The completed camp stool
Well, I've started to take my photography and video work of trips more seriously. Until now, I've simply used a mini tripod with flexible legs to rig up shots - mostly on the empty canoe seat. But on more than a few occasions, paddling the canoe strongly heeled over has resulted in the camera tipping over. Luckily it has always stayed inside the hull and not plopped overboard.
Store bought mini tripod with flexible legs
I've never considered carrying a larger, commercial camera tripod on my trips and have made due with my simple setup. But after thinking about the campstool, figured the legs could be reconfigured into a homemade camera tripod of sorts. Obviously, since the legs are only 24" long in the first place, the tripod wouldn't be a full sized one - but it would be sufficient to sit properly in the hull of the canoe and still provide an elevated view.
Once again, wanted to use whatever scraps were lying around. Found a discoloured piece of rough Yellow Birch and after mulling over the mounting system cut out a simple design to serve as the leg supports and camera platform. Wasn't sure if if was going to work so I cut this thing out rather crudely with a saw - if I ever make a version 2.0 it'll certainly be leaner.
Crudely cut camera mount
With some some more 3" carriage bolts (a little long but what I had on hand) and some brass wing nuts, 3 crude hinges are formed around the edges. One of these same 3" carriage bolts is used in the "stool" setting to connect the legs for the leather seat. Holes were drilled near the top ends of the dowels and once assembled, a functional tripod is born. I forgot to stain the top of one of the dowels, but it was already sealed with commercial green stuff, making this thing look even more amateurish.
Basic Camera Tripod
Anyway, turns out the ball joint of the mini camera tripod is attached with a small screw which means it can be easily separated from the leg section. So on the wooden camera platform, I mounted an appropriate matching machine screw and now the separated ball joint can be easily screwed onto the wooden platform. This allows for fully adjustable camera angles. When I'm done or if I want to remount the ball joint onto the original legs (to wrap around a tree branch or something) it can easily be returned to its original mini tripod legs. This should add some versatility to my homemade system.
Ball Joint Removed; Added to new tripod platform
Here are some pics of the completed tripod with the waterproof video camera and (my wife's) fancy Nikon. I'm taking these pics with my trusty ancient Coolpix 5100 (circa 2003) still going strong after dropping it numerous times...
Obviously going to have to wait until spring to test this out on a canoe trip, but now I can justify carrying the legs of the original camp stool since they will serve more than a single purpose.