During my last workshop in Vermont with David Middleton, we noticed that many of the students were spending more time wrestling with their equipment than thinking about their photography. Spending several minutes getting it setup, never trusting it to stay put, constantly fidgeting with it etc etc etc. You get the idea, it is less than an ideal and in fact it will lead to bad images. A tripod is an essential tool for landscape photography. You cannot possibly hand hold the 1 or 2 second exposures that are often required. Having said that your tripod should not be your enemy but rather a trusted companion and helper. Imagine that you are Batman and your camera is Alfred. Batman could not do what he does without Alfred and you can’t be good at photography without a proper tripod!
I’ve written a few things for you to think about so you can evaluate your current tripod situation.
You’ve got the wrong tripod if…
If your tripod legs are smaller or equal to the diameter of your finger, you’ve got the wrong tripod
If you have to bend over to use your tripod, you’ve got the wrong tripod
If you can’t put your tripod flat to the ground, you’ve got the wrong tripod
If you feel like you have to hang on to your tripod to keep it from falling over, you’ve got the wrong tripod
If you feel like you need to wear your neck strap while using your tripod, you’ve got the wrong tripod
If you use the center column in your tripod, you’ve got the wrong tripod
If your tripod has Swiss army knife like features (more than folding and unfolding legs) you most likely have the wrong tripod
If your tripod legs have support braces, you’ve got the wrong tripod
You’ve got the wrong mount holding your camera if…
If your clamp can be called a pistol grip, you’ve got the wrong tripod mount
If you aren’t using a tripod that has an arca Swiss style mount, you’ve got the wrong tripod mount
If you are not attaching your camera directly to the tripod, you’ve got the wrong tripod mount
Hopefully these made you smile and perhaps think about any weaknesses in your current camera support. Oh and by the way, if this list made you think about a new tripod or mount, you’ve definitely got the wrong tripod!
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Want some advice…just ask!