by J. Ramón Palacios (jrp)
a friend about this article
Long Lens Technique
you already own -or by now have decided to own- either of
the tripod brands and models shown, they don't work alone.
Tripods benefit from all the help you can give them, even
the very best, especially when dealing with long lenses.
beanbag-over-lens trick to add stability
GOOD TRIPOD LONG LENS TECHNIQUE PRACTICES
For Added Stability:
certain you have planted well your tripod legs and that
slip. If spiked the better.
you don't have to extend one or any leg sections of the
the palm of your hand on top of the barrel of a long lens
and lean on it, pressing down with the hand above, where
the tripod collar is attached.
alternative is to place a bean bag -as shown above- instead
of your hand.
weight to your tripod, either by using a tripod apron
or hanging your camera bag from it, especially if there is
ever extend the center column -if you are still carrying it-
it makes it a monopod over a tripod and very unstable.
an eyecup to the camera viewfinder and press it hard against
your skull, creating an additional point of contact for added
For Vibration Reduction:
use a cable release. If your camera can take an electronic
one, prefer it over a mechanical.
you cannot use a cable release, at least use the self-timer.
your camera has mirror lock up ("MLU") use it by
your lens has a tripod collar, use it to attach your camera-lens
setup to the tripod instead of through the camera body tripod
socket. Avoid a "front-heavy" setup.
you still have a budget after all of this, get Kirk
improved tripod collars for your long lenses. Otherwise,
in the meantime slide an empty plastic film canister in
the foot of the tripod collar and the lens barrel when feasible
(like with the popular 300mm f/4 AF-S).
vertical ("portrait") compositions with a lens
without rotating tripod collar, get an L
being a speedy convenience, their use keeps the center
of gravity of the whole setup at the center of the tripod
you don't have a bean bag or an apron to load
up additional weight
when under strong wind, just don't extend all of
the legs of
Even good tripods, when not fully extended
are at their most stable positions.
you buy a Mountaineer
Gitzo carbon fiber set of legs,
reduce weight and make it go down almost
to ground level by eliminating the center
column. Then adding
a Markins ballhead, a Markins
TB-20 or TB-30 plate (depending on our
tripod model) for vibration reduction, titanum
spikes for everlasting
on soft ground and Nikonians leg wraps. Then
if you can sit when using your tripod, do it. It not
only gives you comfort, it
can give you better, sharper images. You will also
be more relaxed to compose better.
you can open the tripod legs wider or won't be needing
to extend all of the legs extension, you will be adding
to your camera and lens. Important with all lenses, most
critical when with long guns.
you still doubt any of the above is of critical
importance, take a look at this advanced study
a not so often mentioned advantage of having a good tripod
is that one can lock a composition for careful study. If
the horizon is not at level or there is one element out
of place, or something else should be included in
the frame, you can see it and change it. If
it looks great but should be polarized or filtered, now
you can do it without changing the composition.
tripod gives you the opportunity to think more about yout
vision and the image and even give you time to calmly remember
tips to improve your photographs
of course, always, don't forget to ....
a great time
Manfrotto, Gitzo, Bogen, Vinten, Vitec, Kirk, Markins,
Wimberley and Nikonians
are registered trademarks of the respective companies
Product images courtesy of Nikonians members or the respective