How I Use A Tripod
- Aug 23rd. 2012
- Posted in Gear Reviews . Tips & Tricks . videos
- @ThomasShue . How I Use A Tripod . Induro AT 413 . Lilsamedia . lilsamedia.com . Thomas Shue . Thomas Shue Photography . tom shue . Tripod
- By Thomas Shue
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How I Use A Tripod
Thanks for taking time to visit my blog. Today I want to share a few tips on how I use a tripod.
First, I visualize my Composition. Setting up a tripod can take a little bit of time, so I make sure the vision in my mind, is clear, for the image I want to make. I try to be fully aware of my situation. I look at the point of interest from various angles to determine the right spot before I set the sticks up.
When setting the tripod up, I try to make sure the center column is perpendicular to the ground by using one of the spirit (bubble) levels built in to the tripod. I want to make sure the full weight of the camera is spread out evenly between all of the legs.
Speaking of legs, I try to never extend the bottom section of the tripod legs – the thicker the tube, the less vibration. For this reason, I buy an extra tall tripod. I am currently using the Induro AT-413 – see my mini review here. FinallyI always try to point one of the legs in the direction of my subject/point of interest. This will give me room to work and prevent me from tripping on one of the legs.
I generally, never extend the center column. Again, this is for stability and why I buy taller tripods. If you extend that center column, you are going to get lots of unwanted vibration, especially if you use any long lenses like a 70-200mm. If you extend the center column you will basically be defeating the purpose of using a tripod, and that is to make sharp and in focus images. To avoid this problem, think ahead and buy the one that fits you without having to extend the center post.
I use good heads on my tripods, preferring geared heads, but a good ball head is fine (I use the Manfrotto 405). When using a tripod head, you should invest in an “L Bracket”. This device is really important, in my opinion, and I use the ones from Really Right Stuff. I use the L Bracket because I can shoot in portrait or landscape and the camera stays centered on the tripod head, this means all of the weight of the camera is spread evenly to all of the legs. Also it is very fast to switch orientation and nothing moves except the camera. Lastly, the added few inches of height can be very helpful.
Finally, I like to hang my camera bag from the hook on the tripod main spider support. Nearly all good tripods have a little hook designed to hold weight from the center column. I hang my bag for three reasons: First, the added weight helps pin the tripod to the ground and any vibration can be passed through the legs to the ground. Second, I can access my gear easily and I can keep an eye on it – you never know who is looking at you and your gear when you have your back to them and I like to keep it right in the front. Third, windy days. The added weight will help prevent my camera gear from slamming on the ground, and this is a good thing.
I use tripods all the time, I use them in the studio and in the field. Tripods do limit my mobility, so sometimes I use them as a prop for my elbow when I am shooting. I find them very helpful even if I don’t mount my camera to them.
Thanks for taking time to read my blog. If you have any questions for comments, feel free to leave them below. I hope you have a great day. Thomas Shue
Here is a Video Response to a comment below from Mike.
“Can you explain the difference between a ball head and one with gears?”
Sure Mike, instead of me trying to explain it with words, I just made a video to show you. I hope it helps. Thomas Shue