Professional photographers and videographers know all too well what it is like to experience a lull in artistic vision. When you are in a creative rut, it is hard to imagine any positives could possibly come from the stagnation. But seasoned pros realize that those artistic valleys can signify that a new stage of artistic development is on the horizon.
I have learned a few tricks that help me climb out of my own artistic depressions and move forward artistically. One way I snap out of a lull is to integrate a new technique into my repertoire or introduce a new piece of gear into my kit. Considering this, I felt a sense of excitement when I pulled Manfrotto’s new XPRO Monopod+ and 500 Series Video Head out of the box.
I didn’t consider what the gear could do for my professional life. I did, however, consider how the sturdy XPRO monopod+ and sleek head would challenge me. How would this particular gear combo help me in my evolution as an image maker? With the XPRO monopod+ in my hands, I asked myself, “What else is possible.” In hopes of breaking my own creative rut, I needed the monopod and head to aide my artistic evolution and help me to “imagine more” as a photographer.
I was filled with hopeful excitement as I prepared my gear for a rare day of solitary shooting. Into my bag went a range of lenses, a full frame DSLR, and a mirrorless camera kit. With my bag stuffed to the brim, I reached for my Manfrotto MT293C4 tripod and 494RC2 head. I hesitated and reminded myself that the day was about moving forward, evolving. Instead of grabbing my trusted Manfrotto rig, I reached past my faithful tripod and grabbed the new XPRO monopod+ and MVH500AH head.
Like most professional photographers, I get stuck in the scout, shoot, edit, deliver, and repeat cycle. I wanted to get back to being a curious photographer who experiments for the sake of art, style, and craft. So, I took a step back and changed my routine. Without a concrete plan, I grabbed my gear and hopped on a train without a specific destination in mind.
Some miles outside of downtown Tokyo I chose a stop and took stock. There seemed to be plenty of bustle inside and outside of the station and I figured that the neighborhood was just as good as any other. Without hesitation I opened my bag and assembled my rig. I felt confident attaching my DSLR to the head’s plate. I could tell that this monopod and head could easily support the weight of my hefty kit (and then some).
As soon as I got out of the station I began shooting and filming. I was impressed with the ease that I could pan with the monopod because of the XPRO’s new fluid base. The monopo’s extended foundation supported continuous movement and the video head seemed to be the icing on the cake. I could easily plan and execute fluid moves in video mode. Right out of the gates, I was satisfied with the monopod and head combo.
I continued shooting both video and stills, happily working without a plan or agenda. But, as I continued shooting, I noticed myself planning and executing moves that are overly common in my work. Realizing this, I stopped and pulled back from the camera. I reminded myself that my goal for the day was to do something different, something more. My goal was to evolve and I was determined to allow myself to experiment with the XPRO; a tool designed to inspire.
After my quick pep talk I began envisioning what was possible with the monopod and how I could use the XPRO to push myself creatively. Then, the sparks started to fly…
I hoisted the monopod in the air over crosswalks, extended it over busy roads (cautiously at first and then with confidence when I realized just how well built the XPRO Monopod was), and tested the fluid base on the flimsiest of foundations Tokyo has on offer. Soon enough, the XPRO became a tripod, a boom, and a stabilization system all in one; a workhorse.
At the end of the day, I came home with a massive amount of footage. I was surprised at the new angles I was able to shoot. But it wasn’t just video that was taking up space on my memory cards. Thanks to Manfrotto’s forward thinking design, I even managed to shoot braced timelapse sequences and stills, a feat usually reserved strictly for tripods.
After downloading and reviewing my imagery, I sat back and collected my thoughts about the day and about the X-Pro monopod and video head. I thought specifically about the 500 series head and how it allowed me an incredible amount of versatility. I thought about the build quality and durability of the XPRO monopod model. I thought about how easy it was to use the two products in combination. But more, I thought about how the monopod was the very tool I had hoped for; a piece of equipment that would push me beyond what I thought was possible.
Without a doubt, the XPRO Monopod and 500 series head will quickly will become a dependable component in my kit and a camera support system that will truly push my creativity as an image maker. If you are looking to evolve as a photographer, see what the XPRO monopod can do for you.