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    How to Keep away from Blurry Long Exposure Pictures with Correct Tripod Setup


    A tripod is a crucial piece of gear for all photographers, however much more so for individuals who are hooked on taking pictures blurry long exposure images on the blue hour like myself (I primarily shoot waterfront cityscapes). These photographs require exposures lasting for minutes with a use of impartial density (ND) filter. Subsequently, a sturdy tripod is completely important to maintain photographs sharp.

    Avoid Long Exposure Photographers’ Worst Nightmare by Setting Your Tripod Low

    A sturdy tripod is a should for lengthy publicity images, as there is no such thing as a likelihood in any respect of taking pictures sharp photographs by hand-holding a digital camera for minutes.

    Get a Greatest Tripod Inside Your Finances

    This text just isn’t your final tripod shopping for information, however let me point out just a few transient pointers first.

    Initially, not like your digital camera physique, a tripod isn’t one thing you’ll improve fairly often. In reality, an excellent one might final a lifetime, so it’s advisable to get the absolute best tripod inside your finances. Listed below are just a few different issues to look out for when selecting your tripod.

    Load Capacity:

    The utmost load capability of your tripod needs to be at the very least twice or ideally 3 times the utmost weight of your digital camera physique and largest lens mixed. For instance, my trusty Manfrotto MT190CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber Tripod helps as much as 7kg, which is greater than ample for my Nikon D610 (850g) and Nikon 18-35mm (f/3.5-4.5) (385g) mixed (1.25kg).

    Tripod Head:

    Your tripod head additionally has a most load capability, and it ought to at the very least match that of your tripod. In case your tripod helps as much as 7kg, however the head solely helps as much as 5kg, then the load capability of the whole tripod system is to be 5kg, as the utmost load comes from the weaker element. In your info, I personal the SIRUI K-20X Ballhead, which helps a whopping 25kg.

    Tripod Weight:

    First rate tripods are generally made from aluminum or carbon fiber. Each are equally good, however carbon fiber tripods are lighter but extra proof against vibration (therefore they’re additionally pricier, too). My Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Tripod weighs 1.6kg (3.5 lbs.) whereas its aluminum counterpart the Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 weighs 2kg (4.5 lbs.), with all the opposite specs being just about an identical).

    Tripod Leg Sections:

    Whereas 3-section legs present a extra steady platform, tripods with 4-section legs have a shorter closed (folded up for transportation) size and make it simpler to pack right into a suitcase when touring. For instance, closed size for my 3-section leg Manfrotto MT190CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber Tripod is 61 cm (24 inches), however its 4-section counterpart the Manfrotto MT190CXPRO4 is simply 52 cm (20.5 inches).

    For those who ask me, I like to recommend selecting nothing however 3-section tripod legs. I personally gained’t compromise stability for comfort. That stated, my tripod nonetheless matches into my check-in baggage (after taking out the middle column). Earlier than buying, I even examined it by bringing my baggage to the digital camera store!

    Tall Isn’t All the time Cool

    Having an excellent tripod is one factor, however utilizing it right manner is one other. I see manner too many photographers totally extending tripod legs even when it’s not crucial. The rule of thumb is that the upper the tripod legs are prolonged, the much less steady it will get, leaving extra susceptible to excessive winds and undermining your likelihood of taking sharp photographs. The picture under (at Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, with an altitude of 552m) is an efficient instance.

    Victoria peak - Avoid Long Exposure Photographers’ Worst Nightmare by Setting Your Tripod Low

    To take blur-free photographs right here, I saved the tripod low and put the lens via the bars, relatively than totally extending the tripod legs and heart column to shoot from above the railing.

    As an alternative of totally extending the tripod legs (and even the middle column, which is an enormous NO-NO) to place the digital camera above the railing, I put the lens via the bars and saved the tripod as little as wanted to reduce the chance of vibration.

    Really, I realized this from a earlier mistake. I shot at this actual location the earlier yr however screwed up the chance by establishing the tripod too tall (over the railing by extending the middle column) in excessive winds, and not one of the photographs got here out sharp.

    Center column - Avoid Long Exposure Photographers’ Worst Nightmare by Setting Your Tripod Low

    Extending the middle column in excessive winds or when taking pictures lengthy publicity images is a recipe for a catastrophe. It’s not possible that you just’ll have the ability to seize sharp photographs this manner.

    Long Exposure Photographers’ Worst Nightmare

    Let’s say you’re taking pictures waterfront cityscapes at blue hour with a couple of minutes of lengthy publicity at a tourist-centric space (locations like Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, The Bund in Shanghai, and so on.) in your vacation. It could be your once-in-a-lifetime journey, and the climate is evident and ideal.

    Such locations are at all times crowded particularly at sundown and nightfall occasions with herds of vacationers flocking to take snaps, selfies, and groupies. Extending all of the tripod legs inevitably takes extra space on the bottom, which has an enormous threat of somebody by chance kicking it throughout lengthy publicity and ruining your probably epic shot. That is lengthy publicity photographers’ worst nightmare (and occurred to me as soon as).

    Crowded spot - Avoid Long Exposure Photographers’ Worst Nightmare by Setting Your Tripod Low

    At a crowded images location like this (Merlion Park in Singapore), hold your tripod setup as little as attainable in order that it takes much less area on the bottom and reduces the chance of somebody by chance kicking your tripod legs.

    Tripod Options

    To keep away from such a nightmare, I’m additionally utilizing a kind of a tripod various that helps stabilize my digital camera setup. A clamp tripod just like the Manfrotto 035 Super Clamp without Stud turns out to be useful at locations with excessive winds or at crowded metropolis taking pictures places the place you’re feeling nervous about somebody by chance kicking your tripod legs.

    It’s not that you should use a clamp tripod wherever you need, because it wants a railing or one thing that it may be clamped onto. However the place attainable, this setup could be rock strong (with a load capability of 15kg) and the ensuing lengthy publicity photographs are appreciably sharper than these shot utilizing an everyday tripod.

    Super clamp in use - Avoid Long Exposure Photographers’ Worst Nightmare by Setting Your Tripod Low

    A Tremendous Clamp is sort of a sport changer, it’s small and powerful.

    Set up clamp - Avoid Long Exposure Photographers’ Worst Nightmare by Setting Your Tripod Low

    To mount a DSLR on a Tremendous Clamp, first, plug a separately-sold Manfrotto 208HEX 3/8-Inch Camera Mounting Platform Adapter (or a less expensive various Manfrotto 037 Reversible Short Stud) right into a Tremendous Clamp socket and safe it with the double lock system. Then mount a tripod head with DSLR on the mounting platform adapter, identical to you do along with your common tripod.


    I hope the following tips enable you keep away from making the identical errors I did. Don’t blindly comply with the mantra that claims, “Prolong your tripod and place the viewfinder at your eye stage” (you’ve in all probability heard about that earlier than!).

    There’s nothing unsuitable with establishing your tripod low and bending down. This will increase your likelihood of capturing sharp lengthy publicity photographs in excessive winds and in addition prevents your tripod legs from getting by chance kicked.

    When you have some other suggestions or experiences to share, please achieve this within the feedback under.

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