Saturday, June 02, 2012

Things with 3 Legs

Yeah. They're called "Tripods". I just bought a new one for 3 reasons.
  • The Gitzo I have is really big and hard to carry around on my bike
  • It's heavy. I think the legs themselves (not counting the ball head) weigh 5 or 6 lbs.
  • I saw this one and really thought it was innovative.
So I wanted a tripod that was really light. This one weighs about 2 lbs without the head. It's made of carbon fiber which is very rigid and strong. The head is innovative too, and it weighs less than 2 lbs and can support almost 20 lbs. It needs to be small so I can pack it easily. This one folds down in a really innovative (using that word a lot!) way -- the legs fold up over the head so the overall length is only about 17".

It also needs to be tall enough so I don't have to bend my aching back over to look through the viewfinder. Do you think this one is tall enough?

As I mentioned a couple of blog posts ago, this tripod is made in England by a company called, "3 Legged Thing". And the name of this tripod is "Brian". Cute, eh? Here's a link to the manufacturer's site and here's where you can buy it (at B&H). They say the one with the blue ball head is backordered but the black one is in stock.

I'm really happy with it, although I've had it less than a week. The only issue I'm having is that I tend to grab the friction locks (there are so many of them!) and loosen them inadvertently, so I need to tighten them more. I like the ball head, it's smooth and easy to use. On a scale of 1-10, it's a 9. So far.

When it gets dark...

Don't put away your camera. Instead, take out your tripod and get creative. I like star shots, so here are a few:

I used a little flashlight to paint the tree with light. This is a 30 second exposure at f/4, ISO 800 and 15mm in case you were interested. To keep the stars crisp at that long an exposure you need to use a wide angle.

The moon is really bright. In this picture I tried not to let it affect my exposure so I stuck with the same settings as the last image. I was struck by the pattern of the clouds and never noticed the meteor trail at around 10 o'clock (I suppose it could be an airplane but meteor sounds better!).

Almost the same exposure: a little darker originally because it was 15 seconds at f/4, ISO 400. But I did some processing to bring out the Inn and the sky at the same time.

A couple more hummingbirds. This little fellow is in flight — actually hover mode at my feeder.

Male Ruby-throated hummingbird in flight

Male ruby-throated hummingbird at rest. This looks similar to a shot I did a week or so ago, but I like the sharpness and the composition better. Remember this guy is only about 2" (5cm) long.

And finally,

Attack Squirrel! This guy looks like he's coming after me. Quite the opposite, he's frightened. He should be: this is just after he emptied my squirrel-proof bird feeder.

More to come!

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