Monday, February 2, 2009

Instructor's Tip: Use a Tripod

I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured this image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.


"A tripod is essential in helping create a good image. Not only does it help ensure sharp capture, it forces me to slow down so I study the composition more closely. A technique I often use when I set up a composition is to take my eye away from the viewfinder for a count of five and then re-look through it to see if I notice any distractions. The reason it works is because it’s as if I’m now looking through the viewfinder at a newly created image. The technique is similar to looking at the LCD, but I find I can be more critical using the above.

If weight is an issue, a carbon fiber tripod is an option. They are much lighter and equally as stable as a heavier one, but the catch is they come in at a higher price. Carrying a flimsy tripod is as good as not carrying one at all so make sure the one you bring serves its purpose. In the accompanying sunset image, it was essential I used a tripod. In order to attain the depth of field to hold both the structure and sky in sharp focus, the corresponding shutter speed at my lens opening of f22 was 1/ 8 second. If I tried to hand hold the camera, the image would not be sharp."


To learn more about this subject, join me on one of my photo tours. Please visit to get more information.

To take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Russ' most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

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