Food for thought: A response from Bryan Peterson on his use of tripods...

jwbryson1

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Tripods are common and used frequently in low light conditions or when long exposure times are needed. But with the VR technology on many of today's newer lenses, the use of tripods is often not necessary. So when Bryan Peterson posted a series of images on Facebook today showing the implosion of a building in daylight hours, and mentioned that he didn't use his tripod, I asked him why uses the tripod so often even when it seems unnecessary. His response follows. I thought it was interesting and so I share it with you here.

Jeff-In this instance I would have simply wished that the same composition could be seen in each of these images but the horizon line goes up and down because I am 'wobbly' so to speak in my stance. As far as all of those other times, a tripod by its nature, slows most of us down, and in this slowing down process, THOUGHT and VISION will often have an opportunity to 'suggest' the best possible composition, and thus eliminate the need to do any post-processing cropping, which often happens when one shoots from the 'hip'. I would NOT use a tripod for most sports, but rather a monopod and when shooting on the street, as long as I am at shutter speeds of a 1/125 second or faster, the tripod is not called upon either, assuming I am using my 24-85mm or 17-35mm, which is a fair assumption most of the time while working the 'streets'.

EDIT: He just added the following to his response:

Jeff-I didn't mean to hit send as I wanted to add one final thought-I am a huge van of slow shutter speeds and the motion effects that result (and to be clear, I am NOT speaking just about waterfalls-that's a given. Rather I am talking about moving traffic and moving people, even something like hands knitting, hands playing a piano, hands chopping vegetables, and of course things like star trails, the moonrise, calming the crashing surf, making 'ghosts', and of course making people disappear such as a two to four minute exposure at Grand Central Station in NY. I might add that a variable ND 2-8 stop is an essential part of my photographic life.
 

runnah

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$unfrozenCaveLawyer_1040.jpg

Use a tripod people!
 

ronlane

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JW, thanks for sharing this today. I am currently reading his understanding exposure book and noticed that the exercises that he has you do call for you to put the camera on the tripod.
 

Big Mike

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I completely agree. It's not just the stable support of a tripod that will help to improve our photos, but the act of using a tripod pretty much forces us to put more thought into our compositions. You don't usually just 'point & shoot' when you're shooting on a tripod...but it's all too easy to do just that, when not shooting on a tripod.

As with many other 'bad habits', this has gotten worse with the propagation of digital photography. Exposures are basically free, so people tend to spend less thought on them.

As a good exercise, pretend that each exposure you take, will cost you $20.
 

kathyt

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I hate tripods. I used mine recently when I had the 300mm lens for a couple of weeks, but I still kept taking it off and hand holding. They make me feel restricted. I can't sit still that long, and I would rather move around.
 

tirediron

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ronlane

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You know what they say, "Old habits die hard." Can you have your second shooter release some of those behind the scene photos?
 

Big Mike

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amolitor

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Unsharpness is always a sum of sources of unsharpness.

A better lens, a better sensor, a tripod, etc (appropriately used) will always increase sharpness. Always. It may be by negligible amounts, and it may not matter because you have "enough" but it will always make the result sharper.

People tend to think of these things as having thresholds: I don't need to use a tripod because I am shooting at a high shutter speed. I don't need a better lens because my sensor isn't that great. And so on.

Anyways, that's a thought for the day, maybe.
 

TimothyJinx

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I've been using a tripod more and more and I have noticed a definite increase in sharpness of my images. Part of that is I am a shaky old man. So even though I dislike the cumbersomeness of dragging a tripod around, I'm usually glad I had it once I review my photos.

I hadn't considered the idea that we more carefully compose our shots when using a tripod. That's a good point.
 

pgriz

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The tripod slows me down. A lot. And that's a good thing. As Big Mike noted, a tripod forces you to concentrate more on the composition, subject placement, and the little details such as checking the frame for the background, the foreground and the focus placement. Granted, I'm not shooting fast-moving action, but in the areas where I do shoot, the tripod easily increases the number of keepers that I get. I have produced training photo sequences and videos for my business, and having a consistent point-of-view is important in that the viewer focuses on the changes in the subject area, rather than having to look at the entire photo to see what changed.
 

Big Mike

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Unsharpness is always a sum of sources of unsharpness.

A better lens, a better sensor, a tripod, etc (appropriately used) will always increase sharpness. Always. It may be by negligible amounts, and it may not matter because you have "enough" but it will always make the result sharper.

People tend to think of these things as having thresholds: I don't need to use a tripod because I am shooting at a high shutter speed. I don't need a better lens because my sensor isn't that great. And so on.

Anyways, that's a thought for the day, maybe.
True that every little bit helps and it's the 'sum of sources'.

The way I see it, the best way to increase sharpness is to minimize movement (tripod etc)....or to at least have that option. So many people complain about 'kit' lenses, but probably few of them shoot at F8 while on a good tripod. So then, those same people spend $1000 on 'sharper' lenses and get a little bit more sharpness to their photos...probably not as much as if they has switched from hand holding to tripod shooting.
 

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