Exposed! Five Reasons to Leave the Tripod at Home.

In landscape photography nobody likes using a tripod. Why bother? On our photo workshops students groan when it’s time to pull out tripods.

In this edition of Exposed! we offer five reasons to leave your tripod at home (and one reason to bring them.)

Here are FIVE reasons to leave tripods behind when shooting landscapes:

1. They’re cumbersome.
Yes they are! It’s like carrying a small bazooka wherever you go.

2. They take too much time!
They DO take time, especially when racing to capture the beauty of the sunset.

tripod for better landscape photos

Winter Landscapes… with a tripod

3. They can be wobbly.
The cheap/affordable ones offer little benefit to your landscape photo. Why bother?

4. Good ones are expensive!
Yes they are. Why would you spend $300-1000 on a boring tool that you don’t want to bring?!

5. They don’t allow for  superlight travel.
If you want to travel light and fast, a tripod is not for you!

Tripods are as exciting as a trip through the airport security at Christmas.

Soooo, why do award winning, accomplished landscape photographers always use them? There’s only one reason. It’s simple:
1. Tripods help create sharp, crisp, landscape photos.

Traditional landscape photos use large depths of field in subdued lighting conditions. That means shutter speeds are generally slow. Without a tripod you cannot hold a camera very stable… Stabilizers and vibration reducers will help to a certain degree in handheld circumstances but nothing beats a solid, strong, capable tripod and remote release. Nothing.

I was at a University Art Gallery earlier this month for an alumni/student/staff show. A street landscape called – beckoning me for a closer look. It had many strong elements but as I approached I noticed NOTHING was sharp. The foundation of the photo – the beautiful stone buildings – were all slightly blurred, just a bit. The photographer had not deemed it necessary to use a tripod. I quickly lost all interest and walked away.

The small details have the ability to ruin an otherwise fine photo.

blurry photo

Hand Held Snap Shot – notice the blurred numbers. Yuck!

In my Watershed collection (and any fine landscape work) I do not leave home without a tripod. Over many years I’ve followed the creek in the Watershed series 14 km though some uninviting terrain. My biggest camera/tripod weighs 30 pounds… but I always carry a solid tripod when shooting landscapes. Always…

If you are shooting for the finest landscape photos, use a tripod.

Slow down.
Take your tripod.
Create beautiful landscape photos.