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Why Tripods

Using a tripod.

When it comes to photographic equipment, my feeling is the tripod, your camera support, should always be used by the nature photographer when doing nature photography. Scenic places in California natural landscape photography provide nature photographers plenty of time for creative visions. In this nature photography article, I am not speaking of wildlife photographers who are in a wide variety of photo situations. The stability provided by this one piece of equipment, tripod, makes a big difference in technique giving the nature photographer sharp nature photos. You find better photos returning from the lab clear, sharper and crisp.

As I began making high quality images and nature photography to provide images to print in commercial advertising, photo editors said, we need new images - clear, colorful imagery. Buyers view image quality with high power loupes. I found it's highly competitive providing photography in advertising and publications. There is no room for second best as advertising photographer's are shooting higher quality images available to the business world. If there wasn't money in creation of a professional photography collection of images and commercial licensing of photography, competition would not be online or this scenic California photographer. I make a variety of nature images for my Southern California photo library stock photo agency.

Passion for sharper images?

Better start holding the camera steady. Do you need to photograph in natural areas, scenic locations in available light? Hold the camera steady for those longer shutter speeds and those razor sharp nature images. Want amazing color in your nature images? Your selection of a slower film speed and using filters is positive. You need a steady camera platform. Using longer focal length lenses handheld? Using slower lens speed f5.6 forcing slower shutter speed? These and many other things contribute to lower contrast, dull, colorless un-sharp images.

Depth of field.

When you are trying to achieve maximum depth of field in photographs, you close down the aperture to the higher numbers like f16.0, f22.0. This allows less light, which causes you to use a slower shutter speed to make correct exposure. Granted, better nature scenic landscape images with beautiful depth of field are made with shorter focal length lenses like 20-35mm or ultra wide lenses, but not all. It is up to the individual photographer and their abilities to find what creative visions will communicate nature's sights. I have used longer lenses 200mm for scenic images of mountains in California. Spectacular nature images were available because I knew how to get a high quality image of that mountain scenery down on film by ALWAYS using my trusty tripod to get the best nature images.

Nature Photography 101: USE a Tripod for Sharp Images.

The trade between slowing down and working at a natural pace with the added weight and minor inconvenience is worth it. Your landscape images and nature photography will improve so much with this one piece of stabilizing equipment, you'll become a major pain showing all those nice nature images on your online nature photographer sites!

What do I look for in the purchase?

The first thing to consider is the functionality of the tripod. Does the tripod have interchangeable heads? Can you change the tripod head rather than buying a different tripod?

Most tripods in the photographic market today are sold in two pieces: Legs and Head. You want legs with a wide range of flexibility for using the tripod in many different shooting situations. Getting down low along the ground to photograph nature macro images of flowers or flower and garden photography close-up. Wide angle nature landscape photography close to the ground? For nature landscape photography, how high do you need the camera? Landscape photography requires stability. Do the legs adjust independently? They better or you'll miss some great nature photographs. And creative nature photography with two legs in the water near the edge of a canyon creek and one on a rock? Good strong adjustment knobs are a must. Camera stability plays an important role in making a sharp photographic print. Scenic images of beautiful landscapes and natural scenery which display fine nature detail sell in the photography market. "nature detail" is NO camera movement.

The Head.

I personally use the Pan and Tilt style head on my tripods. I use the BOGEN - Model #3047. This is the type providing adjustment for forward and back, another side to side, and one for up and down. It also has a Quick Release plate and levels to fine tune the horizon level. I use the Bogen model for my 35mm Nikon camera's and my 4x5 large format photography. There is the Ball Type head, which is a ball that rotates in a socket and has the ability to rotate 360 degrees with the turn of a single lever. The ball type heads cost more money as some are quite fancy designs and many are worth the extra money. I think the ball heads are better suited for larger glass the longer telephoto lenses.

The Legs.

Here I want solid and flexible. I again use the BOGEN - Model #3021. This is a good set of legs, tripod for landscape photography and very popular with landscape photographers being priced right for purchasing. Flexibility, solid build, are good features. The thing I can see they need to work on is reasonable weight. Bogen 3021 legs have been the standard for many professional photographer's and continue to be in the field working more than any other tripod legs, they work well and I would try a set. I do seasonal spring and fall color nature photography close-up backgrounds for the nature photo coverage. This (my) Bogen 3021 gets me right down inside the smallest wildflowers as well as sweeping grand landscapes.

One thing I will not do is buy a tripod based on the "other guy has this kind so it must be the way." That's just plain stupid. Know what it is you need, your personal criteria, then go find something that fits this need. Look around, find affordable prices and purchase based on your own criteria. Sure you can take recommendations from people, decide based on your own personal needs not the seller and selling or marketing departments with major league advertising.

For nature photography, list features you personally need in a tripod. List how you use this piece of equipment. List the type (small or large format) your style, subjects in pictures, nature photography collection of nature photos you enjoy creating. With this list in hand come online, search out different brands of tripods by equipment manufactures and match your pricing needs to what the web sites are offering. Do this for as many companies as you can find to cover "the bases," and you will find a great source. Keep checking your list matching items you have placed on it. You will find the best product for your photographic needs. Remember, if weight is a consideration have it on that list, at the top.

I want you to know I use the model and brand I use because it works for me. If a stick was what I was using for a tripod to get clear, sharp images I would say so. I chose what I use based on fact. When I find a better model online I will list. California photographer is completely satisfied with the choice I made for my tripods and camera equipment, all of it. You should be too!

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Nature photography Copyright © 2004 Dale Proctor, All Rights Reserved. No form of reproduction, copying or saving digital image files, prints, print making or the alteration or manipulation of digital image files is permitted. Unauthorized use of these digital images will be prosecuted to the full extent of federal copyright laws. Questions about picture graphics, photographic art photography or stock photos of California Pictures Southern California photographer Dale Proctor