Stick in a Pot

stick in a pot

stick in a pot


My in-laws think that I can do anything. Just recently they had a problem with their oven and I replaced a burnt element. Where did you learn how to do that? My mother-in-law asked. I bet that it was from your daddy. I said well as a child I did watch my dad repair things and yes, he had replaced the element in our oven before. However, truth is that I don’t know how to do everything, and the real reason that I attempt so much is that I’m just too cheap to call someone else when I believe that I can do it myself. So I guess the same thing applies to photography.

I needed a couple of light stands. However, I have two problems. First, I can’t justify spending the money that they cost. Second, I don’t have the space that is required to spread the legs apart that are on the stand. I began searching the internet for some type of low cost solution and found a video by Jim Talkington on In the video Jim made what he calls a stick in a can. He used one of those large vegetable cans that contains enough green beans to feed an army and screws a stick inside it. Then he fills it with concrete. Great idea! However, Jim’s studio is in a warehouse I would guess. I didn’t want metal cans scratching anything. So I used plastic flower pots instead.



Cutting the soda can


Since the flower pot’s edge aren’t straight, I attached my stick to a soda can. First I trimmed a soda can.


soda can

Stick screwed to the soda can


Then I attached the stick to it and filled it with concrete before placing it inside the flowerpot.


Flower pots filled with concrete


Once I had it inside I also filled the flower pot with concrete.



Sticks leveled and braced

Afterwards, I cleaned the concrete from the stick and the pot and leveled the stick taping it to something that would brace it while the concrete cured.

I can’t wait to try them out! Do you have any neat ideas that you’ve heard of and would like to share?






  1. Adam Allegro January 19, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    Cheapskate… 🙂 I do the same stuff. Nice work.

    • Phillip January 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      That’s me, ole Cheapskate Burrow. 🙂 My parents used to say that things have a way of meaning more to you when you have to work for them. In the same way, creations have a deeper meaning to you when you have designed and built things such as this to use in the process.

  2. deniseippolito January 19, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    When I owned my flower shoppe that is how we set up our display silk trees. Great thinking and thank you for sharing.

    • Phillip January 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

      Thanks Denise. So if the photography thing doesn’t work out, I can always make me a couple of silk trees! 🙂

  3. Len Saltiel January 19, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    Very inventive Phillip. Thanks for sharing.

    Have you seen the website Cheap Shots by Larry Becker? If not, here is the link.

    • Phillip January 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

      Thanks Len. Isn’t Larry great. I also enjoy listening to him on DTown TV. He really has some wonderful ideas.

  4. Eden January 19, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Sounds good to me! My “studio” consists of a nasty old end table that’s probably as old as I am, a $10 pole lamp from Walmart, and a black flat twin sheet. Here’s to the “work with what you’ve got” approach to photography! 😀

    • Phillip January 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

      I understand Eden, and there is nothing wrong with that. The lamp in the first picture, with the large blub, was actually used to hold a heat lamp for our turtle when my son was young. Another lamp not pictured, was purchased at a thrift store. I only wish that I could find a nice wide angle 2.8 lens there too! 🙂

  5. Edith Levy January 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Very innovative Phillip.

    • Phillip January 20, 2012 at 5:34 am #

      I appreciate it Edith!

  6. Otto von Münchow January 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    This is really handy man. Can you mail a couple of your light stands to me? I think it’s quite amazing how innovative you are. I certainly look forward to seeing the result after use.

    • Phillip January 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      Let me see I used one 40 lb bag of concrete, and I made three stands. So that means that each stand weighs at least 13 lbs. So where should I send them Bergen or Seattle? 🙂 Thanks for the great comment.

  7. Caryn Caldwell January 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Great story! Especially the part about your inlaws thinking you can do anything – that sounds great! I wish I were handy, but it probably takes practice, interest, and a lot of talent.

    • Phillip January 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

      Thanks Caryn. I think you missed the part about me saying that I not. 🙂 Most of the time, I just end up doing things out of necessity.

  8. Jimi Jones January 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Nothing like some good old-fashion ingenuity, Phillip. Solving problems in this manner can often be a lot of fun. Nice work and lovely images.

    • Phillip January 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

      Thanks Jimi. I agree. It was a lot of fun and I don’t have to feel guilty about spending a lot of money on tools when I’m not using them.

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