This is my gift to myself this year - an Intova Monopod. We screwed the bottom end under the table and off to the side to be out of my way when I am sticking half my body in the photo cube, which was last year's gift to myself. The Ezcube diffuses the daylight bulbs so I don't get harsh highlights or shadows in my photos.
I use a point-and-shoot camera, shooting in RAW format, even though I have a digital SLR. When I am shooting straight down, the weight of the SLR is too much at the neck and tends to slump down. And well, um, to be honest, all those SLR buttons are daunting to me!
This is how I've been taking all the photos for my blog and recent book - using a Gorillapod on top of an Ikea lamp. It works too but now I have a freed up space in front of my hands.
A great tip for any one else taking photos with your hands - place a white card or board in front of your body to bounce light back under the hands to lighten the shadows.
Why not use a standard tripod?
- I was able to move back and forth, up and down, change the tilt or whatever in a quick second without fussing with levers or knobs.
- Many of my shots are taken straight down, so I tilted the tripod forward into the cube. This makes the whole thing top heavy and unstable.
- My hands and body are usually partway in the cube as I look at the screen, so I end up playing Twister with the tripod legs.