Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective and experience. You make many excellent points.
When you talk about the church in Munich and all of the tourists milling about, do you find that tripods are often prohibited or otherwise problematic when there are crowds?
I was thinking about the tripod scenarios today as I visited Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. This is a place that Henry Ford built as a tribute to Thomas Edison (primarily) and to other great inventors. The homes, labs, and shops of people like Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, and Noah Webster are there. Most of what I shot was more snapshot type of thing and it was a bright sunny day so I was thinking that it certainly wasn't worth it to bring a tripod and I'm glad I wasn't hauling it around. Especially in many of those small homes we went through.
But just before we left, there was a mini-waterfall and right on the ledge of the waterfall were some ducks. I put on my 70-300MM lens and had to extend it fully to 300MM to get the shot that I wanted (and was actually wishing I had 400MM). I also was kind of leaning over a railing a bit to get the proper angle and wasn't as stable as I wanted to be, especially with a 300MM lens. I was thinking a lot about a tripod at that point, but also thinking I couldn't have "reached over" the railing if I had the tripod.
The net of that picture taking sequence is I shot it at f7.1 at 1/1250 with ISO 800. I am very happy with the pictures, actually, but I imagine I would have throttled down the ISO a bit and been happy with 1/500 or less if I had a tripod (assuming I could have gotten an adequate angle).
I appreciate all of the commentary and will continue to read and reflect on any additional thoughts that other Nikonians care to share. I think I have to start accepting the fact that I have to slow down, take more time, etc., to really take my photography to the next level.
I know a year ago I was in Italy and hired a private guide for a night tour of Rome with my Manfrotto tripod and D7000. I set up my camera to automatically bracket, set up the shot, hit my remote shutter release, and then watched for a few minutes as the camera took three different shots at three different exposures. It was nice. But then again, my sole purpose of this tour was photography and I prepped my significant other that the whole purpose of the private guide was so that I could spend 15 minutes per stop setting up my shots, my tripod, etc., to get the pictures I wanted without feeling rushed. It did work well.
I very much appreciate the generosity of the Nikonians in sharing their experiences. Thank you so much. I will continue to accept and look forward to additional comments.