As photographers, we are continually striving to achieve that perfect photo. Getting out early to catch the morning light and then out again for the afternoon’s golden tones.
I want to pass on some techniques that I use to make a better photo. Let’s start with the tripod, the base of a great photo.
Sharpness is the number one goal of photographer, unless, that is, you are creating abstract photos. One of the best ways that I have found to achieve a sharp, clear photo is the use of a tripod. Tripods were a necessity in the early days of photography. Cameras were heavy and the exposure times were measured in minutes instead of a fraction of a second. It was impossible to handhold a camera steady in those circumstances. Modern cameras are lighter and advances in image stabilization are built into many new cameras and lenses. However, the tripod provides a solid base that helps eliminate camera shake and offers additional benefits.
Mounting the camera on a tripod allows the photographer ample time to frame the image. This is time to really look through the viewfinder. I would suggest examining the scene in the viewfinder, side to side and up and down. By taking this extra time you can eliminate the need to crop out that tree or pole from your subject’s head.
Using a tripod slows the process and calms you down. It allows you time to truly plan your shot. The mere act of setting up the tripod and mounting the camera prepares you to enter the “zone.” An example of the hurry up and shoot can be witnessed on any scenic overlook. Next time you’re traveling where scenic overlooks are present, stop and watch as car after car stops, the occupants exit the car, take a couple of shots and quickly get back in the car and drive off. When they get home, download or get the film developed, they wonder why the photos are not representative of the scene they remember. I’m sure you feel the same way I do. Photography is something to be enjoyed and savored, not rushed.
A solid base provided by the tripod is useful when you are creating a series of exposures. Panoramic photos require that the horizon be level and a series of shots at various exposures are required to create High Dynamic Range images. Future articles will discuss the process of creating High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography.
In low light situations, the tripod permits the photographer to create images using longer exposures. This is important in the predawn and late dusk when soft light bathes the landscape. During the night, it allows prolonged exposures that are quite spectacular and would be impossible without a tripod.
Modern tripods are lighter in weight and more compact than those manufactured not that many years ago. Sturdy ultra light weight tripods come at a price, but remember that after you purchase one, a quality tripod will last a lifetime. Be certain to check that the tripod can support your camera and lens. The manufacturer will list the weight any particular tripod will support.
- Fujifilm A170 Digital Camera Card + DOLICA WB Series Deluxe …
- PROFESSIONAL 57 Inch Tripod with Carrying Case For The Panasonic …