Taming the Sun When Shooting Tethered

Yesterday over at Photoshop Insider, my buddy Scott wrote about shooting tethered.  From the picture in his post, you can see that he was shooting indoors, but what if you want to shoot tethered outside?  The technical setup is the same but there is one big problem that is really hard to overcome and that is trying to see your computer screen in the bright sun.  I recently found a couple of products that make this a lot less troublesome.

The first item is the Promaster SystemPro Utility Platform.  At 10×14 inches, it allows you to turn any tripod into a stable laptop platform to get your computer off the ground and up to a comfortable viewing height.  The platform retails for around $40 at many photo retailers and can be attached in place of a tripod head or to the head itself by using the reversible 3/8″ and 1/4″ threads.

Obviously this platform will do a great job of holding your laptop but it won’t do much to tame the sun.  For that, you need to get yourself the ThinkTank Pixel Sunscreen.  Unlike other screens, this doesn’t just shade from above, it actually envelopes your laptop in a dark cave that blocks all those evil, glaring rays and allows you to see your screen with relative ease.  The Pixel Sunscreen folds down into a neat, flat, folio sized package that zips closed and has a handy carry handle on top.  To use it, just unzip, lift the lid, and pull out the side sections which use memory springs to quickly spring out into shape.  Just attach the Velcro tabs on the sides to the base of the system and then slip your laptop into the cool darkness that lies within.  The ThinkTank site says the Pixel Sunscreen is rated for use with up to a 17″ laptop but I think it might be a little tight.  I did, however, have no problem slipping my 15″ MacBook Pro inside.  There are small openings along the bottom which are perfect for sliding your tether and power cables into the enclosure.  The Sunscreen retails for about $69 and is available from Amazon.  If you are going to be doing any amount of tethered shooting out in the elements, these two products are sure to make your life so much better.

The shot on the left is in the shade and full sun on the right.

These products have definitely earned the PWP Seal of Approval

  • http://photos.stevekalman.com Steve Kalman

    Does the sunscreen act as a tent in that it gets hot in there with the laptop running? I looked at these (I use some of their other products) but worried that I’d bake the PC.

  • http://www.professionalsnapshots.com/blog Brian Reyman

    On a hot day, it shouldn’t get any hotter in there than sitting in the direct sun. There are enough openings to keep air circulating.

    Also, thanks for the tip Jeff on the inexpensive laptop stand – that’ll come in handy.

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  • http://paulopics.com/blog Paulo Jordao Photography

    Great Post Jeff.
    I have shot some commercial photography outside and I generally use a more complicated setup, I will definitely give it a try.
    Paulo Jordao

  • http://veesphotos.wordpress.com Bruce Vigneault

    Great setup. I haven’t shot tethered yet. I have individuals for the local high school football team to shoot next week, so I’m ordering these 2 items tonight! Thanks a bunch for the ideas gentlemen!

    Bruce Vigneault

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