Love or hate them, tripods are essential to your landscape photography gear.
As landscape photographers, we want to create pin-sharp images from the front to the back of our compositions.
A tripod is a critical element that promotes end-to-end sharpness.
So, how can a landscape photographer make the most of a tripod?
1 Straighten Your Shot With Levels
An annoying process is straightening your shot after shooting. This adds up to wasted time in post-production. It is a good idea to level your tripod when taking a photo.
This will save you the repetitiveness of levelling the horizon later on.
Consider the balance of the tripod itself.
The tripod should be steady to get a clear and sharp image.
Checking all the spirit levels on the tripod will help to ensure balance and stability in the tripod.
2 Keep Your Hands Off The Tripod
Holding onto the tripod will result in camera shake or blurry images.
A slight vibration from your body onto the tripod could result in an unwanted loss of image sharpness.
If a strong wind blows or a gust hits, only then should you get a grip on your gear.
Otherwise, keep your hands off the tripod for ultimate stability, especially when shooting at slow shutter speeds.
3 Use a Lens Column For Your Long Lenses
Many photographers attach the tripod plate to the camera when shooting with a telephoto-type lens. This is nonsensical.
Instead, use a lens column to attach the tripod plate to the lens.
A lens column will balance the tripod/camera setup and improve your shot’s stability.
4 Weigh The Tripod Down
Again, having a stable, well-balanced tripod is essential when shooting landscapes. Use a bungee cable connecting the bottom of your tripod centre column to a weight placed on the ground.
For example, the weighted item could be a sandbag or your photo bag.
The weight will assist in stabilising the tripod by pulling it towards the ground. This will also be useful when shooting in inclement weather.
5 Leave The Centre Column of The Tripod Down
As I have mentioned throughout this post, a tripod is about the balance and stability of your camera and lens combination.
Extending the centre column of a tripod does not assist with balance or stability.
Instead, extend the tripod height from the more stable legs of the tripod.
I use a tripod most time when photographing landscapes and will recommend the same to any landscape photographer.
Carrying a tripod can become a trade-off between cumbersome gear and photographic efficiency.
Tripods allow for more creativity through balance and stability.
You may not always need a tripod when photographing landscapes, but you will be glad to have one when necessary.
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