Friday, August 04, 2006

bean bag : The Case for Using a Tripod

No photographer likes to burden himself down with unnecessary accessories and weight when going out to take pictures. We have All heard that a tripod increases the chances of producing a sharp picture but we are not sure that having a steady hand and using faster shutter speeds will remedy the situation.

It seems to me that digital cameras are especially sensitive to camera movement. I have observed a noticeable difference in images taken with and without a tripod even when using a fast shutter speed, for instance faster than 1/125th of a second. Keep in mind that if there is camera motion, any slice of the time that the shutter is open will capture some of that motion, even at the higher shutter speeds. A tripod opens the possibilities of extremely slow shutter speeds and it’s sibling , a wide depth of field.

One way to save space and weight is to carry one of the light weight tripods. Monopods and table top tripods are very limited in use. As long as the total height measures to your own eye height, this tripod will be usable. In order to avoid camera shake when taking the exposure, these light weight tripods work better if you use the self timer to make the exposure.

A good alternative to carrying a tripod is the bean bag tripod. In most cases out in the field there are walls, branches, rocks and even the ground itself on which to place your camera. But these surfaces are rarely level and an up or down angle may be needed. The bean bag tripod like “The Pod” from a Canadian company works well in these situations. The Pod may even fit inside your camera case. Again, it is best to use the self timer when photographing landscapes or other static scenes.

The tripod is also useful when taking multiple images for later stitching. These panoramic pictures make beautiful wall images since the total number of pixels in the final image is multiplied by the number of images uses. Another benefit is that a wider angle perspective is possible without the foreshortening and distortion of a super wide angle lens. When a scene would benefit from including a person in the scene, you yourself can be that person. Just predetermine the position and pose needed for the composition and use the delayed self timer for the exposure. A sharp image will enlarge successfully and will also make possible extreme crops without losing quality .

By Kenneth C. Hoffman


Post a Comment