Yes, I know, one should never end a sentence with a preposition. But the alternative, ‘with which to do business’, sounds so cumbersome.

My old age has created a reluctance in me to heft my Clarks mast, weights, tripod, computer and ancillary kit into people’s rear gardens, down slopes, over potholed footpaths over streams and other hurdles – then again in reverse. So I splashed out on a new lightweight 9 metre mast by Agorfa. The oddly named Proshotal9 is perfect for the job. Shots that used to take upwards of half an hour to achieve now take minutes. OK, the Agorfa isn’t as tall as the Clarks, but its height is ample for the majority of jobs. One advantage of taking aerial shots at a slightly lower height being that you get to see the elevation, whereas higher shots show more of the roof.

Having had two major accidents with my Clarks – one due to the mast’s old age, and the other due to my ineptitude, I’ve developed an anxiety about using my best lenses and cameras at any height greater than my own 6’5″, and so with the new Agorfa I opted to use a fairly old Canon 1000D. The problem with that idea being the lack of a cable that would connect between that and my Aputure Gigtube, which is a wireless device that beams a picture to a hand-held video receiver from which the shutter can then be released.

So – here’s my first big thank you to both Aputure, based in Hong Kong, and Red DoorVR. Grace, who is an Aputure customer supporter, emailed by return and identified the cable I needed; and Red Door posted it out to me – but here’s the thing, Red Door sent it free of charge. I know the item is normally only a few quid, but add that to postage, time for someone to stick it into an envelope etc. and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect to pay something – especially as my lack of a cable was down entirely to me mislaying the original that came as a part of the kit.

It’s a curious thing in this day and age when you run up against a supplier that isn’t out to bleed every last penny out of you.Feelings can become mixed.  I was simultaneously ecstatic that I had the cable, and slightly embarrassed (I think it’s a British thing) that I didn’t have to pay for it. I soon got over that though and subsequently developed into a Red Door Evangelist. Make no mistake, if there’s a product that Red Door sells that I need, I won’t be buying it anywhere else in future. Tony Quinn is an absolute gentleman and I may have to develop an interest in 360 Panoramic photography just so that I can buy one of the specialist tripod heads that Red Door is known for.

The other supplier that I need to big-up, because they’re brilliant, is Agorfa. Wilf Box is another extremely customer-friendly business owner who completely understands the concept that companies like his, and the products they sell, are really important to small businesses like mine. My mast arrived the day after I ordered it – brilliant. Following its first outing I immediately mislaid the belt that’s used to stabilise the mast to the body. Rhiannon from Agorfa sent another  – free of charge. Unfortunately, yesterday, I found that one of the mast’s catches is dodgy. Wilf’s response was to post out to me packaging so that I can return the mast to the factory for a repair to be made. No arguments, no ifs and buts – just plain, first class service. In an ideal world the fault (if it IS a fault) wouldn’t have occurred. In the real world these things happen and the test becomes how a company deals with problems like that. Agorfa passed that test with flying colours. I’m so pleased to be a customer of Agorfa and again, I find that if there’s an opportunity to recommend them to anyone looking for a lightweight pole etc, then I’ll grab it with both hands.

What I love about the Agorfa, apart from the quickness with which elevated shots can be achieved, is what I would describe as the mast’s safety system. Before I spent my hard-earned cash I looked at the alternatives and found myself wondering about the wisdom of attaching an expensive lens and camera to a loose 30′ to 40′ pole and then waving it around at the same time as trying to operate a remote shutter release. In contrast to the competition, the Agorfa has a footplate, which stabilises the bottom of the mast, and the middle of the lowest section attaches to the aforementioned belt, thus making it possible to maintain stability with one hand whilst operating the remote shutter release with the other. I can’t imagine how other photographers use the alternative systems – all I can say is they must be much, much braver than me.


4 Responses to “Great People to do Business With”

  1. rohan Says:

    You need to buy a remote control helicopter , or use your levitation powers master

  2. Gary Says:

    Hi John,

    I have been thinking about getting this brand of pole too. Would be interested in your thoughts once you have had a chance to use it for awhile.

    Did you buy it directly from their website, or Amazon etc?


  3. Admin Says:

    Hi Gary. I’ve used it for about a month now. It takes a little getting used to but after deploying it a few times it’s a doddle. There are competitors but so far as I can see other poles don’t have the footplate or belt devices – I really can’t see how anyone other than someone with another pair of arms might be able to hold one of those steady, whereas with this pole I can arrive at a property, attach the camera and Gigtube and within about three minutes have the first of my pictures in the can. I really do love it. I’m getting old now and am really going off the idea of deploying my Clarks mast (it gets heavier every time I used it) – although that too is a great piece of kit and of course taller than the Agorfa. At least with the Agorfa I can get a really good elevated shot with much less effort – which in turn has enabled me to lower my prices for those – which in turn has led to one of my clients giving me enough work in the month to pay for 70% of the mast’s original cost!

  4. Admin Says:

    Hi Rohan – thanks for the advice. I’ve got the helicopter. I had it built two years ago and I’m too scared to use it 🙂 As for levitating – the only way I’ll get this 19-stone frame off the ground is with a few pounds of dynamite under me.