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View Full Version : The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"



Heroique
14-Apr-2014, 11:31
I'll offer one tip and I know your additional tips will bring this list up to 10 and more.

1. Make sure your tripod is actually settled on the surface it's planted on. This might be a greater concern among landscapers like myself in regions of deep-damp-loose humus (see image below) for example, in mature forests of firs, hemlocks, and redwoods. Often I'll push my spiked Ries down, down, down as far as I think it'll go to produce the stability I need; but all too often, my images suggest it was still sinking/settling at shutter click. (Most of the time, just an extra push on each leg and final push on the head would have arrested the tripod; other times, one leg needs to go much deeper than the other two.) Also, just adding the camera plus lens, adjusting the head, applying camera movements, attaching film holders, and removing dark slides can loosen the tripod's stability in these conditions, so I try to stay mindful about these actions too even as my thoughts turn to composition, accessories, and metering. Let's just say that from set-up to take-down, I've learned to keep "tripod" on my mind to some degree, no matter what task is at hand.

On to tips #2, #3, #4... :D

Brian C. Miller
14-Apr-2014, 11:49
Oh, I'm not supposed to use balloons in a hurricane? I thought there was something fishy about my technique...

The actual main problem I have is setting up the tripod in sand and trying to do macro photography. Next time, I'm bringing flattened cans or something to allow more stability.

For your problem, I recommend a bag of rocks suspended beneath the tripod, and give the tripod a good push down. The tripod may be moving a bit because it's coming back up from the ground. Or don't worry about all of this "no trace" malarkey and pour a slab of Quikrete, then lightly bury it when you're done.

Darin Boville
14-Apr-2014, 12:57
I'll offer one tip – and I know your additional tips will bring this list up to 10 and more.

1. Make sure your tripod is actually settled on the surface it's planted on. This might be a greater concern among landscapers like myself in regions of deep-damp-loose humus (see image below) – for example, in mature forests of firs, hemlocks, and redwoods. Often I'll push my spiked Ries down, down, down – as far as I think it'll go – to produce the stability I need; but all too often, my images suggest it was still sinking/settling at shutter click. (Most of the time, just an extra push on each leg and final push on the head would have arrested the tripod; other times, one leg needs to go much deeper than the other two.) Also, just adding the camera plus lens, adjusting the head, applying camera movements, attaching film holders, and removing dark slides can loosen the tripod's stability in these conditions, so I try to stay mindful about these actions too – even as my thoughts turn to composition, accessories, and metering. Let's just say that from set-up to take-down, I've learned to keep "tripod" on my mind to some degree, no matter what task is at hand.

On to tips #2, #3, #4... :D

That's a good one. I've done that many times. I'll give the tripod a little weight and all seems solid. But a leg must in fact be caught on a stick or stone or something. And then magically the stick and stone vanish and the slow sinking begins.

A similar feeling occurs when I forget to tighten the tripod leg lock well enough. Slow sinking, sometimes occurring while I watch at a distance (mote common with Gitzo style locks).

So, Tip #2, check those leg locks. Tip #3, check that head lock, too.

Tip #5 (which I just did a few days ago). Head has larger screw but mounted to an Arca-Swiss clamp. I use the clamps for almost everything. Then comes camera with no rail--thinking I'll just take off the clamp and use the screw directly. Wrong size. Sadness. So make sure the mount fits!

--Darin

DannL
14-Apr-2014, 19:20
Here's one that caught me off guard. When operating a camera under windy conditions, insure your tripods legs are spread sufficiently to lessen the possibility that your outfit learns to fly. This happened to my half-plate and tripod shortly after attaching the focusing cloth on a gusty day. I turned my back on her to retrieve a plate holder, and then she went airborne. Of course the camera exploded when it hit the ground. Lesson learned. \\ Driving a tent stake and strapping the tripod to it might also be a solution.

Kimberly Anderson
14-Apr-2014, 19:43
I only have two tips for tripod usage.

#1. Buy one.
#2. Use it.

Leszek Vogt
14-Apr-2014, 21:12
Not sure if this would apply as a "universal notion", but I always point one of the legs towards the intended photo-taking vista. It helps preventing any front-heavy incidents.

Les

Heroique
15-Apr-2014, 11:26
Some very practical suggestions above – and yes, "screw size management" is a personal skill I've had to improve.

Before hitting the field, I try always to confirm that I have the correct camera mounting screw. I mean the screw on the head for the camera (not the screw on the tripod for the head). My light 4x5 Tachi takes 1/4" and my heavy 4x5 Toyo takes 3/8". Sometimes I forget to switch-out the screws on my Ries J250 head. And that's a field trip killer! Typical of Ries, those screws are really heavy duty so I'd prefer not to have both in my field kit when I bring one camera. Maybe an emergency bushing is in my future...

David A. Goldfarb
15-Apr-2014, 11:39
Keep center column extension to a minimum.

On my Technika--and this should work with any folding field camera that has a tripod socket on the body and another on the bed--I have a long Arca-Swiss style mounting plate on the bed aligned with a short one on the body, oriented so that I can slide the camera in a long clamp from one plate to the other to keep it balanced with different amounts of extension, or in a pinch I can use the two plates as a macro focusing rail, setting the focus on the camera and sliding the whole camera in clamp to focus.

Oh, and try not to kick the tripod after setting up the shot.

djdister
15-Apr-2014, 11:53
I haven't seen this tip mentioned yet, maybe because it's too obvious to mention. But I'll mention it anyway - level the tripod head BEFORE placing the camera on the tripod head, and then check the camera for level after placing it on the tripod. Your mileage may vary...

Regular Rod
15-Apr-2014, 11:54
If you have the tripod erected on rocks in a river, it is best not to stand on the same rocks that the tripod is standing on if you want to avoid shake...

http://u1.ipernity.com/39/68/29/28786829.d311c3d5.jpg
1 standing on same rocks as one leg of the tripod...


http://u1.ipernity.com/40/78/91/28857891.27726546.jpg
2 reshoot a few days later, (turning a nuisance into a chance to choose a better format) this time stood NOT on the same rocks as the tripod...

RR

Heroique
15-Apr-2014, 13:54
2nd reshoot a few days later...

I too have returned to scenes where I can atone for sins of tripod vibration.

BTW, your "Don't share rocks w/ your tripod legs" reminds me of another humus-covered-forest-floor lesson:

Namely, since deep humus is so springy, don't even think of taking a step near your tripod during exposure. Don't even shift your weight, take a breath, or bat an eyelash. Stay still. Stay very, very still. Better, if you're still enough, the breeze won't see you and try to sneeze on your shot.

ROL
15-Apr-2014, 15:59
Often I'll push my spiked Ries down, down, down – as far as I think it'll go – to produce the stability I need; but all too often, my images suggest it was still sinking/settling at shutter click. (Most of the time, just an extra push on each leg and final push on the head would have arrested the tripod; other times, one leg needs to go much deeper than the other two.)

Tip 1(a). Don't use spikes. Why disturb landscapes anymore than necessary? I've never used mine. That way, I'll never be able to nick your pic by using your tripod holes.



Try leaning your camera bag against one leg. That will help a lot. Dampens vibration as well and even better than hanging something from the center column.

…until you brush by the camera bag while tripping the shutter, or so hard that it brings down the whole show. Tip #4(a): I don't do that (anymore).



If you have the tripod erected on rocks in a river, it is best not to stand on the same rocks that the tripod is standing on if you want to avoid shake...

http://u1.ipernity.com/39/68/29/28786829.d311c3d5.jpg
1 standing on same rocks as one leg of the tripod...


http://u1.ipernity.com/40/78/91/28857891.27726546.jpg
2 reshoot a few days later, (turning a nuisance into a chance to choose a better format) this time stood NOT on the same rocks as the tripod...

RR

I'm re-quoting all of RR's post because I want everyone to once again experience the joy of slow computer draws on non optical fiber delivery systems from unnecessarily high resolution postings. Tip #8(a) subsection (b): Please don't post unnecessarily high resolution or sized pix. This is not a gallery. It is not courteous to those of us with normal DSL speed. Please reduce the size of, or link to, your images.



Tip #10: Use all three legs.

Regular Rod
15-Apr-2014, 17:22
I'm re-quoting all of RR's post because I want everyone to once again experience the joy of slow computer draws on non optical fiber delivery systems from unnecessarily high resolution postings. Tip #8(a) subsection (b): Please don't post unnecessarily high resolution or sized pix. This is not a gallery. It is not courteous to those of us with normal DSL speed. Please reduce the size of, or link to, your images.


Hmmm... I've seen it before with other folk's getting "the treatment" on here, but I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've fallen foul of a member of this forum's self-appointed thought police force. It is difficult to believe that you experience slower connections than mine. Here within Derbyshire's Peak District there is no optical fibre or cable connection available. As for whether the resolution is or is not necessary, I'll be the judge of that thank you very much. How else would you be able to see the differences between the two images if they were not big enough to show it. BTW your observation about this place not being a gallery is rather stating the obvious. Last time I looked, a gallery was a place with real walls that folks put actual pictures on... The internet is not like that is it?

How about you start a poll to ascertain how long it takes for those two images to load for the majority of users on here?

RR

Mark Stahlke
15-Apr-2014, 17:31
Make sure the tripod head is locked down before inserting the film holder.

Heroique
15-Apr-2014, 18:56
Make sure the tripod head is locked down before inserting the film holder.

A lot of these tripod tips keep reminding me of related ones.

Mark's tip is another example.

In an image rich place, after one shot is taken, I often carry my tripod+camera+lens ensemble over my shoulder to another nearby spot. But before I pick-up the tripod and move on, I'll check – make that double-check – that the head is still locked down. And still securely screwed to the tripod below and camera above. All this checking is now second nature to me and takes merely 10 seconds. An ounce of prevention, poor Richard says, is worth a pound of cure.