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Thread: How do you set up your tripod?

  1. #21

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    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    Jimi,

    I use (and recommend) a viewing frame as an aid to finding composition and camera position without having to set up and look into the ground glass.

    I have a Zone VI viewing filter and like it for its small size, but you can easily make something that will work just fine. All you need is a card with a rectangular cut-out in it in the 4x5 aspect ratio. I used to carry a folded 3x5 card with a hole cut in it in my shirt pocket. Not only will the viewing frame help with finding camera position; after a while, you'll be able to use the distance from viewing filter to eye to estimate the focal length of the lens you'll need.

    It's a heck of a lot easier to walk around with the viewing frame and work on viewpoints, composition and possibilities than using the camera. Then, once you've found your spot and height, setting up the tripod is easy.

    Many here use rather large cameras and tripods with no center column or head for stability reasons. Without those, all the adjustment and table positioning is in the legs. I use a lightweight camera and prefer a tripod with both head and center column. I often don't worry about getting the tripod itself level, I just level with the tripod head once the camera is in the right spot in space.

    Interestingly, I don't spend a lot of time working at eye level at all. Often, I'm sitting on the ground or in an uncomfortable knee-bend. Other times, I'm searching for rocks and logs I can carry over to my location to put under the tripod legs (and me) to get more height.

    Best,

    Doremus

  2. #22

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    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    Learned a new tripod trick a few weeks ago that might help against vibration using timed speeds under extreme conditions (not for everyday use, but might help under very extreme situations)...

    I have been shooting a 4X5 Graflex Super D RB daily that produces a "bump" when mirror flips up right before shutter opens... When on even a sturdy tripod, you can feel and see a slight jump, and film tests proved it... Been shooting it with long lenses and have been doing shots with critical edges, so I wanted to use a smaller pod in the field instead of one of my large wooden MP tripods that resist this vibration, but wanted to use a smaller Majestic that's lighter and has the gear head... But this still allowed the vibration blur... I had added an oak tripod mounting block on bottom of camera that also provides better transfer of support, more ridges to wrap hands around when holding, and provision for a guitar strap to screw into the sides... When on the tripod, my plan was to try "holding" the camera while still being supported... Then I noticed something interesting...

    When my palms were pressed along the center of gravity on the camera and were pressing some little pressure downwards in what felt like the strongest center point in the tripod, the mirror flop dissappeared INTO the tripod!!! Felt totally dampened now...

    I was thinking this might help view cameras under high wind/vibration conditions also if a disc plate was between camera and tripod/head that allowed hands to push downwards to dampen external vibration when needed... A disc of plywood, hardwood, metal etc with a tripod screw for the camera, and a threaded insert for head mounting allows some place to press downwards for this effect...

    I noticed even if my camera was aiming up or down at 45, I still can feel where the strong part of the mounting is, so pressed in that direction...

    So not for everyday use, but for a last chance situation, it might help... It might take some practice, but put camera on pod and feel around for what seems it's strongest point to try pressing down as a test...

    Sorry if the post is long...

    Steve K

  3. #23
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    I give my tripod a bag of meth-amphetamines and tell it to drop it off with a friend of mine. Then I give my tripod the address of the cop that lives down the block...

    Hey, it's been a long quarantine...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  4. #24

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    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    I give my tripod a bag of meth-amphetamines and tell it to drop it off with a friend of mine. Then I give my tripod the address of the cop that lives down the block...

    Hey, it's been a long quarantine...
    I'll send a SWAT team and EMT'S over before the fat lady sings, OK??? ;-)

    Stay safe!!!

    Steve K

  5. #25

    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    I continually try to get higher than eye level work but I always fail to have enough desire to bring a stool / ladder thing so at 5'7 I am short. I am not even sure exactly how high my tripod extends.

  6. #26

    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    Other times, I'm searching for rocks and logs I can carry over to my location to put under the tripod legs (and me) to get more height.
    Very useful thread! A kinda/sorta related question: given a lens with a generous IC and a camera with reasonable movements, once you run out of tripod height and front rise, what's a reasonable angle of elevation for the camera bed if you still want a fairly perpendicular perspective?

    Or to give you a concrete scenario: while I'm well over 6'6" in my hiking boots, my Induro tripod and Sinar pan/tilt head puts my Sinar Norma GG right at eye level. Unfortunately, it's rare that the understory vegetation doesn't get in the way of what I'm trying to catch higher in the canopy. Certainly I'm not looking for "architectural" precision--not many parallel lines in my neck of the woods--but I'd like to square things off as much as possible.

  7. #27
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    Nothing special. I just hold the tripod at approximate height, drop the legs, then tighten. With uneven terrain, there's a little more fiddling involved...but I try to get the tripod as level as possible, before attaching the camera.

  8. #28

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    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by CreationBear View Post
    Very useful thread! A kinda/sorta related question: given a lens with a generous IC and a camera with reasonable movements, once you run out of tripod height and front rise, what's a reasonable angle of elevation for the camera bed if you still want a fairly perpendicular perspective?

    Or to give you a concrete scenario: while I'm well over 6'6" in my hiking boots, my Induro tripod and Sinar pan/tilt head puts my Sinar Norma GG right at eye level. Unfortunately, it's rare that the understory vegetation doesn't get in the way of what I'm trying to catch higher in the canopy. Certainly I'm not looking for "architectural" precision--not many parallel lines in my neck of the woods--but I'd like to square things off as much as possible.
    Some thoughts:

    First, you can get more effective front rise by pointing the camera up and then tilting back and front standard to perpendicular again, assuming, of course, that you have enough image circle.

    As far as getting a view over the top of "understory vegetation," the only thing that will really help is to get the camera higher.

    If you run out of image circle and need to point the camera up, you'll get some convergence. How much is acceptable is up to you. The ground glass gives you the information you need to decide. When I'm in this situation, I get as much front rise as possible given the image circle I have (check for vignetting by looking back through the lens at taking aperture and making sure you can see the bottom corners) and then point the camera in that configuration to get the framing I want.

    Another alternative is to use a shorter lens, get everything squared and make sure the composition you want is in the upper part of the frame. Then crop away the unwanted foreground/bottom part of the image later when printing. This works well with large film if you really need to keep the vertical lines parallel.

    Best,

    Doremus

  9. #29
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    Ever try hanging a weight from the bottom of the tripod center post? Anything from a bag of stones or sand, a jug of water . . .or even the camera bag can work. some tripods already have a hook down there.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  10. #30

    Re: How do you set up your tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    First, you can get more effective front rise by pointing the camera up and then tilting back and front standard to perpendicular again, assuming, of course, that you have enough image circle.
    Excellent, thanks! I'll have to do some experiments to see what kind of "angle of attack" I can get away with--I find I'm using a 240/9 G-Claron a lot these days, so the ~300mm IC ought to give me a bit of leeway, especially in these wild-and-wooly environs.

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