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11-23-2011, 07:57 AM   #1
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So I now have a tripod. Now what?

This probably seems like a silly question, but having only had a "serious" camera now since July, I'm still learning what I can do and how I can do it. LBA has set in and I've got some fun manual glass, and now an ME Super (heh, LBA is the beginning, CBA is next?). I've taken probably a couple thousand shots by now and am really getting a good idea of angles, (natural) lighting, exposure, aperture, shutter speed, etc. Today is my birthday, and I received a Dolica 62 (by request ). So, now what. Yes, I understand the benefit of fixed positioning, prevention of vibration, etc. But what now? I don't have any macro stuff (other than A 50 F/2.8 1:2 lens) and a set of cheap magnification filters. Other than maybe giving it a go of taking Mom's christmas card photo this year, I don't have a lot of interest in portrature.

Anyway, any suggestions/advice on tripod use, particularly for when/what shots?

Thanks

11-23-2011, 08:07 AM   #2
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Long exposures: moving water, star trails, low light static subjects.

Multiple exposures: capturing a scene with a big dynamic range, or panning for a stitched pano.

Focus traps.

Self-portraits or group shots including yourself.

Birding or other telephoto work where camera shake is a problem.
11-23-2011, 09:04 AM   #3
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Use the flash hand-held during a long exposure to "paint" with light on buildings or something.
11-23-2011, 09:18 AM   #4
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Tripods are great for blending two shots together. Expose for the sky in one and the foreground in another then blend them together, works great...try it at twilight.

11-23-2011, 09:23 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
Long exposures: moving water, star trails, low light static subjects.

Multiple exposures: capturing a scene with a big dynamic range, or panning for a stitched pano.

Focus traps.

Self-portraits or group shots including yourself.

Birding or other telephoto work where camera shake is a problem.
baro-nite pretty much hits the points. Another big excuse is just: detail. If you shoot handheld and don't use a shutter speed greater than 3x the focal length, even with SR on, camera motion becomes noticeable, and can even surpass diffraction at tight apertures. The diffraction limit on an APS-C camera is about f/9; you'll still get equally good detail to f/12 with the camera immobilized. Whether or not you're a pixel-peeper, here's a strategy for greatest detail:

* Focal length depends on subject and distance, of course.
* Aperture depends on the DOF you want. Zone-focus to fit.
* Use tripod, and remote or timer; I recommend a lens hood.

Three things this strategy does:

1) Eliminates vibration.
2) Makes you compose more carefully. Take a black cloth to throw over your head so you can compose on the LiveView screen, even in bright sunlight.
3) Makes you look serious. You're not just another snapshooter.

I like to wander around some places in twilight, where exposures longer than possible handheld are mandatory. The tripod and remote are my friends.

Last edited by RioRico; 11-23-2011 at 09:28 AM.
11-23-2011, 10:11 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jaytee Quote
Tripods are great for blending two shots together. Expose for the sky in one and the foreground in another then blend them together, works great...try it at twilight.
I always wanted to do this but I wonder how can you do that without pointing the sky to meter and then pointing the foreground to meter?
Can you explain? Thanks!

Lee
11-23-2011, 10:43 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
I always wanted to do this but I wonder how can you do that without pointing the sky to meter and then pointing the foreground to meter?
Can you explain? Thanks!
I stitch vertical (and other) panos using the free Autostitch program. I'll take a series of shots with about 1/3 area overlaps between adjacent shots, with metering appropriate for each shot. Autostitch blends the exposure levels, no problem. Example: Shooting a tall tree from its top down to my feet. If it's a wider scene, shoot columns of parallel images.

An annoyance: Autostitch does well with horizontal or matrix/array stitching, but doesn't like single-column vertical stitching. So after I've developed each source shot from RAW to JPG, I rotate the JPGs by 90 degrees for Autostitch to work on, then rotate everything back when finished.
11-23-2011, 10:45 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
I always wanted to do this but I wonder how can you do that without pointing the sky to meter and then pointing the foreground to meter?
Can you explain? Thanks!

Lee
That's what you have to do. If you have a tripod with a QR plate this is quite easy. Take the camera off the tripod, point to the sky to meter, lock in the exposure, replace camera on the tripod and release shutter. Do the same process over again while metering and locking in the exposure of the foreground. Blend/merge the two images in your favourite PP software or the darkroom. If your tripod changes position significantly while you remove and replace the camera repeatedly, it's time to get another, more robust tripod.

11-23-2011, 11:51 AM   #9
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Just set a +2 exposure for one image and a -2 exposure for the other one, without moving the camera. Or +1.5 and -1.5. Experiment to see what works best. Each image is "free" so take the same shot at a variety of exposures and blend two or three.
11-23-2011, 12:59 PM   #10
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I lost my last tripod a long time ago, but since i wasn't taking pictures I didn't really care. Just recently started again and holy crap did I miss it. Anyways this picture isn't using a tripod but it is the same idea (I was pushing the camera into a railing to make sure it didn't move).

Take a look at my gallery in my sig, I have some HDR fisheye pictures as well as some B&W star trails. I have missed my tripod dearly. Just so much you can do since it doesn't limit you in any way.
11-23-2011, 02:00 PM   #11
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To blend a landscape leave your camera on the tripod and don't move it for best results, that way you can take as many shots as you want and they will all line up. Set the ISO as low as you can and change the shutter speed rather than the f/stop so that you don't change the depth of field.Set the f/stop so that the sky looks great, your forground may look black but thats okay start shooting and slowing the shutter with each shot. The last shots will have a great foreground and a blown out sky. Pick two shots and blend...serve with a smile. Shooting manual will get this done best, if you don't normally shoot manual this is a great place to start. There's no film or developing to pay for so experiment and have fun!
11-23-2011, 04:58 PM   #12
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I should have said set your camera so that the sky looks great, for a landscape you would want the f/stop set for max. DOF.
11-23-2011, 05:08 PM   #13
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May I suggest spend the first $20 towards a remote - remove any chance of blur (when you are pressing the button).
11-23-2011, 05:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaman Quote
May I suggest spend the first $20 towards a remote - remove any chance of blur (when you are pressing the button).
2-second delay with mirror lock-up even better in that regard, no remote required.
11-23-2011, 06:25 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pezmaker Quote

Anyway, any suggestions/advice on tripod use, particularly for when/what shots?
Any time you push the shutter button, the image will be technically better if there is a tripod under the camera.
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