long exposures?


TPF Noob!
Apr 17, 2006
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queensland, australia
HI all, yesterday i had a very experienced pro photographer come to my home for a little crash course on my camera... it was fantastic and i learnt much more!! hooray!! as well, he taught me a few little things including getting the effect of silky/cotton-wool waves/water, by doing a long exposure - 30sec... Obviously he said i would need a tripod but then last night i read in a photog mag that an alternative to the tripod is a small bag filled with rice/sand and to balance the camera into this?..... sounds very weird to me...but wondered if any of you have tried/heard of this?? Will be getting a tripod soonish but keen to try this technique NOW!! xx PS. he also suggested buying a tripod around the $100aus. mark..... any suggestions for a good brand or things to look for in the tripod world?? xx thanks:heart:
Bean bags are kind of famous tripod alternative. I haven't used them myself but I have heard about them many times. Try google. I did and found this page on Camerapedia.org. I used to resist using a tripod but after getting one any shot I can take with it I will. Funny thing if your out in public with a tripod a lot people automatically assume you are a professional.
Anything which renders the camera motionless and absorbs outside vibration will work.

I've used rocks, fenceposts, car hoods, vicegrips with a 1/4 X 20 screw in the end, and a number of other things. A tripod is awesome in that you are always ASSURED of having a stable platform.

As a beginner however I would suggest that you save up for a ggood tripod and begin with a good monopod,

My $0.02, YMMV.

Not only do I shoot photography, I also target shoot. Sandbags and as mentioned above, anything to immobilize the camera will work.
This is where I would recommend either going to a sporting goods store, or even e-bay and looking up shooters bean bag. They are typically made with cordura nylon, plastic pellets, and can come in a variety of sizes AND weights. You may want to look into that direction.
I actually never thought of using a sand bag even though long range rifle shooters use them all the time at the range. Only deficit they have is not being able to adjust the height. Anything that is stationary could be used but I would couple it with a delayed or remote shutter.
They even make bean bags with a camera mount screw built right in. [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009UTQ3/102-3871734-9168949?v=glance&n=502394"]See Here[/ame]

A regular bean bag can be really helpful to position/support the lens while the camera sits on something flat.

As mentioned, a remote release is helpful when shooting with slow shutter speeds. Or you can just use the self timer...anything that allows you to fire the camera without toughing it.
Bean bags are hard to find these days. Take a sock fill it the foot part about 2/3 full of bean or dried rice. You want it empty enough to mold to the camera lens. Take a rubber band and at the point where the sock switches to the leg part wrap the rubber band around very tight.. then fold the leg over the foot and you have a nice soft bean bag. Support the lens on it and sit or hold the camera body while making a picture. I have sat them on cars for as long as an hour (weather permitting).

I have two red ones (a pair of sock bags as i were) I keep one in the studio and one in the car in the glove box.
Soocom1 said:
Not only do I shoot photography, I also target shoot.
Cool, I do also. Nobody wants to believe that large parts of the skill sets crossover.

I picked up a very nice tripod off of Ebay for 25 bucks, shipped. Definetly look there, but only buy from sellers that have feedback of 98% or higher.
If you are into long exposures. Look into getting a remote release for you camera too. Deppending on your camera it could be an inexpensive cable release, or an electronic release.

I would also suggest a sturdy tripod. Not just any cheap ole tripod. You don't want a huge heavy monster to lug around. But you also don't want one so skimpy that a light breeze will cause the camera to shake.

If possible maybe a trip into town to a photo store with a few examples. Then if the prices are too high for your comfort. Come back home and check ebay for the same item. New at lower prices or even used.

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