Friday, September 17, 2010

Tripods, what will they think of next?

I am a big advocate of tripods. I will use one unless it gets in the way. Tripods for me are not
an accessory but an essential tool for all types of photography!

Let me put my landscape photographer’s hat on.
Tripods are more than a form of image stabilization. It is a platform on which you can place
your camera to help you compose and arrange the elements in your photograph. I do find my
compositions evolve and as I work I can systematically position the camera to get the
composition I want. To me not using one would be like a painter trying to paint a landscape
without an easel! It’s easier with the right equipment!

I also have several other reasons to use a tripod. I think of a tripod as a third hand, a
place I can safely leave my camera for a minute when I have other things to tend to.
All of the long exposure photography I do is impossible without a tripod, impossible.

I also think of a tripod as a form of protection if needed. I have come across a few shady
characters during my wanderings over the years and there is also the possibly of being
confronted by an aggressive dog or wild animal. If I had to I could immediately snap the
quick release removing my camera and wield a mighty weapon. Hope to never have to do that.

The Great Outdoors
As a lover of the Great Outdoors I also have a fascination with great adventure stories.
The tales of Ernest Shackleton and Heinrich Harrer are two of my favourites. It is through
this fascination combined with my new found love for foreign films that I came across the
Akira Kurosawa film “Dersu Uzala”.

Dersu Uzala is based on the book “Dersu the Trapper” published in 1923 (it was out of print
for 50 years).The author V. K. Arseniev tells of his travels in the eastern reaches of
Siberia with Dersu, a native hunter who acted as a guide for Arsenyev's surveying crew
from 1902 to 1907, saving them from starvation and cold. Arseniev was amazed, as many
who watch the movie or read the book are, by this man’s resourcefulness and connection
with nature.

Dersu’s Den
Upon watching the movie I was stuck by “the Blizzard on the Lake” scene. Arseniev and Dersu
head out to explore a lake, expecting to be back to camp by evening they travelled lightly.
A snow storm arises and they become lost and their lives are in peril. Dersu in his ingenuity
constructs a shelter using a surveyor’s tripod saving both of their lives.

Dersu Den
This is a shot I captured from the movie. Unfortunately the book provides very little
detail and no picture of the construction!

I had a chat will a local man a while back who was telling me he went for a hike with
some friends on a local trail recently. The trail was said to be a one day hike and they
were delayed and had to night over and weren’t prepared. Fortunately it was a mild time
of year and they made it out safely.

You never know when you’ll need a tripod!

Can you think of any other reasons to use a tripod? Love to hear them!