I’ve noticed in many of my introduction to DSLR photography workshops that many beginner level photographers start thinking about their next lens purchase before considering what I think is the second most important piece of photo gear, the first being the actual camera. Never underestimate the value of a good, pro-level tripod and ball head for optimal results in nature and landscape photography. I use both an older Bogen 3021 and a newer carbon fiber Giottos tripod for just about 90% of my work with nature and landscape photography. I also use a Kirk ball head and L-brackets as well as the Canon cable release. The Kirk head has served me well for over 10 years now.
By using a stable platform and tripod I am able to do so much more in the creative zones with my photography. I often prefer the slower shutter speeds and higher quality raw files inherent to low ISO settings when shooting in low light situations, which I often prefer for nature and landscape subjects. This is especially true this time of year – autumn – when I’m in the field shooting in the magic light hours of pre-sunrise and post-sunset. Also, multiple exposures for high dynamic range, which must match elements exactly, could not be possible in most situations when just hand-holding the camera.
I will be demonstrating these advantages and my field techniques in working with camera and tripod at my upcoming Day of Photography Workshop on November 6, 2010 at Cox Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio. The morning session, which is near full with over 20 registered attendees, will be in an introductory program on the basics of photography and camera settings with those new to the DSLR camera. The afternoon session, which is just half-full, will be on my step-by-step approach, from capture to digital workflow, for high dynamic range photography as well as marketing nature photographs and the business of nature photography.
Included with this post are some recent images I captured during an October outing to Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio. All of these images were taken in either early morning or early evening. Light was low, which is what I prefer, so the use of my tripod for longer exposures was essential in obtaining these pleasing results.