I have occasionally talked about the tools we use in our work, but it’s been a while and I felt the need to discuss our latest piece of office equipment. It’s a meter-long stick.

More specifically, a selfie stick. So it’s a bluetooth-enabled stick.

When I first started doing field work, way back in the 1980s, cameras were small and took lousy pictures or took good pictures, were not so small, and were heavy. Now we all walk around with decent digital cameras on us all the time, and they’re small enough that you can hold one out on a stick at arm’s length and still take a usable photo. The picture above was taken this way, showing a mason working on rebuilding a damaged section of brick wall. Near the center of the top, you can see the gravel on top of the roof that I was standing on. The selfie stick allowed me to get a good photo of the work from a vantage point floating in midair five stories above the ground.

Why bother? The only other way for me to get a decent photo of the work would have been to ride the lift that the mason is standing on. He’s a nice guy and would have helped me with the ride up, but that would have cost him twenty to thirty minutes. I took six progress photos at different times during the course of my time on the site, or the equivalent of at least two hours of his time. So using the stick enabled him to work uninterrupted and me to get good pictures from the safety of the roof.

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