Tips on how to use Tripods/Monopods

When using tripods, you should make sure that the surface is sturdy and doesn’t shake. The use of them for instance on high rises, bridges, boats (pointing at sea or land), parquet floor or other flooring is problematic as these surfaces can shake and transfer vibration.

When using tripods, you should make sure that the surface is sturdy and doesn’t shake. The use of them for instance on high rises, bridges, boats (pointing at sea or land), parquet floor or other flooring is problematic as these surfaces can shake and transfer vibration. On bridges you should look out for vibration caused by traffic or passers-by. The same applies to high rises or towers on windy days. The camera can shake in the wind which results in long exposure periods, despite being mounted on a tripod. This leads to image blurring. Wind can cause the camera and the tripod to shake. What you can do to help: find a place where you’re not exposed to the wind or protect your equipment by turning your body against the wind. Additionally, by adding some weight (e.g., camera bag) to the tripod, you can help stabilise it. If the surface is uneven, do not retract the legs to the same length. Try to counterbalance the unevenness.

Using a tripod requires time. Many photographers feel held back and slowed down by tripods and monopods. Familiarise yourself with the image subject before setting up the tripod. Observe the subject from different angles. You can capture several test images to start off without using the tripod, in order to test perspectives and image impact (possibly with higher ISO rate).

As usual, check all the important camera settings, especially the ISO rate. Indeed, because capturing images with a tripod is so much more time consuming; it is more aggravating if something minor gets in the way of the desired result. It would be a pity to spend so much time on an image to achieve the highest possible image quality, only for an unnecessarily high ISO rate to diminish the image’s quality.

spirit level  Manfrotto]By looking through the viewfinder or at the display screen, it is sometimes hard to create a central, linear horizon by eye. A spirit level on the tripod head or one that can be pushed into the hot shoe make this job considerably easier.

No tripod is stable and sturdy enough to withstand all the vibrations caused by pressing the shutter release (and there are none that are built to do so). In short - by pressing the shutter release, vibrations are caused and that can potentially result in blurry images. These vibrations or shakes stop after several seconds, which allows a delayed shutter release to remedy this problem. The problem with moving subjects in this case is that there is a time lag between the shutter release being pressed and the exposure. While in landscape or architectural photography a time lag can be somewhat irritating, with moving subjects it can lead to unwanted results. On many cameras you can set various delays, which means you don’t always have to wait 10 seconds for the release. It is easier to use a remote shutter release, which can be released without causing any vibrations and optionally have no time lag. There are different types of remote shutter releases depending on the camera (radio, cable or infrared). Some models can be used for various camera systems.

A further unwanted (if not always noticeable) vibration can be caused by the mirror flipping up (only on SLR cameras!!!). High quality SLR cameras provide a mirror lock-up that can be activated. When the shutter release is first pressed the mirror flips up well before the shutter opens. The second push of the shutter release actually results in the shutter opening almost vibration-free for exposure.  Caution – for this, a remote shutter release is crucial. Some single-lens reflex cameras offer this function with a timed trigger release, which allows you to forego using a remote shutter release.

Lastly…
Sometimes a tripod can help differentiate between good and bad image subjects. If we feel the urge to unpack the bothersome tripod, it shows us that this subject has more of an effect on us than others.

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