Carry Your Tripod. Period

Over the last couple of days on sharing my pictures on Twitter, Facebook and on here.. i’ve gotten good vibes on the shots – and i’m really grateful for that.  The other question that seems to come out is “Did you use a tripod for  the shot?”  That answer for me, is almost always a yes.  The only time that I answer “No, I did it Handheld” is reserved for when I was told I couldnt use a tripod – but it was still with me.  The only difference between a good shot and a great shot is what you’re willing to go through to make it great.

I think that there is no device out there that takes your images to another level than a tripod.  Allowing you to shoot at a lower shutter speed, keeping things still, and keeping things focused are absolutely impreative in certain photography – it is in mine.  The problem is that tripods are a frustrating being.  It would seem that they are prohibited almost anywhere.. and no one really likes carrying them.

The Case for Carbon Fiber
Tripods can be an expensive proposition.  I always tell people, you should get a tripod that you are more likely to carry with you wherever you go.  One of the biggest things that prevents people from doing this is weight.  Carbon Fiber tripods counter that by making them really lightweight, yet able to support the load of a camera.

Recently, I started using the +Really Right Stuff TQC14 with BH30 Traveler tripod ( or see a post on it here: ).  I love the size.. can pack in a suitcase.. and still light enough to carry everywhere.  +Matt Kloskowski swears by the Gitzo travelers but uses a Really Right Stuff BH40 head with it.

The smaller/lighter the tripod is, the more apt you are to carry it.  But you stillneed to carry it!

Whenever I go out to a location, I never let the fact that there could be a ban on a tripod stop me from bringing it.  It goes on my camera bag, and never bothers me.  Why? Cause its small and light!  ( see a post on how I carry it here: ) .  If you carry it and you are told not to use it, then you’ve lost nothing.  However.. if theres a moment where you can quickly whip it out and knock out a picture,.. there will never be a time where you wont go “Man… I am soo happy you’re here”

Can it be uncomfortable to run around with it?  Sure. Is it annoying to be That guy that always has to take a moment to put the legs down, level out.. and try to make the shot, only to have to collapse it, pack it and move on?  Sure it is.  However..   if I had to choose between convenience and making my +Photography better, i’m always going to choose making it better…


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  2. RC, excellent advice. Since I switched over to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera as my “weekend and travel camera”, I also got a tripod set-up that matches the smaller camera perfectly! I went with the Gitzo GT1542T traveller tripod, and put the Really Right Stuff BH-30 ball head with Lever-Release clamp on top. To carry them araound, I bought the Really RIght Stuff TQB-64 small tripod bag – which you carry over your shoulder like a quiver of arrows. While I’m still waiting for RRS to come out with the custom bottom plate for this camera, I’ve had to make do with their generic Point-n-Shoot camera plate.

    Even thought the 5-axis Image Sabilization in this camera body is phenominally good, I still use the tripod a lot. I just have to remember to turn off the IS when I mount the camera onto the tripod.

    I use the Remote Shutter Release cable, but since this is a mirrorless camera, there is no “mirror lock-up” setting needed to get the absolute best image possible.

  3. You’re right. I’ve got in the habit of doing this. I have the Gitzo Traveller and still end up leaving it at home. I need to change my ways, especially now having the D800.

  4. Brilliant! I may need to switch to a 4-leg tripod… Might I ask if you recommend/use as a camera strap? The popular ‘walking around’ ones don’t seem to lend themselves to tripod uses with QR plates… Thanks RC!

  5. Hey RC, fantastic post! I’ve written about to use or not use a tripod a lot on my blog recently and am in total agreement with what you say. When I had a Nikon D90 with the VR lens, I used to get away even doing hand-held HDR’s (within reason) but now I have the weightier D700 (with Nikkor f/2.8 24-70mm lens), it’s just not possible anymore. A tripod is the simple solution to getting the shot you want. The compromise is carrying it around with you, but I always prefer the feeling having taken the shot, that I did not compromise on the image at all. The tripod is always with me now.

  6. Hello RC.
    I am a G+ friend of Kathy Proupski and have an idea to put a smile on her face after the passing of her mother.
    Its nothing amazing or to special but just something from us here in Australia.
    I took a bunch of images at Toorbul about 20min from where we live (Caboolture, Queensland) only an hour and a half drive from Stephan Bollinger who I have met on G+ as well.
    It is an image of a Very young Kangaroo at sun rise.
    I wanted to get it printed from Mpix but I can’t get an account been that I am in Australia, so here is the idea.
    If I can transfer the money to you or Kelby Media and then e-mail the image could you please put in the order.
    Nothing to big as funds are a bit tight but even if it is a 8 x 12 (something).
    I am not to good at putting down words but I think something after the funeral would be special and this is something that she has told me she would one day love to go and see (Kathy’s Bucket List).
    If you would not like to but have a different idea I do understand you are a very stretch person.
    Thank you for your time reading this.
    Best Regards,
    Shaun White.

  7. Going shooting this weekend, biggest problem with where I’m going? No only no tripods allowed to be USED, they won’t allow them past security, so I guess I won’t be carrying

  8. I think tripods are helpful if you need a extra hand for that impossible shots. If not there’s always photoshop. lol …….

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