While I like the light stands portability, I have often wished that I could get a little more height from the unit. If memory serves, there was a light stand, sold through Midwest Photo Exchange, that included a built-in boom extension that could conceivably be intended vertically to add some height. Alas, like the CIA, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of said stand. But the idea has some merit.
Update: June 4, 2015: Click here to see the SP Studio Systems SPBLS32 Combo Boom/Light Stand.
Confluence of Ideas: Photographer Zack Arias, in a blog describing his portable equipment options, mentions his use of a 1-foot length of 1/2 copper pipe as an extension when using a shoot-through umbrella. He writes:
"...The 1/2″ copper pipe with a swivel adapter is basically a handheld solution to hold a light in one hand and a camera with the other. We’re talking no light stands! And questions from TSA as to why there’s a pipe in your bag. So far so good..."
After reading this, it seemed to me that a piece of copper pipe could also be used to to extend an existing light stand. I had just modified an Impact Umbrella Bracket to accept larger 1/4 x 20 thumbscrews, and remembered that the there were two spigot holes, one horizontal and one vertical, at each end. I reasoned that if I turned the bracket sideways, there would be two vertical holes.
Well, it worked. You can see the umbrella bracket with one end clamped to the top of a standard light stand and the other clamped to a length of copper tubing. (I removed the thumbscrew and put the clamp handle on the underside to make setup easier to see). This would give me a little extra reach for any 5/8" light stand, or a short handle for an umbrella - speedlight combination, if needed. Notice that I rotated the umbrella clamp to get the stand and the extension as close together as possible. This would minimize any additional torque this slight offset might introduce.
Technical Stuff: Copper tubing is measured by its inside diameter. This threw me at first: Why would Zack use 1/2 tubing? Because when you add in the wall thickness, you get a 5/8 cylinder, which is exactly what you want. When you buy your tubing, be sure to check the outside diameter, just to be sure.
|Find it here.|
Some Cautionary Notes: This is not a terribly stable modification, as it adds additional weight to light stand that isn't that strong. In a pinch, the extension could be in clamped horizontally to make short boom arm, but that would be pushing it. But is and when I do, I promise to use my camera bag as a makeshift sandbag. But if used indoors and with extreme care, this extension should work out reasonably well.