the contest) the cost on this thing is prohibitive for an amateur photographer, such as myself

In conclusion, if you are in the market for a pretty fantastic tripod (even labeled a “travel tripod”) this is a great unit. I am looking forward to owning it and using it for many years. Next up for us is to travel with it on an airplane! I’m thinking that the small size will be a HUGE pro!


Lantern Festival at the MO Botanical Gardens

A bit ago I posted a bunch of flowers from our visit to the MO Botanical Gardens in St Louis.  However, the main reason we went was for the Lantern Festival in the evening.

Below are some of the photos I took.  Enjoy!

All shots taken with a Canon t1i and a variety of lenses.

Flowers from the Missouri Botanical Gardens (June 10)

Went to the Botanical Gardens over the weekend to see the Lantern Festival (those photos will come later).  Took some good flower photos throughout the day.  Enjoy!  Each shot taken with a variety of lenses – mostly Canon 100mm IS 2.8 — on the Canon t1i – using a tripod.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet (photo + recipe)

Last summer my partner purchased a Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Attachment which we used last summer many times to create sorbet.  This summer, we are going to publish several of the recipes we’ve been using.  Most of the recipes we found in the Kitchen Aid book, which came with the Ice Cream Attachment.  However, the Strawberry Rhubarb recipe came from an LA Times blog post.

The recipe they posted:

Total time: 20 minutes, plus freezing time

Servings: Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Note: Adapted from David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop.” If your rhubarb stalks are more than an inch wide, slice them in half lengthwise.

3/4 pound rhubarb (5 or 6 thin stalks), trimmed

3/4 cup sugar

10 ounces fresh strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Cut the rhubarb into half-inch pieces. In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, bring the rhubarb, two-thirds cup water and the sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rhubarb is tender and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

2. Slice the strawberries and purée them in a blender or food processor with the cooked rhubarb mixture and lemon juice until smooth.

3. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Credit:Recipe from http://www.latimes.com/features/la-fo-calcookrec9aapr09,0,3067664.story

For the two photographs, first is the shot of the sorbet itself.

This shot was taken with a Canon t1i, 50mm 1.4f lens, and a Canon 580 EXii speedlite.  The shot was edited in Lightroom 3.0.  The shot was taken at ISO 200, f2.2, at 1/200th of a second.  The flash has a Gary Fong Collapsable Lightsphere diffuser on it. I was also using a reflector and direct overhead light.

This photo shows the setup:


I should just mention that the sorbet is wonderful & was clearly starting to melt as I took both shots (it’s warm outside, which makes the sorbet that much better).


If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ve seen the post on the “No Knead Bread” before. 

Today, I found myself reading the blog for a band I really enjoy.  I found another version of the No Knead Bread!

So, I experimented a bit… Today’s recipe included dried cranberries, raisins, flax seed, chia seed, whole wheat bread flour, King Arthur all purpose flour, 1.75 tablespoons of yeast, and sesame seeds.  

Then, for you #togchat / Photographers…. I shot the bread using an off camera strobe using my Canon t1i, the 50mm f1.4 lens shot at 400 ISO, f5.6, 50mm at 1/60th of a second.


Better photos of the supermoon



For those of you who are following these types of things… This weekend there are two astronomical events.

The first is that the Moon is closer & thus brighter than usual.  Some are calling it a “Supermoon.”

The second is the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

Regardless, I went out tonight to shoot the moon here in Carbondale, IL.  There is plenty of light pollution here, but I was still able to manage a pretty great shot!  


Canon t1i, Canon 70-200 IS L 2.8 lens with the Canon 2x extender, shot at ISO 100, 400mm, f 16, 1/100th of a second.

Teapot & a Pitcher Photography

Learning how to use a dual flash setup.  Really just learning how to use a flash in general!  I had fun with the pitcher doing some light painting.

The pitcher is a 1L pitcher that we bought along the way.  The teapot is one that was made for my partner as a Graduation Gift when she finished her Masters Degree.  Handmade by a woman in Massachusetts.

All shots with a Canon t1i, Canon 50mm 1.4f lens, and dual flashes using pocket wizards as wireless triggers.





I’d be interested in some feedback – how might you edit these photos or have shot them differently?

Panther’s Den Hike

No April Fools here- A beautiful hike in Southern Illinois called “Panter’s Den.”  This hike is located very close to the “Blue Sky” winery in Makanda, IL. 

Here are some photos I took along the hike.


Freshly Baked Bread!

We made bread tonight.  A simple recipe from Tassajara Bread Book. House smells fantastic! Had to grab the camera & flash to see what types of photos I could take! (nothing spectacular…)

All shot with a Canon T1i, 50mm 1.4 lens, tripod, & flash in a Lastolite softbox.
Shots varied from f2.5-f4.5.


Overall, I’m not thrilled with the outcome of the photos.  The bread, however, is fantastic!