Why use a Tripod

Tripods are like the foundation for landscape photography. To start this article I do want to say that there are some photographers who shoot landscape without a tripod and and say it doesn’t really make much difference either way. This is my case for a tripod and why I think they are an integral to landscape photography. Landscape photography has somewhat of a technical foundation that the artist builds upon and creates wonderful images; to ensure the best clarity with images, small apertures are used, and the lowest ISO (both of these we will talk about later in greater detail in later posts).


My Primary Tripod

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Because of the lower ISOs you generally will use very slow shutter speeds. I read that a landscape photographer’s shutter speeds typically range from 2 seconds to about 1/30th of a second. These speeds are too slow to hand hold your camera and ensure consistently quality photos every time you trip the shutter. A good rule of thumb is that whatever the focal length of your lens, your shutter speed should not fall below that. So if you are using a 85mm lens your lens should not hand hold your camera if your shutter speed falls below 1/80, and you should avoid ever hand holding your camera with a shutter speed less than 1/50. Your Tripod will act as a memory device if used. There are many times I walk around and find a composition and start waiting for light then, I see another spot I walk over and see what is looks like through my camera. I then suppose the scene looked better from the other spot; Walking back I many times loose track of exactly where the spot was. A tripod will the exact point and even the height from which I was shooting.

Especially as a new photographer staring out taking a landscape images there is a lot to think about the shutter speed, mirror lock up, SRC (shutter release cable), the aperture, were you watching the histogram? All of things now can still be a lot for me. I will snap a photo and then realize that I never adjusted the ISO back down for 1600 when I was taking indoor pictures for a family gathering. This has happened multiple times.


Thanks to Rei Pok for this Image

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A tripod allows to set up a composition and then take a step back, breathe, and then compose yourself. I find photographing landscape to be very relaxing and above everything else you should be enjoying yourself when you out. Don’t forget to enjoy, yourself.


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