Sun 11-Nov-12 05:08 PM | edited Sun 11-Nov-12 05:11 PM by nrothschild
Glad to help .
Here is a good example of where I always use a monopod, even though the shutter speeds are generally 1/2000s or higher so I'm not using this to get a sharp shot I could not get otherwise.
This event proceeds for about 20 minutes or so per session. I've done this for about 9 years now. The main challenge is to maintain a precise focus point on the oncoming horse or rider. If I miss I focus on the crowd. It is a very fast pan that needs to be done very precisely.
In principle I could use a tripod but I do not want to carry one all day just for this 20 minutes 3 times a day. During that 20 minutes I am getting important shots every 20 seconds or so - it is fairly continuous action plus things to shoot in between the 3 second windows that happen every 20-25 seconds. I could probably get away with a tripod but I do not feel comfortable in the very busy and public area I shoot from. And I have a very precise two square foot of dirt that gives me the vantage point I need.
The images in my gallery now were mostly shot at 300mm (except for one) with an f/2.8, usually wide open. However, I usually shoot a 70-200 which would, in principle, be very easy to hand hold. Because of the shutter speeds I do not use VR (and hopefully remember to turn it off ).
The monopod is simply easier and more "fun" to use, allowing me to concentrate on the action for this extended period of time. And it vastly improves my focus accuracy because of the more accurate and smoother panning.
At the same venue I often shoot half hour long (non-sport) performances. In that case the ability to keep (usually) my 70-200 trained on the performance to catch fleeting instants of interest is invaluable. Plus sometimes my shutter speeds can be somewhat marginal although I would generally be using VR in that case. Late in the day I am down to 1/10s, often at 200mm (or even 300mm).