I recently had a regular website visitor write to me asking about tripods. The question was mostly about which tripod would be best for his circumstances, but the conversation reminded me that I’d better slip in one of my most talked about tips and one that I revisit pretty regularly. Stated simply, if you want the Number One secret to improving your landscape images it is to simply use a tripod. Every pro landscape photographer I know uses one at least 90% of the time.
In my case I use a big ole Gitzo 3541 with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead. It’s a monster to carry around, weighing in at 8 pounds, even though the tripod is carbon fiber. Add that to my other gear and I’m packing around 30 pounds when I hike into a pristine location to photograph. At my age that’s equivalent to maybe 200 pounds, especially on the way back to the car. So, it better be worth the effort. The plain fact is that it is.
On a recent trip to Italy and Malta I did something I never thought I’d do. I bought a lightweight travel tripod. The thing weighs 4 pounds, including ballhead, but it can never fully substitute for a pro-grade tripod. Still, it proved to be helpful in many of the situations I find myself in.
For more information about shooting prize-winning landscapes, check out my The Photographer’s Eye e-books. They are only $4.99 and include 10 images, each of which illustrate a point, as well as ten tips for improving your landscape photography. If your preference is wildlife or people, I have ebooks on those topics, too. Enjoy!