On the off chance that I’m not the last photographer in the world to hear about stringpods, allow me to introduce them. A stringpod is a pocket-sized alternative to a tripod or monopod. It is a way to stabilize a handheld camera using a piece of string, a 1/4-inch bolt with a #20 thread, and a few washers. Essentially it works like this: the photographer secures one end of a string to the bottom of the camera. The other end of the string drops to the floor and the photographer steps on it. By pulling up on the camera gently, the string gets taut and helps to stabilize the camera.
I suspect that the MacGyver-quality of this little tool is what gives it such broad appeal (MacGyver is a television action hero known for inventing quirky tools from common items). Last week I found at least five images of stringpods, as well as numerous instructions how to make them. At least one flickr photographer showed a simple stringpod, while another showed a similar tool made using a thin chain instead of string. I even saw a video showing not only a stringpod, but also a bottlepod and bag-o-rice pod. Believe me, it’s worth taking a look.
I have not yet tried making my own stringpod, but I would be interested in hearing from folks who have.