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Lesson 5 from: How to Get Started in Nature Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

5. Tripods

Next Lesson: Exposure

Lesson Info


Let's, talk a little bit about tripods. I know this is something that a lot of you don't like to use. Like I don't want to be that type of photographer. But if you think about your shutter speed dial or your shutter speed range on your camera. Those top a third of the shutter speeds are ones that you can hand hole the bottom two third ones you need a tripod on. And so if you say I'm not going to use a tripod, I'm not that photographer. You have just ruled out two thirds of the world of photography in my mind I use a tripod all the time. And the tripod that I like to use is one that gets very, very tall. I am not as short as the picture on the left makes me look all right. This is like I seven and a half foot tripod that I will use so that I can find the perfect angle of you and that was legs can reach down below my feet to get me in that position. I also like a tripod that gets very low to the ground because sometimes I want to be very, very low to the ground. And so make sure that you...

r tripod can get there because getting loaded the ground is something that all of us have the opportunity of doing. I envy people who are seven feet tall because they've got that extra foot on everyone else on on to get that different angle of you. Now I want to warn everyone about photographing out in nature if I see you doing something or I see something amiss and I'm there with my camera, I'm going to take a picture of it, so I was at zabriskie point in death valley, very popular place with photographers, and I saw this tripod and I just said to myself, no, no, no, no, no, no and here's what I'm saying first off the center post is fully extend did congratulations, you now have a mono pod, you used to have a tripod, all right? And if you look at the size of the wall that they're shooting over, they don't need that center post extended. The only reason it's extended is for comfort level. They bought two small of tripod and now they're trying to make it comfortable when they're out shooting and has become a less stable tripod. Next up, it's noticeably unlevel you notice how it's kind of crooked it's leaning to one side that's not a good thing now this tripod has little very thin metal brace supports which prevents the tripod from getting very low to the ground which I just said was very important next we have a video head that long handle this tripod is designed for video, which means when you shoot verticals the cameras in a very awkward, unstable position that's likely to have movement when it actually shoots next the dangling strap that's going to get blown around in the wind that's not a good thing to have uh kind of site note I just don't like to have a lot of advertising I don't want people to know I'm not trying to advertise for them already I spent money with them I paid them money they should be paying me money for advertising and so I prefer very discreet straps that do not attract attention there's a crank post for the centre post on this tripod these things wear out they just don't work very well and it's better just to have a simple locking system than these little crank post they seem kind of fun and entertaining when you're in the camera store they're worthless uh except for on some of the very, very most high high end tripods and finally and maybe most importantly it's unattended where's the photographer I mean this thing is just precariously balanced there and the photographer is nowhere to be seen on dso the bad technique folk bad technique here's how I sometimes working with my tripod one of the things you'll immediately notice is that it's fairly low to the ground because I don't need to have it at very high I'm not shooting over a wall and just shooting mount rainier in the distance and I actually devised a little rope string that I could tie around my legs and I put a rock and there for support I was actually shooting time lapses all night at the time, so I needed that that camera to be in exactly the same spot for about eight hours and I wanted to make really sure that it was there and I hiked up with a very lightweight tripod, so some tripod techniques and things to think about find your camera position handheld, so when you're shooting, just take the camera off the tripod find out where you want to be and what I'll do is I will kind of roam around a little bit and then when I'm like, okay, right, right here is the spot look down at the ground and I'll look at that rock or that leave for that twig and I'll say that's where I want to be and then I go back and get my tripod and where's my spot right here and then right up here and then I'm in the right spot and so that's just a very simple way of doing it many times, you'll need to extend the lower section of your tripod first because it's going to be going into mud or it's going to be going in the water. Generally, you want to extend the largest portions first, but you want to get those lower legs out just so that you aren't getting dirt into those knuckles and connections within the tripod likes itself. Don't use the center post unless you absolutely have to any sort of wind is going to move that thing around and cause a little bit of vibration, so don't use it unless you have to make sure the legs are fully locked. It depends on how your legs work. Be aware that a lot of tripods kind of loosen up over time and figure out how to do that maintenance to keep him fully locked. The stabilization in your lenses or in your cameras in general should be turned off because these systems work by looking for movement and then moving around. And if nothing's moving, they might still move around, and that would cause a little bit of blurred. So that's something that you should turn off all the time when you're on a tripod and then settle the legs in a lot of times, people will just set the tripod down. And what you really need to do is you just kind of need to work it into the ground because there's leaves or a little bit of dirt. And you want to make sure it's nice and solid on the ground.

Class Materials

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Nature and Landscape Course Notes

Ratings and Reviews

Danette Zak

I got this course for free thru View Bug and John Greengo is an amazing teacher. He explains nature photography with a sense of ease and he really makes you want to get out there and keep trying to get THE photo, that the day you go out there may not be the right day or right time, but to keep trying and you'll get it! He also encourages you to get out there to the same places other great photographers have been and make it your own, to get your own experiences. Yes, I recommend this course and any courses he instructs, I hope to take another one of his courses in the near future!

a Creativelive Student

Very instructive! And John Greengo is a great teacher. He knows very well how to go deeply without putting you in a difficult situation. I have followed almost all of his courses, and this one is one of the best! Don't hesitate if you are a beginner or even and advanced photographer interested in Nature photography.

Vilius Senkus

Perfect class, loved it. Short, concentrated, nice examples, pasionate speaker. Just want to grab my cam and go apply new knowledges.

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