Category Archives: Plants and Flowers

The Wimberly Plamp Review

The Wimberley Plamp

The Wimberley Plamp

The Plamp
What is a Plamp…well sounds like a plumber’s tool for unblocking drains and it looks at first glance a black bendy snake with a bird skull-like head and a forked tail ….or is that just me and my over active imagination?As a photographer have you often needed another pair of hands?
Picture the scene…sorry no pun intended lol!
You are all prepared, you have your camera on a tripod with a macro lens on to photograph that gorgeous flower, but the wind is blowing a hooley knocking the plant backwards and forwards. Your trying to look through the lens, hold the flower steady at the same time as trying to hold that that annoying branch out the way without disturbing anything else. You really wish you had another pair of hands!!
WELL finally there is a way to stabilise those aggravating windblown subjects that is the bane of every macro photographers life!
The Plamp is an easily positionable arm which can be used to hold macro subjects and other useful objects. One end of the Plamp clamps to your tripod while the other grasps the object. The Plamp is a must for any macro enthusiast!

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My Plamp has been my flexible friend for approximately 10 years, its permanently attached to my tripod and I never go out without it. Its one of my most used camera gadgets as you will see from my photos that its very well worn but still going strong.

So what does it do?

Use your Plamp to:

  • Stabilise windblown subjects.
  • Adjust the position or angle of your subject.
  • Move background objects and obstructing foliage.
  • Hold reflectors, graduated filters, and lens shades.
segments
Description
This 22 inch/ 56cm long piece of black plastic is one of those designs you’d wish you had thought of, its such a simple idea and the clamps are genius! It is made of LOC-LINE ball-and-socket segmented tubing. To position the arm, simply bend it to the desired position and let go and it will hold the subject still.
Its super light at only 140grams.
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The Plamp has a really heavy duty workman’s clamp one end, like the kind found in a tool box.
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The Plamp is designed to attach to your own tripod; but it is often handy to attach it to a second tripod so that you are free to move your tripod around without affecting the subject.
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The large jaws swivel slightly and can be attached to anything that will fit in its spring loaded jaws.
 This includes nearly every tripod on the market with a diameter between 0.9 and 1.4 inches (23-35mm), tree branches, furniture, stakes driven into the ground, vegetation, etc.
3holes
  At the other end is the brilliantly designed clamp and this is what makes the Plamp…what it is.
 The white plastic clamp with one large hole one side and then two smaller ones of a slightly different size, will fit most sized stems.
clamp-holes
The jaws open by applying pressure to the larger hole side, this will open the jaws enough to gently slide in your subject; before letting go and the clamp will gently grip a flower stem. If you think its going to grip too hard; I usually wrap the stem in tissue or paper for extra protection.
clamp-rose-stem
Ive found with the choice of of hole size, one of them has fitted almost every flower Ive ever photographed without damage. This is a rose stem and they tend to be very soft and its completely undamaged.
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 The larger hole is genius as you simply slip it over a few delicate plant stems that couldn’t take pressure from the clamp gaps. You simply feed the stems through the hole like a giant needle eg; some lanky sweet peas or in my case these tall alium stems, so it holds them inplace, without crushing or breaking them.
cenbtre-hole
Perfect for just slightly windy days or simply to keep something upright as mine here are too floppy at this stage to stand up straight.
swivel
Another great idea is that Wimberley have made the whole clamp swivel 360 degrees; so you can also angle your subject or make small adjustments to align it to where you want to focus.

In the field

branch-outway
Out in the countryside I always try to leave nature as undisturbed as possible. I will NEVER break branches off or even worse pull up the wild flowers for a photo; this to me is unacceptable. Its ok in your own garden of course that’s your choice.
The Plamp makes it easy just to hold distracting branches or other foliage out of shot undamaged.
branchesnr
 Here is my cherry blossom with quite a few dead branches in the way, so the Plamp holds them back for me to photograph some blossom buds.
As you know the best flowers and insects are always hidden behind branches and stinging nettles don’t you…or is that just me. I swear they see me coming and dive behind the most awkward tree or bush to get through.
from-wall
 The swivel head allows you to angle your subject; for example here I didnt want the cluttered brick background behind my rose; so I gently angled and pulled it forwards using the Plamp, so I had more greenery instead for a nicer bokeh. I was then able to shoot from the side for a far better shot.
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Another ways to use the Plamp is to move “the actual subject” to better light or background.
(As I mentioned before never pick wild flowers, leave the countryside as you found it).
fern-pik1
 For example I wanted some photos of the leaves on this Bracken frond unfurling against a darker background to show up better. So I was now able to simply move my tripod to another part of the garden.
fern-incamera
 This was one of my final shots which I couldn’t have got without my Plamp.
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 More shots of another flower that I wanted more light and better background for. It fitted securely in the clamp hole.
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 Even with the Plamp I struggled as it was blowing a hooley this day, but I still managed to get some nice shots by being able to move my tripod around and finding shelter against the wind.

An extra hand!

We are not all fortunate enough to have a willing victim…er…assistant with you to hold reflectors or extra flashes. So I also use my Plamp to hold a reflector to add that extra light on my subject. It can attach to your main tripod or you can clamp it to a spare tripod as your robotic assistant.
Or extend your imagination to hold a different coloured backgrounds behind a plant. It may not be possible to cut the flower and take it home to your studio; so all you need is some pre-cut coloured card to let your artistic imagination flow.TIP; try to use as short an arm as possible for a more secure hold.
Tips from Wimberley

 If you need more reach or if you are using a 180mm or 200mm macro lens, you have 3 options.
  • Attach the Plamp to an object other than your own tripod,
  • Extend one of the legs towards your subject and than attach the Plamp further down the leg, thus closer to the subject,
  • Extend the length of your Plamp with the 12″ Plamp extension; but in doing so the Plamp becomes a bit less rigid. 

Shortening your Plamp
The segmented arm of your Plamp is approximately 19″ long. If you do not need all this length, you can shorten your Plamp. To shorten the arm, bend the arm sharply until it snaps in two (do not worry, you cant hurt the Plamp), remove a length and reconnect the pieces.
They are hard however to pull apart and get back together. So for me it would have to be the possibility of an outstanding shot to go through the effort to shorten it.

main-plamp
Opinion
This Plamp really has been my flexible friend for so many years now especially with macro photography, as you know you only need a slight breeze at the wrong second to lose a shot or your bug to fly off.
The main clamp really is heavy duty it almost stops your blood circulation in my finger so its not going to ping-off or be too weak to grip. The plastic segments are fairly smooth and move easily into any position.
It perfectly adjusts your subjects angle or position without damage, so you can use a slow enough shutter speed to get that gorgeous bokeh.
There are not many products I say people NEED but every photographer will NEED one of these at some point especially if you are planning to go into Macro photography. Its light to carry, affordable and compact and easy to roll up to store in your camera bag, it looks like you have your pet snake curled up at the bottom of your bag lol.
I cannot be without mine and would have to replace it immediately if it broke, but this camera gadget is bomb proof…OK I haven’t had the opportunity to blow it up, but really I’ve thrown this around, trodden on it many times, sat on it, its rattled around in my bag, dragged around attached to my main tripod. Its scratched a little dented but still works like the day first I first got it.
Its amazing how many times Ive just clamped something to it, needing that extra hand; its truly a photographers flexible friend.
One day using this you will love it forever especially, when you see your own photographic results.
You can buy your Wimberley Plamp from many camera stores in the UK and US but you need to look around for the best deals.
£32.50
This version has a slightly different head to mine as its over 10 years old
You can also buy Wimberley PP-110 Plamp 12″ extension for those using longer 180mm 200mm macro lenses.
Here are just a few of my published images that I managed to get using my Plamp.
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Sizzling hot Summer of wonderful wildlife

Hi and welcome this is my first post and its been such a fantastic week of hot weather, the UK are finally getting the dream Summer we’ve been waiting for for years. Who needs to go abroad when you can get your tan in your back garden, on the beach or just enjoy the countryside.

I am no stranger to writing and have been published many times both with my writing and photography. But I now have the time to write my own blog about the wildlife I adore and hopefully capture too with my photography.

I have a fascination for macro and spent way too much money on macro photo gear as I love being able to show the beauty of the macro world.

I have had a wonderful few weeks of photography this month, the wildlife have been extremely obliging and happy to be on camera and I have managed to capture some gorgeous birds, plants and insects.

We are lucky enough to live deep in the countryside so Im able to watch the comings and goings of the local wild birds.

pheasant-hareem

Back in May we had a lovely family of pheasants venture into our garden and happily stayed most the day, they’ve been here for two months…where we gradually got used to their individual characters.

I have really enjoyed studying their behaviour and have learnt alot about them and how they go about their lives. Im looking forward to writing a full post on pheasants and their behavior very soon as they really are fascinating birds to study. Plus I have managed to have the opportunity to capture some gorgeous photos of them along the way.

Sadly we lost a few females to illness and a few bird of prey attacks.  One poor female who had actually become quite tame and would often just wander in the kitchen, literally had a Sparrow-hawk  sit on her and start to eat her alive, it was disturbed and we found her severely injured by our back-door; where she had obviously tried to come in for safety. She was just so poorly she simply let me pick her up where she laid in my arms not stressed and allowed me to gently clean her up and she passed quietly a few hours later.  It was quite special as she was in complete trust of us.

I do want to point out I have my wildlife ruling that I live and let live and rarely intervene; but when something is injured especially fatally I try to make them as quiet and comfortable as possible so they pass without anymore unnecessary stress or pain.

We have several birds of prey that live in the surrounding fields next to us which I will introduce to you later, a Barn and Tawny owl, Marsh harrier, Red kite, but suspect number one was the Sparrow-hawk as I’d seen him around that morning.

aliums1

I also love my plants and my Aliums have made it through the hot weather and are just bursting out of their cases.

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I love how the last of the seed case is still wrapped round the new buds.

Arachnophobes Beware

 Anyone who knows me will tell you I will photograph any nature, I will even photograph spiders; and I even enjoy watching the numerous Daddy-long legs spiders we have in every room in the cottage. I adore their jiggy, spinny thing they do when they feel threatened, but I dont find their gangly looks that scary. We have even bought a spider catcher gadget (which Ill show you later) so I can get them out the house without hurting them; when there are just too many or they are above the bed, then they have to go. I cannot sleep thinking they may jiggy their way down on me in the nigh!

But I draw the line when its on me!!!

green-spider

I was actually photographing some swallows and not really concentrating on what was in front of me; when I casually noticed something crawl over and under the peak of my baseball cap inches from my eyes. Always worrying about nature I still managed to curb my increasing panic being face to face with this bright green body and enormous legs waving at me inches from my eyes; and still take my hat off carefully without hurting him.

Im not one to normally panic with an eight legged fiend, I’m the one who get them out of the house carefully and would certainly NEVER kill them.

BUT this little guy was quite a force to be reckoned with, after waving his legs at me and actually lunging for me when I put the hat on the ground. Most people…ok…alot of girls would have run off screaming…no not me..I..was mad enough to go and grab my camera, that amazing green body was fluorescent in the sun and I had to share him with you all.

So sorry if you are haven’t seen my site before and I hope this hasn’t put you off coming back, I promise I will add an arachnophobia warning if I do this again, but believe me I dont want to see this little guy that close ever again. I made the mistake of looking close up on my PC…eeww!

Big mistake! Super scary, but magnificent at the same time!

green-spider2Let me introduce the Green orb weaver spider Araniella cucurbitina

So after finally extracting him off my hat and thoroughly checking there wasn’t anymore behind him and shaking myself like a mad thing, he just sat and glared at me from a bracken leaf…nice…do him a favour and that’s what you get huh!

blueberries

I also love plants and my other half kindly bought me a poorly blueberry plant last year, yes I nurse plants back to health too  😉

So after alot of nurturing in my green house I have managed to get it back to life and we over 30 blueberries almost ready to scrum. They may last a day if I’m lucky as when my Other half finds out I’m sure Ill be catching him in the greenhouse. Maybe I need that green spider to guard the bush lol.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my wildlife snippets, I have alot more coming soon.

Thanks for reading and hope to see you soon.

XxX