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August 2009
In This Issue
Photo Feature: "The Polar Bear and the Tripod"
Article: July Wildflowers
Featured Product: New L-Plate for the PEN
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Steve's polar bear
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2009 RRS catalog
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top seller icontop seller icontop seller icon RRS FAQs:
Spirit Levels

circular spirit level

● What is a spirit level?
▫ A tool to indicate when a surface is level.

● How does it work?
▫ The level is only partially filled with fluid, leaving a bubble. The level is calibrated so that when the bubble is in the middle the surface is level.

● Why is it called a spirit level?
▫ Because the fluid inside is a form of alcohol (typically ethanol). Alcohols are chosen for their very low viscosity & surface tension values. This allows the bubble to shift and settle in place quickly & accurately.

● What shapes do they come in?
▫ Here at RRS we use lots of circular spirit levels (also known as bullseye levels) in our gear: clamps, rails, platforms. But tubular shaped levels are also common.

● Which shape is better?
▫ Well, a circular spirit level operates in two perpendicular axes, while a tubular level can only work in the direction of the tube. So if there is only enough room for one level, the circular spirit level wins out. But tubular levels are typically grouped in sets of two or three; these provide the best precision (think of the carpenter's levels that you see at the hardware store).

● Just how sensitive are they?
▫ Sensitivity is directly related to the width & curvature of the vial. Basically, bigger circular spirit levels deliver better sensitivity than smaller ones. So if your gear has more than one spirit level, always pay attention to the bigger one.

● Are dual axis levels better?
▫ If you're looking for the best precision, always opt for a dual axis spirit level, such as the one pictured below; this model slides into your camera's hotshoe. But don't think that's the only place where it's useful! Instead, simply use it as you would a carpenter's level. If you do use it in your hotshoe, don't forget to slip it back into your camera bag or you'll be on your hands & knees hunting for it!

spirit levels
Really Right Stuff offers both types. We sell dual-axis spirit levels, but we also sell leveling platforms in two sizes: medium and large. These platforms mount between your ballhead & your tripod.

YouTube logoWe just posted two new videos about our BH-55 ballhead. Check 'em out! Next to come: a field tutorial for shooting panoramas.
TopCustomer Photo Feature

Polar Bear

"The Polar Bear and the Tripod"
by Stephen Henry, Image 2009 Stephen Henry
Canon 1D Mk2, Canon 500mm f4 IS with 1.4 teleconvertor, 1/2000 second f8 at ISO 200.

About the shot:

"Last fall, a group of us were in the Alaskan high Arctic photographing polar bears. The bears were congregating, waiting for the Beaufort Sea to freeze. We had driven close enough for telephotos, and some of us were photographing from the ground when two young bears started ambling toward us. Their pace seemed to speed up as they got closer, and in our rush to get back in the vehicle, a couple of tripods got left outside. This bear sniffed at the tripod for a while, then picked it up and walked off with it on to nearby ice. The two seemed attracted to the foam padding and the quality construction of the tripod head. After nibbling the foam for a while, they apparently became bored and wandered off. When they were well gone, we were able to retrieve the tripod. Fortunately, the equipment and the photographers survived the adventure just fine."

Stephen Henry has been a "rocks, roots and rust" photographer for most of his life. Learn more about Steve & his wife Linda here

About the Equipment:

RRS Gear in the Image
BH-55 LR ballhead on Gitzo carbon fiber tripod

RRS print adAt right: Steve sent Really Right Stuff a few prints of the images he captured that day. We thought the images were compelling enough for a new print ad! See our ad with Steve's image in current issues of Shutterbug, Photoshop User, Layers, Digital Photo Pro, and Outdoor Photographer.
MH01July Wildflowers
in the Timpanogos Wilderness Area

Joe's Soap Box
I love shooting mountain wildflowers and took a long weekend to revisit some of my favorite spots in the Wasatch Range of the Rockies in Utah. This was a family trip, so for four days I split my time between vigorous hiking/photography and other family activities.
July Wildflowers


Article by Joe Johnson, RRS Owner
Joe's Signature

MH01Featured Product:
BOEP1-L plate for Olympus PEN

BOEP1-L on Olympus PEN

When we opened the box and found this nifty little camera, everybody in the office wanted to run off and shoot with it. Read Joe's article above for more about this unique camera. But if you've decided to buy one, then you'll definitely want to accessorize your PEN with our new L-plate, the BOEP1-L.
  • Price: $105
  • Weight: 2.6oz
Plate will be available mid-August 2009.
Get RRS gear in your shot & share!

From time to time, our shooters capture some extremely unique photos of our gear in the field. Share your images with us by posting to our Flickr group or send it to us by email. Who knows; we might even use your image in a national advertising campaign (with your permission, of course!).

Got newsletter suggestions?

Let us know what you would like to see in future newsletters. Either post a suggestion in our Flickr forum or send it to us by email.

2009 Catalog

Web sites are nice, but nothing beats a paper catalog full of our gear. Call or email us today; we'd love to send you our 72-page full-color print catalog. Our full catalog is also available as a downloadable PDF from our website at:
Happy shooting!

Your Camera Support Experts
at Really Right Stuff
Really Right Stuff
205 Higuera Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 USA

ph:  1-888-777-5557 (toll free in US & Canada)
fax: 1-805-528-7964