I woke up early, 4am for my flight to Bangalore, the streets were empty so the drive was easy. The driver also knew how to get to the airport in Delhi so that made the commute that much easier. One of my concerns for this trip was that all of my traveling schedules were very tight with very little room for mistakes. Those mistakes could be coming from me, the drivers, the airlines, airports, trains, demonstrations or who knows what.
Although I had a bit of help with a band-aid fix to the tripod it was far from fixed. The bolt holding the head on was about 3cm shorter than it needed to be so it kept falling off. My number one priority was to try and get this thing fixed. I was thinking I can go to a camera shop, Think FotoCare in NYC or PIX in LA. A place that would have gear and the expertise to fix a little thing like this bolt. Problem is I could not find one for the life of me. Lucky for me my driver who was part of the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (more about these amazing people soon) used to be a mechanic and would stop at nothing to help me get this fixed. He mentioned that the threads were not the normal type they use in India and that they were wider apart. So we set about looking for a tool and die guy to actually cut a new bolt. We went from place to place. All found on these little roads with 125cc motorbikes zipping up and down. At each location we were told that it could not be done or that the guy who MIGHT be able to fix it was not in and would not be back for a few days. I was starting to give up hope when we went to one last guy (don’t you love how it’s always one last guy?) Anyway we show up at Deen Cine Engineers (Manufacturers of Projectors, S P Machines, Tube, Bottle Filling Reduction Gear Box, Garments Machine Components, Precision Turning, Milling, Slotting, Gear Works) No joke that is what is on the card! I’d give you the address but just email me if you need it.
Anyway after a little chat with the owner and my showing him the bolt he says he can do it. He says it will take around 30 min. I figure sure why not. I should say that this guy had a machine shop that was about 200 square feet and it was packed with about 5-7 large machines of which I have no idea what they are called.
There was curled pieces of mettle all over the place and the smell of grease. He had an upstairs loft that I suppose was his office. He took the bolt and used some precision measurement tools and then asked me what I wanted to make it out of? I asked what it was currently made of and he said brass but that brass was very weak. Of course I wondered why Induro tripods would use a bolt made of brass. He suggests stainless steel and says that it is much stronger and would not break, I say sure, go for it. Next thing I know he pulls this little cylinder shaped piece of mettle from some place. He places it on the die cutting machine (I think that is what it’s called) and spins it up.
He starts to shave it down to the right diameter. Little by little it starts to get to the right shape. Once it’s the right diameter he starts to slowly cut the thread into it. This particular bolt actually has two sizes built into it so it can fit different sized tripod openings in cameras. So from the one piece he cut the two sizes. After about 35 min he took the new bolt off the machine and screwed it right into the tripod. Perfect fit right out of the gate, it went in and held the head safely and securely to the body of the tripod! This was VERY cool. Here is a guy who does not know me from Adam and takes about 40 min out of his day to make me one little bolt. Normally he would not even take a job unless it was for hundreds of units. I can’t thank him enough. He was even kind enough to let me shoot him while he was doing this and then signed a model release so I have the opportunity to use the images for stock. The problem I now realize was that this supposedly great iPhone model release program called iD Release has decided not to save the releases I worked so hard to input. I offered to pay him but he would not accept. What can I say other than this was a very generous man and it really was like so many people that I met in India. They were all so warm and helpful.
I left with the tripod fixed and ready to take longer exposure shots that I just knew were coming my way soon enough.
Side note, this iD Release app is junk! it has now let me down for the second time. I can’t find half of the releases I had inputted into the machine. If having a model release is important to you than avoid this one at all costs!