Christmas Came Early (updated in Feb’17)

img_2764I have to confess that as I have got that wee bit older I have found that I can no longer hand hold my camera at under 1/30th second. To be honest, I am not sure I ever could as well as I thought.

Prints are very forgiving, transparency film less so, but what really made this noticeable was my move from a standard hi-res monitor to a 5K retina screen monitor. Things that really looked sharp until now suddenly looked not quite as sharp as I though they were. It certainly explained the rejections from Shutterstock that I previously couldn’t see their rejection/objections for. So I succumbed and bought another tripod.

Tripods are a love:hate relationship. They come with an inherent problem; to be any good they have to be stable and therefore fairly substantial, but this makes them a pain to carry. Which means you are reluctant to do so, which means you frequently don’t bother and hence they become pointless because they never (or rarely) leave the confines of the house or studio. The result of this is that you search for one you can carry, and will use. Marketing executives and manufacturers have cottoned on to this and now offer a range of ‘travel tripods’.

I believed the hype and bought a Manfrotto BeFree. Lovely, small, light, easy to carry and about as much use in Scottish wet windy weather as a chocolate teapot.

Searching the internet for some ideas I watched this guy:

And what he says makes perfect sense.

So really you have decide if you want to have the advantages then you have to live with the disadvantages. I figured it is easier to live with carrying a larger, heavier, more stable tripod and also living with great sharp saleable shots, than it is to live with a small, light, unstable tripod and returning home with nothing decent (or saleable) to show for your efforts.

Hence, Christmas came early…

I finally bought a decent tripod – mainly on recommendations from a number of sources including;

I intend to give this monster a thorough run for its money over the next couple of weeks and shall report on my finding. Given you need a second mortgage to buy a Gitzo tripod I am expecting not just great things, but marvellous and outstanding things. I hope to report it was worth every penny and I will never be without one again…we shall see.

Update (17th Feb 2017)

I’m just back from my trip to Skye and I have to say that I am immensely pleased with the Gitzo tripod. Since purchase I have taken very shots without it, certainly any landscapes have been taken using the tripod and it has proved itself flexible, quick to use, and very steady at all heights and in almost all conditions.

The only times it has not remained steady are either when balanced on heather moorland, which isn’t really surprising, and I am tempted to invest in some spiked feet, or when used in very strong wind (I work mainly in the Highlands of Scotland) in which case I found hanging my bag off the centre column hook to be essential.

I have even been working at new angles and new lower viewpoints, thanks mainly to being able to get the tripod close to the floor and the new, terribly useful, XT-2 two way folding screen.

Worth the investment? Yes, probably. Since using it my stock photography sales have increased by around 400%! Steady as she goes!!!



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