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Thread: A saw and a ladder

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    A saw and a ladder

    An old-time architectural photographer once told me that he never went anywhere without a pruning saw and a step ladder.

    The purpose for the saw was to prune a leafy tree branch to shoot through. It hid a cracked sidewalk and/or a featureless sky. Or perhaps an ugly power pole. Held under the lens, the foliage gave the impression that an industrial building surrounded by hot, dirty pavement might instead be in the suburbs, set in the middle of some very expensive cool, lush landscaping.

    The step ladder allowed him a camera POV high enough to shoot over the ubiquitous parked cars looming large in the foreground. A much neater trick than what can be achieved by merely raising the front standard alone.

    The problems with step ladders have always been their generally flimsy construction (as a big bruiser, I have had more than one ladder collapse under me.) and their length which prevented them from transportation in an automobile trunk.

    The Little Giant, commercials for which are everywhere these days, seems to have nicely solved these problems. And what a treat to buy something which was actually made here, instead of China, for a change.

    However, as a source for these ladders, I would instead like to recommend Pro Ladder Supply of Pocatello, ID, over the tv marketing company running the paid commercials. Pro Ladder stocks the complete line of products instead of just one, ships the next business day instead of in 60 days, and their prices are much lower.

    I just took delivery (by free Fedex) of a type 1AA Little Giant, built to accommodate 375 pounds.

    Think I may have linguini for lunch...

  2. #2

    A saw and a ladder


    Great post!

    Linguini sounds good too!


  3. #3

    A saw and a ladder

    It seems a little rude to take a pruning saw and lop a limb off someone else's tree.

    Why not carry a leafy branch instead of a saw?

    -Paul (

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Whittier, CA

    A saw and a ladder

    I always havea step ladder in my car, i will never bring a pruning saw, but my next buy will be a magic wand to get rid of telephone poles and power lines.

  5. #5
    Eric Woodbury
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    A saw and a ladder

    Someone told me once to always carry a can of black paint so that you could paint out objectionables from a potentially good photograph.
    my picture blog

  6. #6
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Elk, California

    A saw and a ladder

    I just read an amusing article about a guy who cut down all the saplings in the foreground of his pond picture. He said to prune them at an angle so that the white cut doesn't show up from the camera position, thus saving hours of spotting time.
    my black and white photos of the Mendocino Coast:

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    A saw and a ladder

    Don't forget to mention that wonderful ladder costs nearly $400!!!!! (Those infomercials ain't cheap).
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    A saw and a ladder

    This is truly an odious post. It highlights the kind of self-centered destructiveness that gives some photographers a bad reputation. No one has the right to cut or prune a tree except on his/her own property.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    San Clemente, California

    A saw and a ladder

    "No one has the right to cut or prune a tree except on his/her own property."

    Frequently even cutting on one's own property is prohibited by homeowners association covenants and/or county tree preservation ordinances.

  10. #10

    A saw and a ladder

    If you are in the wilds of the outdoors on Federal lands or public property I have no problem with trimming saplings or other small time growth to get your shot. Common sense is the key here. But in the city or particularly with others property you are taking the risk that someone will take you to task if you get caught.

    Use your head and find a better angle that does not require you to modify the situation to your liking and it will be better for all of us.


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