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What does it take to get the shot? CAVING

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Photographer Chris Higgins shows us what it takes.

ChrisHigginsPhoto.com

I think we’ve all seen those amazing caving photo images and looked at them in awe, but just what does it take to get those shots? A few months ago I came across a photo by Chris Higgins that was a top five winner in a JOBY, Lowepro, & Outex  joint contest. It started me thinking about all the difficulties capturing just such a shot might entail. So after a few emails back and forth I was off to Tennessee with Joey Hiller (JOBY Web Designer).  Assuming you’ve watched the video I’ll be elaborating a bit more below about what you don’t see, all the gear, and Joey will chime in with his perspective.

 

 

Never again! -Zach

“Never again” we’re the first words out of my mouth as we emerged from the cave. I’ll straight up say it right now; I had an amazing time but hundreds of feet underground, completely covered in mud, and mostly in complete darkness wasn’t for me. This is odd as I’m drawn to extreme activities but I’m also a clean freak. All I know is this was one of the rare times I thought I’d gotten myself in over my head and I’ve literally  crawled out under the wing of a small plane mid flight to get a shot.

BehindTheScenes

BEHIND THE SCENES:

The video is made up of a combination of two days of caving but for the sake of storytelling we combined them into one. The first day we were in the cave 12 hours and it was almost all rappelling. We came out of the cave at about 1:30am and were freezing after climbing up the waterfall. We then had to ride in the back of Chris’s jeep for an hour just to sleep on the ground in a cow pasture. You can probably already guess; I didn’t sleep. The second day we entered a second cave and were in the cave 8 hours. Day two was almost all crawling on our stomach. It was 2000+ feet in and 2000+ feet out. At 4 hours into it on the second day I called it; we had the footage we needed and I wanted to take a shower and crash in a hotel bed.

TRAINING: Joey has experience outdoor climbing and he is comfortable around ropes. I have a lot of structure/ building exterior climbing and rappelling experience but using a different rappel device. Our training with Chris literally was 5-10 minutes each where we both had tried to go up and switch over from the ascenders to the descenders (rappel device). I messed this up both times which resulted in the descender opening. If I had an issue while climbing back up the rope and needed to make a change over to the descender I would have to do it right. On Joey’s ascent before me he had an issue with his crawl (the ascender close to your chest that holds you in place) and almost had to make a change over. The crawl was slipping and not grabbing the rope securely. After he finished his ascent he lowered his harness  and gear down for me to use. I had to use it for my ascent; so you can see why I was a bit nervous.

GEAR:  As you can see in the closing shot we took a lot of gear into the cave with us. Most of it was ropes but I’ll list out everything we used to film it and what Chris brought.

Chris”s Higgins Gear: Nikon D7000, Sigma 10-20 lens, JOBY GorillaPod HybridJOBY Flash ClipLowepro Dryzone 40L When outside of a cave Chris has a variety of other lenses and uses a Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L AW and a JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- X.

Chris's Gear

Zach’s Gear: Canon 5D mkII, Canon 50mm f/1.2 L, JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- X, six JOBY GorillaTorch Flare 125’s, Lowepro DryZone 200, Rode Mic

Zach's Gear

Joey’s Gear: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5, JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- XLowepro DryZone 200, two JOBY GorillaTorch Flare 125’s

Joey's Gear

I couldn’t have imagined myself actually doing this. – Joey

“There was really nothing that could’ve prepared me for this trip. The conditions in a cave are truly some of the hardest I’ve dealt with. It all became obvious when we first entered the cave. With camera rubbing against the rocks and a 150 foot rope around my shoulder pinning me in place, I stopped feeling the jet-lag and the reality of what we were doing really set in.

To get quality video in the cave I shot with the Black Magic Cinema Camera which has a native ISO of 800 and generally performs beautifully in low light. I paired it with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5, which isn’t the fastest lens of all time, but has a nice field of view and has the added benefit of being only a $300 replacement if destroyed.” – Joey

Joey Hiller

Chris Higgins

 

JOBY Instameet TORONTO #GorillaPod # GripTight

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Instameet-Toronto

TORONTO –  You guys nailed it and this means I’m having a very tough time choosing a Top 3. You can really tell when an Instameet is full of creative types having fun. All of us at JOBY really enjoyed the images you Instagramers  took at the JOBY sponsored Toronto Instameet.

1hr later . . .  hmm which three, so many good pics

and 3hrs later . . . OK I picked a TOP 3 + added a few other ones I liked below.

 

TOP 3 Pics TORONTO #jobytoronto

 

1. hagow First tell me where this is I’m tempted to fly there to shoot this; seriously! Back to you 🙂 Maybe the best pic of the Intsameets I have seen yet.  Would I normally shoot this dead center? No and I would have missed this because it works, it works damn well. Why? The color and the contrasting greys. Seriously nice work 🙂

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2. daromantictech I hope you know how difficult it is to capture a shot like this when you are trying to. If it’s a mistake it’s a great one. The steam 🙂 What do they see? The street sign placement, is it a clue? A photograph that makes you think, ponder, is a hard to accomplish great thing.

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3. crispaza Creative, structured, and just nice to look at. Maybe the most well thought out compositions of the Instameets. I could see this in Dwell magazine easily.

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Seriously I had a really tough time on this one as there we’re so many awesome photos to choose from. The Toronto Instameet group really stepped up on this one. Makes me want to hop on a plane and join you for the next one 🙂 – Zach @ JOBY

and a few more I LIKED TOO!

romanac epic in black and white, on a different day I might have placed this on top.

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madvillian I hope this is your social media cover photo. It rocks!!!! If you have higher res version send it to us. community@joby.com attn: Zach.  Maybe this will be the new Instameet cover image 😉

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stanislav359 You nailed the lighting . . .  Perfectly!

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shellche I debated on this for a top 3 ohh so close. Love it! I really love that you looked up. Hmm maybe it should be a top 3. Dang you guys made it hard!

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notwithoutmypassport – DOF sweetness. Did you just snap a pic of someone else’s postcard? LOL –  Seriously great eye, good work.

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snap2see You know this is awesome, it’s Pottery Barn window display perfect and because it’s so perfectly delicious, I decided you really didn’t need the kudos of Top 3. Our praise is your prize.  . .

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_beautifiedrealisim_ It beautiful and mysterious. That sky is the real subject, it looks like it might be this all encompassing vast storm I could stare into.  (Suggestion – let me see more of what makes this what it is, pull back a bit and make the storm the subject)

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Nice . .  a little more light, but such good composition 🙂

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jeffpsamuel . . . um I’m diggin how I keep looking back at this. Amazing what the right perspective can do to something so ordinary.

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nikkopa If I was only more of a dog and not a cat person I would have called this a masterpiece.

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YOU GUYS NAILED IT!

Really impressed with this Instameet group. Thank you guys for participating.

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Wants us to sponsor your Instameet? Tell us about your Instameet.

 

comments by: Zach @ JOBY – I really don’t know what I’m talking about, or do I ?   nah  🙂

Filming Mountain Biking with GorillaPod Hybrid and GoPro

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French videographer/mountain biker Luka Bollonjeon uses just a GorillaPod Hybrid and a GoPro to create amazing videos of his rides through the French Alps. He is working on a video series titled Alone where he films himself biking through many different types of terrain. He’s found his GorillaPod to be the perfect companion on these adventures. Compact and adaptable to all kinds of environments, GorillaPod Hybrid is ideal for getting super cool off-body footage with a GoPro camera. We caught up with Luka to hear more about how he makes his fantastic videos! 

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Hello! I’ll introduce myself. My name is Luka, I’m 25. For the past two years, I’ve lived  in the “capital of the Alps” Grenoble. My passion is to walk the trails with my faithful companions: my bike, my tripod and my camera.

Why do I bring a tripod and a camera on my bike rides? Because I practice self-filming. Self-film, what? Self-filming can be defined as the art of filming oneself, like taking a self-portrait in photography. In other words, if you have an oversized ego, this is not for you. 😉 Don’t worry, it is possible to make films just for fun to share your passion or your most beautiful trails. This is certainly my idea of self-filming—the concept is relatively simple: a camera, a bike, time, well sharpened and hopvoila calves!

Self-filming requires a lot of time and effort. Time, because unfortunately, the cameras do not come down the trail on their own. Effort, because those cameras still do not set themselves up on their own. Once you ride past the camera, you must go back to look for it, grab it and carry it down to set up on another part of the trail.

To diversify your shots, you’ll need to have to a tripod. Like the GoPro camera, the most compact tripod is the most practical or filming on trails. The RollsRoyce of mini tripods is the GorillaPod—an articulated 30 cm capable of attaching to any surface. The combination of a Gopro and a JOBY GorillaPod will allow you to capture even the craziest self-filmed shot you can think of!

Watch more mountain biking videos by Luka on his site!

How to Film a Documentary in Remote South America with Xpeditions TV

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Meet Jerry and Kathy Willis, the photography/videography masterminds behind Xpeditions TV. They’ve spent years traveling throughout South America, documenting their exploration of amazing, infrequently-visited sites. They share their adventures on their site Xpeditions TV in the form of short documentary films. Because their work takes them to the most remote places, lightweight and adaptable gear is essential. On their last expedition they ditched their full-height tripod in favor of our GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X. Here’s more about their travels, their work and their new favorite tripod! 

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First, can you tell us a little bit about how you got into photography/videography?

We started our tour company in 1992 specializing in trips to Peru. The trips were always between the Amazon jungle to the Andes mountains. At every stop we were surrounded by a vast wild landscape. It was during the first trip I realized how important a camera would be if I was going to share these adventures with others. By the time our second trip was scheduled I had bought a Canon A1 film camera for still photos, and a consumer level Canon 8mm video camera to capture the action. Our early documentaries were a record of the people we escorted through Peru, and events from the journey.

Since then we have expended our interests beyond tours. My wife Kathy and I now trek into remote areas looking for places few have traveled to. There are lost cities forgotten to time, people and their customs whose lives remain much the same as they were a hundred years ago, and fantastically beautiful places few will ever see.

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Can you tell us about the project these photos/videos are from?

The photos were taken during our most recent shoot in Peru and Bolivia. We called this “The Tocache Expedition”, though we actually shot in two countries and multiple locations in each country. As usual, we were determined to document several ancient sites relating to research Kathy was conducting. For more about this best to check in at Xpeditions TV.

How has the GorillaPod changed the way you shoot?

The GorillaPod Focus and Ballhead X have changed everything, and I really mean EVERYTHING. I’ll explain; For years we have carried a tripod with us. You have to if you want a steady shot for a stand-up narration, or if you film at night or while recording a time-lapse clip. We have several tripods to choose from, but even the best one we have is bulky. Most are heavy enough that you wish you didn’t have to have one along. Believe me, moving through the dense foliage of the Amazon or climbing past 14,000′ elevation on the steep slopes of an Andes mountain is challenging enough. Add a tripod and it becomes exhausting. We’ve done it, but were always looking for something more portable and more easily managed.

When we saw the GorillaPod and Ballhead X Kathy and I became very excited. We already knew JOBY made an exceptional product line. We had purchased a JOBY flashlight several years ago that attached to a small magnetic tripod. We still have it, and it was used during this last trip. It will be along with us wherever we go because it is so dependable. That thing saved our life one night while stranded on the Amazon river… but that’s another story. Needless to say, we have complete confidence in JOBY products. Because it is a JOBY we already knew the GorillaPod and Ballhead X is a well made, dependable high quality product. We quickly ordered one and it arrived two days ahead of leaving for our expedition. Without even considering, we left our expensive carbon fiber tripod at home. Good choice!

During the trip it was obvious this is the best tripod and camera mount we had ever used. Maybe the best addition to shooting that has EVER be invented! Sure, it doesn’t have extendable legs to get the height, but no problem. We were able to mount the GorillaPod and Ballhead X in trees, on fence posts, rocks.. anything we chose! We ended up with extraordinary shots that we would never have gotten otherwise! Adding the GorillaPod and Ballhead X to our kit improved our filmmaking by increasing the level of creativity always available, but never approached because of the limitations a normal tripod allows. We will use our old tripods in the future for studio work. But once we head out into the wild places we will not be without our GorillaPod and Ballhead X.

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What is your best tip for using the GorillaPod?

Avoid trees covered by ants! Haha… During one shot at “The Doomsday Stone” I decided to mount the GorillaPod in a tree for a stand-up shot where Kathy and I were discussing the archeological site. We were on location deep into the Andes mountain up the Rio Tocache. This region of the Amazon is where the jungle meets (and flows upon to) the Andes mountains. Because I was hurrying I hadn’t noticed there was a line of leaf cutter ants working this particular tree. They were busy cutting leaves and transporting them to their nest somewhere else in the nearby jungle. I quickly mounted the GorillaPod and camera in a high place, and set the shot. Once finished, I went to remove the camera. I was alarmed to see the GorillaPod and camera was covered with curious ants wondering what this thing was!

Aside from this, I suggest you take some time to become familiar with the GorillaPod and Ballhead X. Play with it, mount it, dis-mount it… Try it out in as many settings as you can. The GorillaPod and Ballhead X are easy items to understand and use. Experimentation is the key to using it. Don’t wait until you need to capture a shot to get familiar with it.

One last thing; You might want more than one size. We have the larger one, but there are smaller ones more specific to less bulky cameras. If your camera is big like ours, the GorillaPod Focus and Ballhead X is perfect. But if you have a smaller camera you might find consider one of the other GorillaPod models more specific for your camera size. You can be sure of one thing about any of these… Anything JOBY makes is the highest quality and will last for decades.

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 Can you share a story of a time that your GorillaPod really came in handy from your past trip?

That’s a tough question! It came in handy for almost every shot we took! But there is one shot I could not have gotten without it.

I already mentioned the tree shot in the Amazon with leaf cutter ants. That was one shot that would not have ever happened if not for the GorillaPod. There is another instance I felt we were able to be very creative.

While hiking back through the jungle to camp Kathy decided it would be interesting if we could get an overhead shot as we passed by. As we were leaving the Doomsday Stone area she found an ideal place to shoot from high in a tree along the path. We always had talked about to do this but never had because there was really no way to secure the camera. I climbed a tree (no ants in this one!) and mounted the GorillaPod and camera about twenty feet above the path. The results are incredible… Had it not been for the GorillaPod and Ballhead X I would never have felt comfortable mounting our expensive camera like this. The GorillaPod gripped the branch like a vice and held it securely in place. It would probably still be there had it been left in place. It was really locked onto that limb! We shot it, and it looks fantastic. That shot was only possible because of the JOBY GorillaPod and Ballhead X.

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What is your best advice for aspiring photographers/videographers?

Anyone can shoot footage. The greatest issue many have is when you think you are not “qualified”, or good enough to produce something others will enjoy. Our advice is, don’t compare yourself to others. You are not them, and never will be, haha… You might think your idea or footage isn’t as good as. Don’t think this way. Instead, be yourself. Shoot what is interesting to, and inspires you. Compose a story, imagine how you can make it look like what you see in your minds-eye. Don’t worry about it – try it out. Sure, you’ll have disappointments. We all do! Use your mistakes to make the next shot better. If you’re unsure or stuck not knowing how to do something, ask for help. I know for sure someone has encountered your issue already and most are happy to pass on helpful information.

Finally, if you ask for an opinion and receive constructive (or otherwise) criticism, learn from it. Don’t be bummed out just because one person has something to say that disheartens you. We have had a lot of that! You might also face this. If you do, think about what was said and go forward. If you really believe you are right their opinion doesn’t matter. If you see their rational, improve from the experience. Don’t be afraid to ask, and expect judgement. Place judgement where it belongs…. in your intellect, not your heart.

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Where can we find more of your stuff!

All our short documentaries are available at no cost at http://Xpeditions.TV.  We have been shooting for eight years. We have tried various cameras, editing techniques, and shooting styles. If you watch each episode you can easily see how our abilities have improved over the years.  We invite you to drop by, spend a few hours, and learn from what we have done. Have questions: how did we shoot  that, etc…?  Feel free to ask. We are always happy to share our knowledge and techniques. Maybe we can help you solve a shooting or editing issue : )

Thanks Jerry and Kathy for sharing your great tips and experience with us! 

 

What’s YOUR Angle? New GoPro Mounts & Tripods from JOBY!

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We’ve seen our customers do some pretty wild things with their GoPro cameras and our GorillaPod line from the humble GorillaPod Original to the mighty GorillaPod Focus. But we thought that ,you know, we really should be creating products specifically for the action video crowd. I mean, there are only a trillion of them being sold every day.

So, we thought about where our products do well with GoPro users and where they don’t do as well so we could create a proper GoPro family (don’t worry Contour and Sony ActionCam fans, these products equally well with those too!)

JOBY GoPro Mounts and Tripods

To see the whole family in its blazing glory and soak in an awesome skate video, check out the Action Series family in action!

First up is our GorillaPod Action Tripod. With a quick-release clip (our Tripod Mount for GoPro) designed specifically for GoPro Cameras, plus our standard 1/4″-20 quick-release clip, you can use your Action Tripod to capture epic off-body footage with any action camera and compact system camera up to 2.2 lbs / 1 kg. We know we’re preaching to the choir when we talk about how awesome GorillaPod’s flexible legs are for getting footage in tricky environments, but those flexible legs and grippy rings are even more helpful in the wild places you take your GoPro.  Another awesome feature of the GorillaPod Action Tripod is it’s integrated ballhead. It’s 360° of pan and ±90° tilt knob makes it easy to fine tune your compositions, plus it has a bubble level to help you get a level shot. No LCD screen to preview, no problem! Plus, GorillaPod Action Tripod is durable and lightweight.

 

GoPro Tripod

 

But if you already have a GorillaPod or a tripod, no worries!  You can buy the Tripod Mount for GoPro as a standalone piece and you can use it with whatever GorillaPod you already have (or any other tripod with a 1/4″-20 screw) The mount is built to also instantly slide into the GorillaPod SLR-Zoom, GorillaPod Hybrid, and GorillaPod Action Tripod so you don’t even have to remove the mount from your GoPro! In fact, for a totally different take on tripods for action video cameras, combine our Tripod Mount for GoPro with our Gpod Mini Magnetic. Check out the little guy defiantly gripping on to this metal platform!

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Next up is our Action Clamp series. Our GorillaPods can adapt to almost everything, but one thing they’re not as good at are staying clamped securely to the edge of surfaces like the edge of a door, a car window, etc., especially where the surface might be moving a lot. Maybe you want to make sure that your GoPro can’t be knocked over while filming. For that, what you really need is a clamp, not a flexible tripod.

But a lot of clamps out there are annoying to use. Some are hard to use (ie, you need the hand strength of a professional rock climber to work its jaws open enough), and some are just slow (screw the top….screw the bottom…and then repeat when you move it.) So, we created this awesome clamp that has a moveable locking arm that automatically locks in place as pressure is put on it. By closing the majority of clamp gap with the sliding locking arm, you only have to tighten the other arm just enough to secure a firm grip as opposed to screwing to just close space.  This lets you resize your clamp super fast from something as thin as a stop sign head to a table ledge up to 2 inches / 5 cm in a flash. Each side has two 1/4″-20 screw openings which lets you place your attachments on either end (or use both at the same time!)

Action Clamp for GoPro Video Cameras

 

So, we created two Action Clamps. The first is the Action Clamp with GorillaPod Arm. This has a 5 balls and sockets arm of GorillaPod goodness. Use the Action Clamp with GorillaPod Arm when you think you’re making a lot of quick tweaks, and you just want to bend the arm to get the position you want quickly.

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But we also created the Action Clamp with Locking Arm which has this terrific locking arm that has two pivot points where each one can rotate 360 degrees as well as pivot 180 degrees to the left and right. Not only can you get even more crazy angles than the GorillaPod Arm, but the locking arm that locks the pivot balls in place helps give you a much more vibration-resistant, longer lasting hold for your GoPro cameras in case you want some alternative platforms like…

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We’d love to hear what you think of the new Action Series line, and how’d you use them. Tag your photos and videos on Twitter and Instagram with #whatsyourangle or #gorillapod so we can check out your shots! Who knows some lucky winners might be the beneficiaries of some cool gear in the near future (*ahem*).

 

“GorillaQuad” Quadcopter Creates Awesome Aerial Photography

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Petr Jan Juračka is a professional science photographer, based at Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague in the Czech Republic. Every day, he takes on the challenge of taking shots of various objects, from really small microorganisms to aerial shots of large areas. In the latter case, he decided to build an amazing tool—a quadcopter. Petr is much more  a photographer than engineer, so he improvised in the creation of his quadcopter. Still, he’s been really satisfied with his unique “GorillaQuad”. Using his invention he can capture very professional (and strikingly beautiful!) aerial images on very low budget. Check it out and get inspired!

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Quadcopters are becoming really popular these days. Their prices are falling strongly down and you can see them flying over almost every big sports events. The bird’s eye view is an attractive perspective, showing simply more. Although it looks easy, flying with these drones for shooting is very demanding activity and requires a lot of training.

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“I decided to buy a quad and supposed it will be another accessory, just easy way how take shots from above…” Petr says. “However, it was much more challenging than I ever thought. I got injured during the first fly, the quad fall down and broke many times. Moreover, I was disappointed with the image I got from the small sport camera on the board. For the stills, I wanted to rebuild my quad into something bigger holding advanced compact camera shooting in RAW. Gorillapods were my choice, as I was used to using them for other types of photography before. GorillaPods make really easy to rotate my camera as I wish, and it is easy  to fold up my quad for traveling. Other professional photographers might might make fun of how it looks, but they have to admit it works.”

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Petr’s GorrilaQuad consists of the quad (Czech DIY frame, cheap Chinese electronics, propellers from US) and two gorillapods – one serves as quad foots, second holds a camera. Their weight is 270 & 30 grams, what is just acceptable for flying – GorillaQuad can still fly about 5 minutes per battery, which is enough time to take breathtaking stills from the air.

“It is quite new solution for me, we constructed that in my favorite camera shop last week. So these images are really first shots I took using gorillas on my quad, but hopefully not last. I really, really like it!”, Petr adds.

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Do not forget to visit Petr website, or follow him on Facebook or Twitter to see more amazing photography! Thanks Petr for taking the time to chat with us today!

 

GripTight Winners from Instameet #IgersJAX in Jacksonville, FL

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Last weekend, our friends @igersjax hosted an Instameet in Jacksonville, FL. Instagrammers showed up to hang out, meet new friends and make awesome photos. We chose three of our favorite photos taken during the Instameet to win a GripTight tripod for their phone. Now, without further ado, our winners from #Igersjax_instawalk_2ab!

By @cosmicyaina

By @cosmicyaina

By @corinnahoffman

By @corinnahoffman

By @whyte_wash

By @whyte_wash

 

Hosting an Instameet in your area? We want to be a part of it! Sign up here!

GripTight Winners from #InstameetCFL in Florida

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Last weekend, our friends @fltall and @nickline  hosted an Instameet all over central Florida. Instagrammers showed up to hang out, meet new friends and make awesome photos. We chose three of our favorite photos taken during the Instameet to win a GripTight tripod for their phone. Now, without further ado, our winners from #InstameetCFL!

By @druablank

By @druablank

By @oneram69

By @oneram69

By @figarocatj

By @figarocatj

 

Hosting an Instameet in your area? We want to be a part of it! Sign up here!

GripTight Winners from #IGLAMeet_GrandPark Instameet!

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Last weekend, our friends @igla hosted an Instameet at Grand Park in LA. Instagrammers showed up to hang out, meet new friends and make awesome photos. We chose three of our favorite photos taken during the Instameet to win a GripTight tripod for their phone. Now, without further ado, our winners from #IGLAMeet_GrandPark!

By @ki_ography

By @ki_ography

By @tigroc

By @tigroc

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By @joeyprentiss

 

 

Hosting an Instameet in your area? We want to be a part of it! Sign up here!

GripTight Winners from #HAE_JOBY in San Diego!

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Last weekend, our friends @igerssandiego hosted the world’s largest instameet in San Diego, CA. Over 450(!!!) Instagrammers showed up to hang out, meet new friends and make awesome photos. We chose three of our favorite #jumpstagram photos taken during the Instameet to win a GripTight tripod for their phone. Now, without further ado, our winners from  #HAE_JOBY!

By @irvsgotit

By @irvsgotit

 

By @juan_f_uribe

By @juan_f_uribe

 

By @steelergrl_79

By @steelergrl_79

 

Hosting an Instameet in your area? We want to be a part of it! Sign up here!

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