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Who needs a tripod?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Scott Merryfield, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Cool scene.

    Probably would be good to stop down the aperture some next time (rather than shooting wide open) since you're using a tripod anyway. Not too sure if it was the lens limitation, but there's a certain aberration to the image that makes it look like a relatively long lasting, slight camera shake or something (to affect an 8-sec exposure like this). Maybe there was some kind of long lasting vibration in the cavern and the tripod setup was not sturdy/steady enough for it. OR maybe it's a residual camera shake from when you set it up, especially if the tripod setup is not very sturdy. Did you use the camera's timer to delay the start of the shot (to help give it time to settle from your setup), especially if it's not a very sturdy tripod?

    RE: shopping for a new tripod, yeah, get something good, if you want good results. The one at that ebay link does not look very good. *ANY* tripod that relies on those center column braces -- the ones that link the center column to the legs at their middle sections -- aren't gonna be all that sturdy. In fact, the use/extension of the center column will usually make the setup less sturdy and should generally be avoided if/whenever possible. Also, look for something w/ legs that use bigger diameters for rigidity/sturdiness -- go for carbon fiber, not skinny/flimsy legs, if you need something lighter weight. Get something that has a hook at the bottom of the center column to hang some weights (like a heavy camera bag or backpack) to help it stay steady after setup.

    And as Steve suggested, get separate heads to use for stills vs video, if you want best results. Most good tripods (for stills) will be available as just the legs w/ interchangeable heads added separately. Go for that instead of a video tripod (w/ panning head built-in).

    Also, work on your tripod (and camera) setup skills/technique as good pods w/ problematic actual setup will still yield subpar results. You'll probably need better technique, especially in more difficult situations where you might not have much time to set up and just get one or two shots off.

    If you skimp too much on the tripod, you'll just end up regretting it later, especially if you think you'll get more serious into photography.

    Hope that helps...

    _Man_
     
  2. Buzz Foster

    Buzz Foster Second Unit

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    In fact, I had intended to use the timer, since there is no remote trigger available for the S3, but I had the limitation of large crowds (it was labor Day). Adding ten seconds to each shot was going to be difficult, if not outright impossible. Every time a crowd came through, it was full of people with flash cameras going nuts, and children of indulgent parents who had bought miner's hats with bright LED flashlights on them, who were not shy about shining them everywhere (especially in other people's faces). Not to mention the people who had no clue what I was doing and would walk in front of the camera assuming no flash = no shot.

    So the effect you are seeing is probably from my finger pushing the button and releasing initially. However, this was my first attempt, and I need to go outdoors at night where it is dark (not hard out here) and play with things like the ISO setting to see if I can get a tighter f-stop. I do plan to go back sometime when it is not busy (January is supposed to be pretty dead), and try again when I can have more time to set up and take shots.

    BTW, I really appreciate all the input on tripods. My original one was a real cheapie, and I have known very little on the differences between them.
     
  3. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Hey Scott,

    Nice images. I spent a weekend on Mackinac a couple weeks ago. I recognize that hotel in the last photo; in fact, we had a heavy rain/wind storm that knocked down a huge tree directly in front of that hotel. Horse carriages had to ride up and back down that driveway to circumvent the fallen tree.

    Jon

    Here are a couple from my Mackinac trip:

    [​IMG]">

    [url=
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Thanks, John. The hotel is the Island House, and is where we stay whenever we go to Mackinac Island. It is directly across from the marina. We really like the place.

    Were your photos taken down near Mission Point Resort? I really like the composition of the first photo -- although I would try straightening the horizon to see how that looks, too. It's odd, though, to see that area with no people.
     
  5. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hi, Jon.

    Like Scott, I also like the composition in that 1st photo and really enjoyed the scene thru it. However, I would probably crop it some to a wider AR, losing some of the bottom so that the nearest set of chairs are placed mostly in the bottom 1/2 of the frame rather than centered vertically - and maybe also cut out that one extra chair on the far right although I normally prefer more breathing room for something like this (and might've tried shooting a bit wider and/or used a slightly different POV to get that).

    Not too sure about the horizon issue that Scott mentioned though (at least for the 1st photo). Seems like you probably *did* try to straighten the horizon (for that 1st photo), but probably chose a different part of the horizon than what Scott's thinking. Looks like you lined up the top of the distant land masses rather than the waters or the nearer visible coast line. That kind of thing seems to happen whenever the horizon has multiple layers of shapes/objects, and I guess you just have to choose what's most apparent (or expected) and go from there.

    OTOH, the horizon issue in the 2nd photo is complicated by the fact that the 2 up-front-and-centered chairs require the opposite slant to look right. The 2 main characteristics of that photo are at odds w/ each in this respect. In such cases, it's probably best not to go for that kind of shot (or maybe choose a different set of chairs that might work better).

    Thanks for sharing -- and my apologies if you weren't looking for additional comments about cropping, etc. Often hard to know what kinds of comments (if any) people expect for posted photos.

    _Man_
     
  6. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    I appreciate any and all input, always looking to improve.

    Yep, that scene is right in front of Mission Point (where we stayed - pretty cool despite the large mouse - or small rat - I saw scurrying down the hallway. :)

    Man is dead-on about the horizon; I did straighten it, using the far edge of the water as my guide. I see how it looks a bit skewed, though.

    I'm usually pretty comfortable with composition, but I did struggle a bit with this image; no crop seemed to work just right.

    There were no people in the area because it was just after a wicked rain and wind storm and was a bit chilly. On the ride to the island, we had six-foot waves. The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed, etc. Though it was 11:00 a.m., ours was the last boat to the island that day.

    As for the second photo, again the horizon has been straightened. I don't mind the chairs being a bit off-kilter at all.

    Aside from the composition, upon second look, I don't like the sky in the first shot. It was weird, but not quite that weird. Here's an edit:

    [url=
     
  7. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hi, again, Jon.

    Sorry to be picky,

    And thanks again for sharing...

    _Man_
     
  8. Bill Buklis

    Bill Buklis Supporting Actor

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    I would put in a little more grass at the bottom, but not much more and definitely keep the rest of the image at the right. If you want to crop anything at the right, it would just be at that last chair, but no more. That shot just begs to be a wide open landscape shot. With all that grass at the bottom it turns into a close up (of the grass!). I pretty much agree with Man on this one, but perhaps not so much grass at the bottom. Or maybe we're saying the same thing.

    Actually I like how the clouds look in that first image. It has some interesting formations. Strangely though, you lose some of it in the first crop. Keep the shot open.
     
  9. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Jon,

    I took the liberty of applying the suggested crop for you. Hope that's ok w/ you. Also, I'm posting it w/ forum settings that are a bit more friendly for IE6 users -- everyone can click on the image to bring up the full size version.


    It was hard to tell (in forum format w/ IE6) exactly how much/little cropping would work w/ all the scrolling I had to do before, but yeah, Bill is correct that only a small amount needed to be added back to the bottom.

    And as I mentioned earlier, hard to tell exactly what contrast level works best due to calibration issues, but the original level seems fine enough to me (and probably also to Bill) -- your later adjusted one seems a bit too bright and washed out. But again, it's hard to know given calibration issues.

    _Man_
     
  10. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Man, I really like your crop. Yeah, I was trying to stay within the 'normal' aspect ratio with a possible print in mind. I intensely dislike the square-ish look; much prefer your 'OAR' version. Much more suited to landscapes.

    I still think my original sky looks over-cooked.

    Scott - it seems I've totally hijacked your thread. Sorry.

    Looking at the rest of your photos, I see you made it to Tahquamenon Falls, the Soo locks and Whitefish Point. Cool settings, all. And I gotta ask about those bear shots - he looks as if he's in the wild. Yes? No?

    Jon
     
  11. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Nice crop job, Man. I think that works best of all the ones so far.

    Jon, no problem on hijacking the thread. I enjoy seeing what others are doing.

    The bear shots were taken at the Oswald Bear Ranch, between Newberry and Tahquamenon Falls. They rescue black bears and keep them in large natural habitats. It was a nice side trip. You can learn more here: www.oswaldsbearranch.com/
     
  12. Bill Buklis

    Bill Buklis Supporting Actor

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    Yep, that's exactly what I had in mind, Man. It looks perfect now. I guess we were on the same page.

    I suppose if you ever go back you can try to take the same shot with a different looking sky. But, I don't see anything wrong with it at the moment.
     
  13. Crosbycott

    Crosbycott Auditioning

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    Tripods are required when photographing fireworks because of camera shake. Fireworks photography uses long shutter speeds 1+ seconds to capture the light trails of the explosions. Even the best image stabilization technology will have problems matching your hand movements for that long.
     

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