Testing the STRATOMAX Vehicle Doorstep for Heightened Photography


When I discovered the STRATOMAX Vehicle Hooked on U Shaped Slam Latch Doorstep with Safety Hammer Function for Easy Access to Car Rooftop Roof-Rack,Doorstep for Car, Jeep, SUV ($13.99), I suddenly had visions in my head of Ansel Adams perched on top of his station wagon photographing Moon Over Hernandez. In my case, I don't want to be standing on the roof of my Audi A3. So I was searching for alternative ways to use my car for heightened perspectives for landscape photography.

What I've noticed over the years, is that even a slightly elevated perspective helps eliminate distracting foreground elements. So the concept of a foot petal that works with the door latch of my car was quite appealing.

IMG_4082.jpg The doorstep hooked into my Audi A3

The concept is that this lightweight piece of machined aluminum connects to the door latch loop on the car, allowing you to step up to reach a cargo bin. And for this purpose, I think it works pretty well. The key factor is that you have something to grab on to once you step up.

The problem for photography, however, is that you don't have anything to hang on to once you step up. And depending on where your car manufacture has positioned the latch, this could be quite tricky.

For example, on my Audi A3, the latch is high, and I can't really balance myself well enough for photography. On my Saturn SL2, however, the loop is lower, and I can put one foot on the step, and the other on the door armrest, and it works pretty well. The Saturn was never high enough to give me the perspective that I wanted, so the door latch step is a nice upgrade.

IMG_4080.jpg The door latch is lower on the Saturn than the Audi. Here the step works well.

My advice is, if you are tempted by the STRATOMAX Vehicle Slam Latch Doorstep, consider two factors. First, how high is the loop for your door latch, and second, do you have anything to hang on to once you step up.

If there are positive answers to both of those questions, then this $14 gizmo can help you elevate your perspective for landscape photography. As for mine, it's going in the Saturn. The Audi is just too precarious with it.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.