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Occasionally, God smiles on a sinner...
Old 10-16-2005, 09:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Didja know that J.C. Penny stores use autopoles for some of their in-store advertising posters and displays? Nice ones, the black finish, real cool...

Anyway, you may be one of those who don't know what an autopole is. Here's a brief description. Basically, it's a pair of telescoping aluminum tubes about 2 inches in diameter which extends up to about 15 feet. It has rubber-like feet on both ends and a locking arm where the two tubes meet. Basically you extend it between the floor and ceiling, lock the locking arm, and you have a firmly fixed pole you can hang all sorts of things on, such as lights, reflectors, backgrounds, etc.

So anyway, I've lusted after a set of them for a while. Wasn't going to buy them new, I have a cheap streak. Cameras - new, yes; accessories - new, no way...

There is a traveling camera show that hits Detroit about every two or three months. I went to one earlier this year and arrived a bit later than usual. The thing is most good deals at these events get made in the first half hour or so. As I was walking in, I ran into a guy walking out... carrying a set of autopoles.

Damn, just my luck. The only time in four years autopoles show up at a local show and I am late, and they get sold before I even see them...

So this weekend the show was back in Detroit. I am up bright and early Saturday, and headed for the Motor City. Want to be there when the doors open. Not likely to see any autopoles, but there's other stuff I might find, like a better flash meter, an Alien Bee, some books I don't have, or something interesting to take a bit of spare money off my hands...

But alas, I-96 is under construction just outside Wixom, a backup extends nearly 6 miles long as 4 lanes merge down to one. Why? Who knows... the work crews sure aren't working on Saturday! So I am at least an hour and a half late to the show...

Actually, after sitting in the I-96 parking lot for the first hour I had almost decided to turn around at the next exit and head home. Not likely to be any deals left by the time I get there... but I didn't. What the heck, it's a nice day. Go say hello to some dealers who have treated me well in the past.

Walking around the show, I see a few used books I want, and make a fair deal with a dealer I buy from frequently. I buy some recent copies of Rangefinder real cheap, and a couple of glamour phototography books I already have, but the price is so right I know I'll make out.

And then, standing in an out-of-the-way corner, looking a bit dusty, a set of autopoles. I take a quick look to be sure they are really what I think they are. Then I ask the guy at the closest table if they're his.

Yep...

How much?

He answers. I ask him to repeat. I lost most of the hearing in one ear, and what I thought I heard MUST be a mistake.

He says it again... and adds that includes the background clamps, and the background rollup stuff.

God smiles on a sinner occasionally...

Anyway, I am still keeping an eye on the local J.C. Penny stores. They've got the cool black autopoles, and someday, they'll replace the store fixtures... and I'll be there when they do.

There are camera shows or sales in many major cities and some out-of-the-way places. Check Shutterbug Ads' calendar of events for schedules. You'll find dealers eager to buy quality stuff, and sell used stuff at negotiable prices. No guarantees what you'll find, but it's a good way to pick up gear inexpensively, meet some other photographers, and just browse a bit. Check it out...

The Michigan Photographic Historical Society has a sale on Sunday, October 23.
10 AM til 4 PM. Novi Community Center on W. 10 Mile Rd, Novi Michigan.




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Re: Occasionally, God smiles on a sinner...
Old 10-16-2005, 10:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The powers that be DO work in strange ways, do they not?.... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Re: Occasionally, God smiles on a sinner...
Old 10-16-2005, 11:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Back when I wanted autopoles, I ended up a set that was really something else. Net cost for two sets was under $20.

The bought set was just one of those pole lamps you see all the time. It was 10' and came in three sections for the pole. It has a spring loaded gizmo at the top that you shove into the ceiling, and then move the bottom of the pole to the floor. Works great. I bought two of those ($9 each).

Cheers,
Roger
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I lucked out
Old 10-17-2005, 11:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I had a call from a woman whose husband had died, he had a small in home studio and had auto-poles with the background kit, bogen heavy duty boom stand, 2 full sets of old photogenic lighting setups with powerpacks, dozens of light modifers and a 4x6 larson softbox that needed only a plate to fit my photogenic monolight. She only wanted $300 for the whole thing, I sweetened the offer quite a bit(I did not want to go away feeling like I cheated her or got one over on her). The auto poles and background kit have been the best thing for photographing schools, they set up in 15 minutes and are wonderful for instantly changing backgrounds. Now I have to sell the old photogenic lights.
these are great but are not as easy to use as monolights. gmff@adelphia.net web page
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Re: Occasionally, God smiles on a sinner...
Old 10-17-2005, 11:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Autopoles are the best, I have used them for years, they even make a bse for them so you can use them when the ceiling is too tall
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