A tripod is usually the best way to take a steady picture. But there are a lot of times when a tripod isn't convenient to use. One alternative is to mount your camera on an articulated arm that is mounted off to one side. This will still hold your camera steady but it will be able to get angles that would be impossible for a tripod.
Step 1: Select an Articulated Lamp
Step 2: Remove the Head of the Lamp
Step 3: Remove the Lamp's Power Cord
If your lamp has a fluorescent bulb, it may have a transformer built into the base. This may require you to either cut the power cord at the base or remove the transformer in order to completely remove the power cord.
Step 4: Measure the Spacing on the Top Mounting Plates
Step 5: Cut Out a New Mounting Bracket
The total length of the mounting bracket will depend on your lamp stand and your camera. The area that connects to the stand needs to be long enough to attach to the screw hole and long enough to not interfere with the tightening thumb screw. The main body of the bracket needs to be long enough to attach your camera with a 1/4 inch screw and still have a good range of motion. I made the cutout section one inch long and the main body 1 1/2 inches long for a total length of 2 1/2 inches.
First I marked the areas that I needed to cut so that one end could fit between the mounting plates. I drew two lines down the center that were about 3/8 of an inch apart. I drew a second line about one inch from the end that was perpendicular to first two lines. This outlined the two cutouts that I would need to make. Then I cut them out using a scroll saw.
Step 6: Mark and Drill Holes for the Mounting Screws
Next, you need to mark the location of the camera mounting screw. Hold your camera on top of the board in a good working position. Then mark where the camera's mounting hole lines up. Drill this out with a 1/4 inch drill bit.
Step 7: Attach the Mounting Bracket and Camera
To attach the camera, place it on top of the bracket and line up the mounting hole on the camera with the 1/4 inch hole on the bracket. Then insert a 1/4-20 bolt through the bottom of the hole and screw it into the camera. This is easiest if you use another thumb screw but a regular bolt can also work.
Tighten the each fastener only as much as you need to in order to keep the camera stationary. This allows you to make small adjustments without having to loosen the screws.
The result is a fairly functional articulated camera stand.
Step 8: Optional: Add Additional Sections for More Degrees of Freedom
To do this, start by cutting off another 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch section of wood. Then you need to drill some mounting holes. On the top face, drill a 1/4 inch hole that is spaced 1/2 inch from the back side and 1/2 inch from the right side. Then on the right side, drill a 1/4 inch hole that is spaced 1/2 inch from the front side. This will be your second mounting bracket.
To mount the second bracket, you need to make one modification to the first bracket. Drill a 3/16 inch hole in the right side that is about 1/2 inch deep. This is just big enough that a 1/4 inch bolt will tightly squeeze into it and make its own threads in the wood. There is a slight chance that this may split the wood. If this happens, try using a 7/32 inch bit.
To connect the two brackets, insert a 1/4 bolt that is 2 inches long through the hole in the right side of the second bracket. Then screw it into the hole that you just drilled in the first bracket.
Lastly line up the camera's mounting hole with the hole in the top of the second bracket and secure it in place with a 1/4 inch bolt.
If you want you can continue adding more brackets for greater flexibility, but two should be sufficient for getting most angles.