Under the GW Bridge with Platypod Owner/Inventor Dr. Larry T.

Words by Dr. Larry Tiefenbrunn (Platypod Owner/Creator/Inventor)
Edited by Eryka Bagwell


It was a hot and steamy Fourth of July this year in New Jersey. Mina and I were determined to make the best of it. George Washington himself was certainly not available for a patriotic visit, but we found the next best thing, his bridge. Somehow, whenever we try to make an outing to New Jersey Palisades, we’re always met with storm clouds ( see my 2021 post ). In the past we always seemed to end up on the upper part of the cliffs but this time we wanted to get down to the Hudson River so we found a place to enter the park in Fort Lee, down some beautiful country roads ending up right at sea level.

Despite living in the New York-New Jersey area almost all my life, I never knew that one could find a place to stand right under the bridge, but we found it that day. Waze guided us to the Ross Dock picnic area, where we parked our car for a nominal fee and took a five-minute walk on a paved path, right toward the bridge.

Since it had been raining on, and off that day, there were plenty of nice puddles for reflections in our self-portraits. My Platypod eXtreme and Platyball Elite helped to get my camera and 14 to 24 mm super wide lens very low down to the ground to catch the reflection. I wanted as much dynamic range as possible in this photo and great depth of field, so I shot at ISO 64, f/13 which gave me a correct exposure of 1/40 sec.


This allowed some leeway to tweak the shadows and the highlights in Adobe Lightroom, without clipping. People often think that the only reason to use the low ISO is to avoid grain but to me the biggest advantage is the 14-stop dynamic range that I can achieve like this. My sturdy Platypod setup helped to maximize sharpness over what I could’ve achieved with handholding. This lens does not have image stabilization.

Next, we moved under the bridge, and I took a test shot handheld but was not able to see the little red lighthouse next to the New York tower.

Getting my camera low to the ground and leveling using the Platyball Elite LED indicator helped me line up the shot perfectly and was able to bring in not only the lighthouse but two boats on the water surface. This position also eliminated the buildings in the background. This looks great when I blow up the picture and print it on 17” x 22” luster paper on my Canon Prograf 1000 printer.

Originally, I thought I was going to print this image in grayscale but frankly I liked the little bit of rust color on the girders adding a lot of character to this awesome structure. I tried, shooting both in portrait and landscape, and somehow the landscape view won out, giving the image that “whoa!” sensation.

With my tight schedule as a physician and CEO of Platypod I’m really happy if I can come away with one or two “wall hangers” per year. Well, at least I’ve got one so far for this year.

Also, if you have not already signed up for our mailing list already, we're offering an Additional 20% off the listed sale price of the Platyball (only during the month of July 2023). Now is the time to buy yours if you've been debating! Visit our website and look to the very TOP red banner (rotating) and sign up for our mailing list today to take advantage!

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