I have used my tripod easel a few times now and decided sitting down to sketch/paint in the field is not my thing. I’m very used to perching myself wherever and holding a light drawing board, and turning it around as I want (often to play with the wash flow direction). The tripods I have both extend up to bring the camera virtually to eye level so getting a higher board height is really easy (you just crank the handle on the extension tube). Further the heads on both my tripods have a lockable swivel arm so that the camera is easily reposition with one hand (or the drawing board tilted and rotated). After a bit of experimentation I opted to have the swivel arm pointing up, which meant I have to reach under or around the board but it does seem to give me better control (however it makes the arm harder to see in the photo below). So all I needed to do was make up a wider drawing board (still 3mm particle board sheet) and find a palette with deeper wells, so the washes don’t spill out as I tilt the board). Using common bulldog clips (anything similar will do just fine) I then clamped my mixing palette on the right and sketch book on the left. A couple of big blobs of blu tac help my keep brushes and pencils handy.
I had tried to find the spot Charles Conder had painted his larger Holiday at Mentone work. The old mentone seas baths, and beach boxes are long gone and the current “jetty” is enclosing a storm water drain and more western along the beach. In my memory conder’s painting faced the other way. So I am probably in much the same location of condor’s easel but looking in the opposite direction. for my sketch. For a wider view see my photosynth below. The standup painting position works better for me, and I could work faster with the washes and tilting the board was very easy. Finally I like this simpler design (less parts to carry)