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Camera Accessories – Tripods

Got a camera and a bag/back pack to carry it in. You’re on your way towards your adventure in photography. Some of the pictures you’ve taken seem a little blurred or out of focus maybe because of shaky hands, I suffer from this, or for other reasons. How to fix this?

The Tripod

In its simplest form, a tripod is a stand with 3 legs on which you can mount your camera. I use a relatively cheap tripod, I think I paid around $20 for it many years ago. It’s nothing fancy, but it suits my needs. Each leg is telescoping for an initial height of about 12″ to around 48″ with the legs fully extended. In addition to the adjustable legs, there is a center adjustment for a total height just over 5′. Perfect for my elevation needs. My tripod also allow for 360 degree swivel and about 120 degrees of tilt. And of course, each adjustment point has its own locking mechanism. There is also an option to rotate the camera 90 degrees, but in truth, I seldom use this feature.

Then there are times when a conventional tripod is just too large. Welcome the table top tripod. Basically the same as the type mentioned above with this exception, vertical height. I have one that I use that allows me to have the camera about 4″ above the table top or other surface, with a maximum height of 12″.

A tripod has more applications than I could write about, but I’ll try to list a few. Portrait shots, ever try to hold a camera steady while everyone is shifting around as you try to compose your shot? Still scene’s, nature, sky, and video capture. I do a lot of video capture from my living room which over looks my yard. In most seasons, I’ve got all kinds of critters running here or there, coming or going, and for the birds, I’ve got nice bird bath.

The only downside to a tripod is that they are not very portable, which brings me to my topic.

The Monopod

The monopod, similar to a tripod except that it has only 1 leg and most are adjustable through various heights. While I don’t own one, I have used a friends on several occasions to film sporting events or other activities where I need a little more flexibility. Another use for a monopod is with large and heavy telephoto lenses. In this example, most of the very large lenses have an adapter for use with a monopod or a tripod, but I find the monopod better suited for use in this instance.

Monopods are lightweight and compact and are easily carried in a camera bag or back pack making them suitable for many trips or outings. Some monopods come with a cell phone mount allowing for a selfie or other times when a cell phone camera might be just the thing for those quick shots.

Conclusion

A few years ago, there was a very large brush fire not too far from property. I used 2 cameras in 2 different locations to film the progress of the fire. I was able to capture about 4 hours of video between the two cameras with some stunning footage. My intent was to have a video record should I need it for insurance purposes. Luckily, this fire passed close to my property but I sustained no damage.

As I mentioned before, I have an assortment of critters in my yard. I have some very good quality stills and video footage of my furry and feathered friends which would not be possible if I had to stand with camera in hand. Along that line, I’m venturing into the world of night vision video capture and once again, my trusty old tripod will come in handy.

In the future, I be posting reviews on tripods, accessories and other photography related material.

Greg

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