A tripod… ordered!

2 11 2009

When I started to focus on floral macro photography early this year I was very strongly AGAINST the idea of taking photos with a tripod. I was convinced that it would only slow me down and instead of taking 50 different photos I would be able to take only few  in the same time. Moreover I was convinced that a tripod is not necessary as I’m often shooting with low f-stops which allow me to have higher shutter speeds.

As time passed by and number of taken photos significantly rose I started to realize that sometimes a tripod could be handy such in cases with low light conditions or when  I had to be bent in a position which was painful or when small thing spoiled the composition and I noticed it only afterwards. In that time I started to consider work with a tripod for the first time and so I borrowed a tripod from my friend. Unfortunately it was a cheap one, nowhere near to sturdiness and reliability, and so I remained sceptical.

Sometimes in August a colleague of mine, also a photographer, bought a new tripod and I was happy being able to borrow it from him for a day. It was a Manfrotto brand (known as Bogen in USA) and it was completely different experience to shoot with it. I played with it a bit and was really excited! After this experience I started to consider buying a tripod for real.

Since that time I realized during almost every  shooting that a tripod would be very handy and so I finally decided to buy one. Just yesterday I ordered Manfrotto 055XPROB aluminum tripod with a Manfrotto midi ball head 488RC2 which is the same as I had borrowed from my colleague only with larger ball head.

I’m really looking forward using it and I will surely share my first experience here but until that time I would like to ask you for mentioning your shooting techniques with a tripod here. Do you look for a suitable composition without a tripod and after finding it you shoot it with a tripod or do you even look for a composition with a camera on tripod? Or do you always have the idea of image in your head and just go to the subject with a camera on a tripod, place it and shoot? I am really interested in your attitudes to this. Don’t hesitate and share it, please!

All images are linked to http://www.manfrotto.com.




8 responses

3 11 2009

Congratulations on ordering a tripod. I hope you are happy with it. Your approach of trying tripods before buying one was sensible.

Your stated reasons for buying one are the reasons i use one, plus, I’m not steady in holding the camera.

How I use mine: I use it all the time. I generally compose with camera on tripod, adjusting tripod and camera position to explore my subject. Sometimes i do explore without tripod first, but this is the exception.

It took me a while to get used to using a tripod. At first it felt cumbersome. Now, I couldn’t live without it.

3 11 2009
Tomas Turecek

Thanks for sharing your experience with a tripod. I only ordered it and I hope it will arrive until the end of this week so I will be able to try it on weekend. Composing with a camera on tripod sounds cumbersome to me and I’m really curious which way I will find as most efficient for me. But that’s exactly the reason why I would like to hear others experience. And I also think that using a tripod is kinda addictive and if you really get used to use it it’s very hard to shoot without it then. Let’s see.

3 11 2009

It will probably end up being your next best purchase next to your camera Tomas. You will notice a difference in having much sharper images.

As far as composition, I tend to compose off the tripod about 50-75% of the time unless I am using a long lens. Then when I find a good composition, I note the camera position and bring the tripod up to hold it there.

You are also correct in that it becomes something you rely upon heavily. While there are times when you can feel “free” without it – there is always something in the back of your mind telling you that you are missing out on some better images.

3 11 2009
Tomas Turecek

Thank you Mark for sharing your experience. You exactly described my feelings about both finding composition and relying on a tripod.

6 11 2009

Tomas, you said “I was convinced that it would only slow me down and instead of taking 50 different photos I would be able to take only few in the same time.” All I want to say is that a few great images is better than 50 good ones. My last trip out (The blur I posted today) I came back with just 9 images on the card. Nine images/three subjects. We worked of of tripods at the workshop and one of the main reasons was that it made us think more about compositions. Its quality, not quantity but I know that you know that Tomas. So congrats on the tripod.

6 11 2009
Tomas Turecek

Thank you, Ed. It is true that with a tripod you can more focus on composition while without it and macro lens and shallow DOF I focus on composition as well but mostly on having in focus plane what I want to have there when pulling the trigger. That’s also one reason why I usually take so many photos from one “shooting” session. I take more photos of one composition hoping that at least one will be focused right there as I intend and then I can throw out the rest. When I had borrowed a tripod from my friend I took only around 10 images during more than half an hour but they were focused exactly as I wanted. On the other hand when I’m examining the subject without a tripod I can try even 20 different compositions in quite short time whilst with a tripod I may try a couple and then not be willing to spend extra time to look for other. But time will tell what is suitable.

9 11 2009
Bernie Kasper

You will love it Tomas, I couldn’t live without mine..I don’t even know if I could shoot without it !! 😉

10 11 2009
Tomas Turecek

Sure you could 🙂 It’s only a state of mind 😀 A tripod should arrive today, hurray!

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