Landscape photography: the point of using a tripod?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by anubis404, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. anubis404

    anubis404 New Member

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    I have notice that a lot of landscape photographers are using tripods when they shoot. What's the point of this? Tripods add a lot of weight to your backpack. When hiking or climbing up high mountains, I strain myself with 2 lenses, a light body, the necessary food, medical, and other supplies. Unless doing a long exposure, I don't see how a straighter horizon (which could be easily done in PP) is worth carrying that much metal.

    Can someone fill me in? Am I missing something?
     
  2. Silverado_13

    Silverado_13 New Member

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    Panoramas?
     
  3. anubis404

    anubis404 New Member

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    Ah, didn't think of that. If you're intending to do a panorama, I guess a tripod really would help. Then again, I don't know how to do panoramas.
     
  4. Dubious Drewski

    Dubious Drewski New Member

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    Well if you're shooting in broad daylight or with a wide aperture then you might think you don't need one. But there are plenty of reasons to use one.

    1. It slows you down. Yes, that's a good thing, in a way. You stop to set up, you actually take time to frame and compose the shot and you have time to think about what you are doing. This helps greatly with overall concept and execution of any shot. You have to ask yourself: what's my objective? To get from point A to point B really quickly? Or is it to take photographs.

    2. You can't always shoot a landscape at 1/4000th and f2.8. Sometimes you want f16, f22 or smaller for a great depth of field or you want a longer shutter speed to capture the movement of swaying grass or rolling waves.

    3. HDR. This is kind of a big one. The best way to shoot HDR is to shoot a few exposures of a scene. You could handhold it and then fit the layers together later in photoshop, but why not have it aligned right off the bat?

    I used to avoid tripods at all costs, and I still don't always use one for landscapes, but I can clearly see the benefits if you can afford to carry the weight.

    I just last week bought the Sherpa 200. Sure it's a video head, not a ballhead. But that's what I want and MAN is it smooooth and solid for being only $100. I love this thing so much. I've already ordered a macro head for it for when my 100mm f2.8 macro arrives.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009
  5. anubis404

    anubis404 New Member

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    Well hell, carrying a tripod is totally worth my images having tits :p.
     
  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental New Member

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    I would sooner lug a tripod with me and not have to use it than to leave it at home only to find I do need it.
    Some shots can only be done with a tripod - long exposures in low light. To not take a tripod with you is to exclude the possibility of doing these.
    I would be interested to know why people think it is more important to carry a spare lens or two rather than a tripod. The weight must be about the same. Personally I only ever use the one lens for landscapes - but that is just how I work.
    But if people b*tch about having to carry a tripod when they are doing landscapes you have to question their dedication to Photography.
    How would they cope using a 5x4 or a 10x8? You need a train of pack mules for those but people still manage to use them out in the wilds ;)
     
  7. Battou

    Battou New Member

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    I'd shoot more landscaps if this stupid city was not in my way. But anywho, My cheapass tripod is easy to carry, I honestly can't understand how people can complain about it period.
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    You may not notice the difference between a hand held shot and a tripod shot in a 8"x12" print, but start getting up around 16"x24", 20"x30", etc..., and the sharpness advantage is usually apparent.

    With film I always used a tripod for landscape photography. The cameras I used were bigger and heavier, and I always used as low an ISO as I could. I had to use a tripod to get the DOF I wanted and avoid camera shake.

    With digital ISO 400 looks incredibly clean, and I'm using smaller formats so I can get enough DOF with a larger aperture. I find myself hand held shooting landscapes more often than I used to, but I still think tripods are a good idea most of the time.
     
  9. Iron Flatline

    Iron Flatline Guest

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    That question pretty much sums it up. Love it!
     
  10. anubis404

    anubis404 New Member

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    If I can't get to where I need to go (say, the top of the mountain) in time for the lighting to be right because I'm being weighed down by a tripod, then I have a problem. Personally, I'd rather have the energy to hike further and take more picture of more places than take tripod pics. I understand that using a tripod is probably beneficial to the image, but apparently you don't hesitate to criticize those who choose not to carry three metal poles on their back. It seems that not everyone is open to the idea that hiking is not all about taking pictures, and maybe its not such a bad thing that people want to enjoy the scenery without feeling like a sherpa.

    The sensor of my camera body is 6MP. Things start to get a little iffy past 8X12. I never print that large anyway.
     
  11. Josh66

    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    No offense, but if you're being weighed down by a tripod and can't hike up a mountain because of it - you do have a problem, and it ain't the tripod.

    You have no business hiking anywhere if a tripod is going to weigh you down...
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  12. kundalini

    kundalini Well-Known Member

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    I know there is a joke in this thread, but I missed the punchline.
     
  13. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto New Member

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    There is if you are like me, because I can never carry enough equipment, extra lens, monopod, tripod, cable release, camera bag... snacks! :lol:
     
  14. JIP

    JIP Active Member

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    Exactly, I used to go on multi-day backpacking trips and carry a Nikon D70 plus a bronica Etrsi along with a tripod. I guess as has been said it all depends on what is important to you, a tripod is essential to high quality landscape images. I have no problem though having the hike be more important to you than good images but a tripod is not really that heavy adn all you have to do with it if you are carrying a regular backpack is out it on top and close the cover on it and move out.
     
  15. anubis404

    anubis404 New Member

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    I can tell that you're an experienced hiker.
     

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