Tripods

 

Travel Photography

 

Lesson Info

Tripods

Bringing tripods kind of that evil little thing do we want to bring that along with us or not? Well, it depends on where you are and what type of pictures you want to take. The main advantage with tripods is to shoot pictures under low light conditions that you cannot hand hold but it is also useful in many other situations so this is the treasury building in petra jordan and this is a little clip from my fundamentals class that just really illustrates either how important or not important a tripod is all right, so when I'm here at petra I want to try to get the best shot possible and I'm lining things up and I'm just gonna do one clean straight shot one here and now I'm going to get a little technical thing that starts setting my eyes oh my shutter speeds in my apertures now I want to set my eyes so it one hundred because that's the best quality that my camera has on it so I'm going to set that I s o one hundred for my aperture I'm going to set it at f eleven because that's for mei li...

n's is at its sharpest I don't need a lot of depth of field I'm not trying to do shallow depth of field that's the sharpest aperture on several of my lenses if you don't know why I tell more about it in my camera classes as far as a shutter speed goes, it would be very convenient to work at around one hundred twenty fifth of a second because I can hand hold the camera at one hundred twenty fifth of a second or faster, so this would be my dream set up as faras the camera goes, but when I take a look at my light meter in this case it's indicating that it is more than two stops under exposed so I need to start making some compromises and I don't like to compromise some from time to time. And so the compromise in this case is the tripod. When I bring out the tripod, I can use any shutter speed possible, in which case it put the camera on the tripod and I just dial the shutter speed until the light meter evens out and in this particular case it was one second now this picture was taken at about eight o'clock in the morning before the sun had actually hit the building, but after the sun had risen so it's daytime and I'm shooting with a tripod and I'm doing it because I want to get the best settings possible to get the sharpest picture possible, so I've taken every precaution to get the best picture possible now for those of you who have been to the treasury building in petra, you know it's a long walk in there and you might think twice in the morning when you go as to whether you want to carry your tripod all the way down there in the middle of the day where it's going to be a hundred degrees to shoot pictures because you're gonna have to carry it around all days. You're hiking around all these trails and so let's, just imagine you didn't bring your tripod and what sort of compromises he would have to make in order to get this picture. First thing is, is you need a faster shutter speed because you need a hand, hold the camera, okay, so what we've done is we've gone up to a sixteenth of a second, and if we see here we have gone one, two, three, four, five, six, we've lost six stops of light that we need to get back through the aperture in the so what would I do? Well, I would probably open up that aperture to four point out because I need to let in a lot more like now my lens is not as sharp at four as it is eleven, but I can't do anything because I'm hand holding the camera, I need the light gathering ability, I would then go over to the esso and I would raise that up a couple of stops now I could go toe isolate hundred. But one of the things I feel comfortable with is going down to a thirtieth of a second, leaning up against the other wall and taking several shots there's a very good chance that one of those will be pretty sharp and so I'm going to get the shot. I don't have to bring a tripod to petra to get a basic shot if I take pride in my photography and I really want to do things the best as possible, I'm going to bring a tripod and so I bring a tripod with me during the days during all sorts of times when it doesn't seem like that's kind of strange. Why is he using a tripod now? That's, stupid he's a stupid photographer, I might be just trying to do something a little different, so one of the things you definitely need to be very clear of when you're travelling is what our safe shutter speeds for hand holding the camera, because a lot of times people will be traveling without tripods, so the standard rule of thumb that is not exactly a hundred percent accurate, but it's pretty close is one over the focal length of the lance, and so if you have a fifty millimeter lands, you should be shooting at one fiftieth of a second or faster, okay, so let's go back to that basic kit. Zoom lens set up eighteen to fifty five. You should probably be around a fiftieth of a second faster, fifty five to fifty around two fifty or faster, depending on where you are zoomed out. Now you can do your own testing to see how steady or unsteady ur and holding your cameras. One of the things that has been a huge help, and I highly recommend any lens that has some sort of stabilization or vibration reduction. These give you a great ability to hand hold your camera at much lower shutter speeds that you would normally get. So if you have a two hundred millimeter lands and you, for some reason, have to set one sixteenth of a second, you're likely to end up with blurry pictures. It's, too slow of shutter for that focal length. But if you have stabilisation, there's, a darn good chance that you're going to be able to get sharp pictures with it, and so it's something I would leave on for pretty much all your handheld photography. One of the key things you need to remember, though, is that if you have a tripod, you need to turn off your stabilization when you put it on a tripod, so using the tripods going to help you out under low light conditions, forgetting the sharpest pictures possible. But it's also going to help out when you want depth of field here's a great tourist destination if you come to seattle my town all right this is the second germiest tourist destination in the world second only to the blarney stone okay so this is a gun wall everybody puts their gun here and maybe you want to get up close like she and take pictures of this gum on the wall now let's suppose you're shooting a picture like this we have an option of shooting we're shooting here with a twenty four millimeter lands and let's say you want really shallow depth of field okay that's kind of an interesting shot what about mohr depth of field well let's say you're there you say I want more depth of field how much depth of field can I get well you could stop down to f four at one twenty fifth of a second because you're using a twenty four millimeter lands one twenty fifth is about the slowest you could expect a handhold the shot now you could be saying well john just lean into the wall you khun slew shooted a slower shutter speed but this is one place you don't want to be leaning into the wall trust me but if you bring a tripod look at how much more depth of field we can get by shooting at f twenty two but having a shutter speed of one point three seconds so let's take a look at all three of these on the top we have our person who brought the tripod that one step the field on the bottom we have our shallow depth of field and in the middle we have are lazy photographer who I didn't bring a tripod but want step the field and so if you like shots with massive depth of field with everything and focus and there's a lot of travel photography that is everything in focus type photography that's where the tripod is really going to help out so there's a lot of aspects to look for on tripods what makes a good tripod I like a tripod that khun get down really low to the ground because I like shooting in unusual points of view and I like a tripod that gets up as high as possible so that I can work sticking the legs into sand and in rivers and on steps and hillsides and so forth but that also means it's a very big tripod and so we have to have some compromises when it comes to our travel tripods now when you set up your tripod if this is the way it looks when you're shooting pictures you're doing it wrong okay it's not the way you're supposed to do it I see a lot of people that buy tripods that are too small that extend the center post all the way up to the top and that makes for an unstable platform for the camera it's going to blow around in the wind when the mere hits the top of the mere box it's going to cause a vibration and you're going to get slightly blurry pictures. And so you have to be very careful with these cheap tripods, and you're only using that center post as a last resort. So let's, talk about some of the cheap tripods that you're going to find out there in general, these are the less than one hundred dollars, tripods that you're going to find too thin of legs. They're just going to be unstable. Yes, technically, they could hold the camera, but they're just not stable enough. Far too many of them are too short. Think long and hard before a two foot high tripod is something that's going to satisfy you. I know I had one that was maybe about three feet, and I was looking through it like this for about a half an hour and my back super sore. And so you want to get something that you like working with. Some of them are made out of really cheap material and they have these reinforcing arms because the legs air so flimsy and, if anything, breaks on one of these. Don't even think about fixing it just rode away. This could be a disposable tripod. It's. Why? I don't like these cheap tripods now. The exception to the chief tripods are some of the tabletop tripods and there's. A lot of great choices out there and tabletop tripods. So if you are hiking, you confined these ones that wrap around tree branches or railings and you get the camera to some pretty unusual fund positions in a good tip for anyone who uses a tabletop tripod but doesn't want to get a bottom of the floor shot is that you can take a tabletop tripod. You're gonna do something radical with it. This is what you're gonna do. You're gonna turn it sideways and you gonna find a wall now you gotta hold on to the camera and you're going toe just put force on the wall and hold the camera there and it will be steady so that you can get a high level shot from a tripod using the wall and a little bit of force so that's, the way you get an eye level shot with a tabletop tripod. Now, as faras tripods out there, there are dozens of manufacturers, the two that I like our man photo and get so man photo used to be known as bogan, so you'll see that name swapped around from time to time. Now manfro tripods I kind of think of is your blue collar worker their hard work and honest, good, basic, not too fancy tripods and I've had a number of man photos, and what I like about them is that they're well built and they have replaceable parts so that if something breaks, you could just go down to the camera store you can order apart and you can fix it in it's nice. The slightly more refined model is they get so tripod and these are the ones that I'm using these days they have a little bit faster sistemas faras opening and closing the legs gets those are almost always carbon fiber. The man photos sometimes have aluminum, some of them are carbon fiber, they have a variety of models. The big difference is is that the man photo ones have these kind of thumb locks and they do kind of pinch if you close them in on your fingers in straps and close kind of get caught on them from time to time. The more streamlined system of the get sos is preferred. I like those systems and I've seen it done by knock off manufacturers not done as well gets really does to a good job, but they are very pricey tripods the nice thing about these is that you can buy a good tripod and you can keep it for many, many, many years the tripod technology is constantly evolving not nearly as fast as the cameras and lenses though on top of the tripod legs you need to stick ahead and there's a lot of different types of heads that you can get out there for different types of work for video and panoramic and so forth for most photographers it's simple the best choices that most simple choice in this case the ball had ball head's going to be small it's not going to have a lot of levers it doesn't have a lot of things that get caught on everything else that you're carrying around with you and they make these in a variety of different sizes and I know some people are going to have very specific questions about do you recommend this tripod? And so here is my tripod recommendations and I have two tripods I'm gonna recommend for you and then going param and we're going to talk about the difference on so the first one the one that I like is the get so gt fifteen forty four tea with a really write stuff b h thirty ball head all right this is the ultimate travel tripod in my opinion this is there is nothing better than this in my opinion for a compromise for traveling all right the slick sprint pro too is a much less expensive tripod but it's not too bad okay, it comes with a bald head and let's compare some of the statistics they both get to exactly the same height a little over five feet sixty three inches the folded length is a little bit smaller because and I actually have this tripod right here you'll notice that the head is down here and so if I open this up it's extended like it should it be so retracted back down here? And so this is how it is under the normal shooting conditions and so it kind of reverses for storage but it fits like this for general shooting. Alright, next is the weight. The actual weight of this is fifty percent more than it is for the other tripod and so that's a downside, but the advantage of the extra weight means it's built better. The construction is better in the maximum load that you can put on it, it can handle much more weight. All right, so here is the real difference. You guys ready for the cost? Ok? Gonna cost about a thousand bucks were about a hundred bucks, and so it depends on how serious you are about your travel, the durability. This is a tripod that I've had for several years and I expect to have probably for a decade more probably maybe twenty years I don't know depends on how much technology changes the other slick sprint pro, too, is something that I would be happy if it survived the trip at one hundred dollars, and this is a compromise. This tripod is not as tall as I would like. You can see how fast I can open up the tripod, aiken, unlock all the legs at once extended and, you know, I might just give it a little height if I need to work with it. And so most of the time, my cameras right here in a very convenient place to work with, I wish that it was this tall, but there is no tripod that's that tall that's that small and so you have to have a bit of a compromise. This is the ideal tripod for travel, and you saw how I could fit it folded up right here in the side of my pack, and so this is one that I'm really happy with. That is what people were asking in the chat rooms, which one is actually in his bag right now. So that is the gt. And so if I'm going to get really technical with you, this is the fifteen forty one that is an older model that got discontinued, and I had to hack saw the center post so that the head would fit in properly. Get so figured this all out and they made a new version called the fifteen forty forty. I would like to say that I inspired their change, but I don't think I did. Now I know that there's going to be questions on this, and I'm going to get right in and answered right now. And that is what about model pods? Did you see something new that was coming so let's? Just get this out of the way right now. So model pods is a single leg of the tripod that you can mount your camera. And the reason that you want to use a mono pod is you want to support heavy equipment. And so if you watch a football game or a soccer game, you're going to see a bunch of photographers with really big, heavy lenses on a model pot because they want to be very portable and supported. Now, technically, they does steady the camera to some degree, but people are always trying to squeeze as much out. They say, well, kit, a mono pod basically be like a tripod. Well, I decided to send things through my own test. All right, so what I did is I did a handheld test and a model pod test, how steady can I hold a camera? And here's, what I found out with handheld I was good at a sixtieth of a second and then at thirty third fifteenth, I was kind of hearing they're some of my shirts were sharp in some work, and once I got to an eighth of a second, I could not do it steady, and this is without image stabilization of any sort. Okay, so you can figure that it now. I took the camera, put it on a model pot, and these are my results. It helped out a little bit of an eighth of a second, but it really didn't help out very much. Ok now, just to confirm one leg versus three legs, how good is a tripod? Ok, so these results should not be too surprising to you here. And if you consider the size and weight of a model pop versus a tripod, tripod has a much, much, better value. Yes, it is more weight, much better value. Now, having said that, a model pod is useful in samaria. I'm going to be doing a tour up in alaska on a boat tripods don't do any good on boats, folks, both they're constantly moving, but I'm gonna have a three hundred millimeter lands and I'm gonna be looking for whales and I'm gonna be sitting out there waiting for whales and the cameras on the model pod in the ready position and I can reposition it at any moment very useful there and so it may work for your type of trip if you're going to africa on safari and you're going to be sitting in a vehicle and you're going to be waiting there for the will the beast across the river and you want to have your camera ready and it's got an open vehicle the mono pod can sit right there on your cedar on the floor and not take up too much room so it might be a very good choice in that situation as well. I don't usually travel with a model pod unless it fits the situation that I'm going to and this might be a good time to kick it over I will be going through filters and accessories next to kind of close out this section but let's go with cameras, lenses and tripods alright cameras, lenses in tripods all right a question from sam cocks and also gym in vermont is it cost effective too? Rent a lens for a trip for example cannon's new two hundred four hundred I asked lens that is twelve thousand dollars item which would be nice to have on a trip but you might not want to spend twelve thousand dollars right on the lens right eye I like owning equipment I don't like running equipment but sometimes I can't afford what I really need to have, and so whether it's borrowing from borrow lenses, does great stuff, there's lots of rental companies out there now, sometimes it's it's the best choice because you go to a location that's kind of exotic, you're goingto go on safari. It doesn't make logical sense to buy twelve thousand dollars lands for your personal photographs for a trip. You do need to be aware of how long you're going to be gone and all the costs involved, because in some cases, it might be better to go on. If you have a vibrant photographic community, go on and just buy something used. If you have the money, take it on your trip, come back and sell it because a lot of times, if it's, within a short period of time, you can sell it for the same amount you bought it. For now, you do have to go through the hassle of buying and selling, so there is a hassle to it, but that is an option, because sometimes the rental houses might charge you seventy five dollars a day, and if you're gone for two weeks, start adding those numbers up that is ends up being a lot of money, but for shorter trips for special things. Renting and trying out a piece of equipment is the best way to know if it's something that you would like to buy in the long run. But it's. Definitely something to be aware ofthe. And it depends on the type of trip.

Class Description

Travel photography is a wonderfully rewarding experience, but travel itself is a whirlwind in the best of situations. The mix of new landscapes, cultures, and logistical challenges can be difficult to navigate. Being an effective travel photographer requires careful planning and shoot preparation, but also the flexibility and openness of mind to take unforgettable photos.


Join pro photographer John Greengo for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to research and plan a trip around great photography

  • How to tell what gear you’ll need, and how to travel with it safely

  • Shooting tips and some of John’s favorite locations

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