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Thread: The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

  1. #1
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    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...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Soil layers.jpg  

  2. #2
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: Top 10(+) tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    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.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  3. #3

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    Re: The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    Quote Originally Posted by Heroique View Post
    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...
    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

  4. #4
    DannL's Avatar
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    Re: The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    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.

  5. #5
    Analog Photographer Kimberly Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    I only have two tips for tripod usage.

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

  6. #6
    Les
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    Re: The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    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

  7. #7
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    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...

  8. #8
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    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.

  9. #9

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    Re: The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    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...

  10. #10

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    Re: The finest tips for "Excellent tripod technique"

    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...


    1 standing on same rocks as one leg of the tripod...



    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

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