Simple solutions to Complex Problems - Easy Pole Camera Adapter

By
Real Estate Agent with Carmody and Associates LLC FL #BK374401

Many of us have been the beneficiaries of John and Margaret Hokkanen's great writing and fabulous digital  photography for real estate that have graced the pages of Active Rain.  They are constantly pushing the envelope of what is possible and explaining what is practical in the field under the conditions that we all face in marketing for our clients.  I have learned a lot from their articles concerning lighting for interior shots and HDR programs and techniques for using multiple exposures, combined by software, to provide balanced exposures of subjects with very different lighting (darker room with bright outside windows, for example).

As I have read about pole photography I have seen the benefits of elevating the vantage point for the camera to provide a different (and improved) perspective of the subject - in my case a property which I am trying to market effectively to serve the needs of my client.  But there are other applications for personal and sports photography as well.

I was not in the market for a trailer mounted, hydraulically actuated system that would require warning strobes and FAA approval within thirty miles of an airport.  But I wanted more than holding my monopod over my head with a digital camera attached with a timer release on the shutter.  I had read of many attempts by real estate agents and photographers to attach a camera to a pole with fastening systems that appear to have been designed by Mr Rube Goldberg himself.  Not with my camera you don't.

Enter John Hokkanen with a device which is elegant in its simplicity but effective and reliable in its function. 

Pole PixieJohn's Pole Pixie adapter is a small cylinder with a camera outside thread stud on one side matching the thread on the underside of our cameras.  The other end of the cylinder (not visible in photo at left) has a larger inside thread which matches the painters pole or broom or mop handles that are available and inexpensive at any hardware, painter or home improvement store.  

The device which I chose is an expanding pole of composite material which extends to approximately 15 feet.  The Pole Pixie adapter attaches to the pole by screwing the inside thread receiver to the thread of the pole.  The connection is tight and secure and permits me to attach my Kodak V705 point and shoot camera with wide angle lens to the pole with ease and security.  The camera is placed in the 10 second shutter delay mode, and the camera and pole are manually raised to a vertical position and hand held for the exposure.  Naturally, before doing this, you must check the area for solid footing and lack of obstructions or power lines above you.

I have not yet had occasion to shoot a higher end house with the system.  So I have yet to use my DSLR and wide angle lens (Nikon D40) attached to a pole in the field.  The DSLR will offer the advantage of an infrared remote control which will permit multiple exposures while the camera is elevated with the pole.  

The Pole Pixie adapter has allowed me to achieve better images because of the unusual vantage point for general exterior shots.  I also do BPO reports and the pole mounted camera gives me a better view of roofing problems or damage to roof, wall or soffit with efficiency and good use of time.

John has the latest improved Pole Pixie adapters and other products designed to facilitate use or protect the camera available at his website.  I recommend the product and suggest that you check out the website if you want to see the products and application photos.  Pricing is reasonable, adapter functions as intended. 

The following images are a simple example of the perspective gained from a 12 foot extension pole with the adapter, point and shoot camera (in bad late afternoon lighting).  

Zero Elevation image   12' elevation pole photo

 

 

 

 

 

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Rainmaker
137,370
Mary Kay Hopkins
Mary Kay Hopkins, LLC e-PRO, GRI, CRS, CRB - Lake Charles, LA
e-PRO,GRI,CRS

Ted, thanks for this. I just checked out the website and will be contemplating which one to purchase.  Thanks.

Apr 22, 2010 05:23 AM #1
Rainer
231,338
Marcia Hawken
Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. - Naples, FL
Naples Luxury Specialist

Ted, I like the perspective the elevation adds to photos.  I will have to check out the website .  Thanks for sharing. 

Apr 23, 2010 09:58 AM #3
Ambassador
488,564
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Ted, it took me 2 3 proxy errors so far to get this comment in, I cut and pasted it from my last try:

Thank you so much for posting this.  I have never heard of a pole pixie but have been very frustrated with outdoor pics in the homes here.  The average lot size is probably .10 acre, which would be a good sized lot if you didn't need a house.

But anyway, with small yards you get small pics.  Part of a fence.  The side of the patio.  You know...

The only way to get a good backyard shot of these small popular lots is to go to the next door neighbor's yard or climb on the roof.  I recently broke my ankle while just walking down a sidewalk, climbing would not be something you would see me doing.

Anyway --- thanks!

Also - I have a Kodak V705 and did not know that it has a shutter delay.

Apr 23, 2010 03:48 PM #4
Rainmaker
416,050
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

Virginia - the Kodak V705 is still one of my favorite pocket cameras for real estate work with its wide angle lens.  The original getting started guide that came with the camera doesn't begin to explain the features of the camera.  Try this PDF download of the 76 page users guide.  I think you will be pleased. (no cost for the download from Kodak)

Marcia - The images included above were my first efforts with the Pole Pixie and used only a 12' extendable pole.  Take a look at the website for more striking images.  This is a new product and I wanted to steer people to John's website now that the adapter is available for purchase.

I had read many articles on AR and other photo sites from photographers about their efforts to get their camera more than a few feet into the air.  John's solution is cost efficient and has an elegant simplicity.  If you like the effect and impact of the elevated vantage point for your camera (and if you look at the photos on John's website - you will want to try it) this is a great solution for ease of use, safety of your camera and better photos.

Thanks to all for stopping by.

Apr 24, 2010 12:29 AM #5
Rainmaker
176,114
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Ted,

This is good information on making real estate photos of higher quality.  Thank you for posting it.

Apr 24, 2010 06:37 AM #6
Ambassador
488,564
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Ted,  I appreciate the email - I downloaded the directions, and am reading them now.  I bought my camera online for $75 - it was brand new, but did not come with directions or a battery.  I got the battery online, which came with a charger.

I literally have been just pointing and shooting, then editing the photos with a program.

I didn't know it even had video, I use a Flip with horrible results.

Thank you so much - very thoughtful of you.

Apr 24, 2010 06:21 PM #7
Rainmaker
252,037
Lee Jinks
Jinks Realty - McAllen, TX

I had fully intended to write a blog about what I call the Hokkanen PAP adapter, but Ted you've done a better job than I ever could have.  I too love this little device.  It's the one missing piece needed to bring PAP to the non-engineer type.  Here's a few photos I took using the Pole Pixie at our MLS picnic on Friday.

Pinata

grounds

mariachi

Apr 24, 2010 11:01 PM #8
Rainmaker
416,050
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

Lee - The sentence in my article about applications for pole photography in personal and sports photography was inspired by some of your shots that I had seen.  I think sometimes we focus (pun intended) too much on how-to articles for the real estate marketing images and neglect the fact that we all have families, most of us have children and pets.  Photography with all the equipment and knowledge we have for our working world can be just plain fun when directed at our loved ones, animals, birds and the world around us.  

Thanks, Lee, for posting these images from the "wild side" (love the pinata, by the way).  

ApplauseAnd, again, thanks to John and Margaret Hokkanen who have brought so much to the photography centered groups here at Active Rain with their expertise, their writing styles and their fascinating images.  In my world of political interests we have a quote from the Kennedy family about some who see the world problems and say why, while others see the world with solutions and say why not.  In my world of photography, I apply that concept to John and Margaret.  They are constantly advancing our view of digital imaging with lighting techniques to solve the problems of a site for a photo shoot before they take the picture rather than trying to fix the problems in post processing. They have led the way for me with HDR imaging and now John has opened the door for us to bring pole photo capability to our imaging bag of tricks with very low investment and very high (pun intended again) returns.  

Writing this post to honor and support their efforts and to promote this product (although their pricing makes this more of a public service item than a commercial enterprise)  is a pleasure for me.  The Pole Pixie Adapter is an application of brute common sense, in my view.  It is truly a simple solution to a complex problem.

Apr 25, 2010 03:43 AM #9
Rainer
231,338
Marcia Hawken
Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. - Naples, FL
Naples Luxury Specialist

Ted, Wow, I did not really think about the personal application.  I am going to follow your blog.  Great info!  Thanks!

Apr 26, 2010 10:14 AM #10
Rainmaker
594,882
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

I just found the other post from the makes (I think they're the makers) of this pole adapter. I love it! I have to get one ASAP!

May 08, 2010 05:48 PM #11
Rainer
80,591
Mark Gridley
eXp Realty, Reinventing the National Real Estate Office! - Fountain Hills, AZ
TecKnow Real Estate Agent, Fountain Hills, AZ

I hadn't even given this subject a thought nor new a thing about it. Great info!t

Jul 07, 2010 06:40 AM #12
Rainmaker
416,050
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

Hi Mark - if you note the various groups that I posted this article into (listed at the bottom of the original post) you will find several photographic groups (including one dedicated to pole or aerial photos.  

I am glad you are finding some of the photo topics and groups here on ActiveRain - Welcome (as I said to you a couple of days ago).  I think the contributors to the photographic groups have provided me with some of the most useful, interesting and fun articles that I have found in the ActiveRain community. The contributors to the photographic topics and groups are some of the most talented artists and technicians I have seen in commercial photography - and they all give freely of their skill and knowledge to help and entertain us. 

Enjoy.

Jul 07, 2010 09:30 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,642,177
Sam Miller
RE/MAX Stars Realty - Howard, OH
Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist

Ted Baker, I really like the different perspectives you have been able to capture using the pole pixie.  Nicely done!  

Nov 15, 2014 03:29 AM #14
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