A Steady Hand

A Steady Hand

One time of the day I like to take my camera out is in late evening when I can get those dreamy long exposure shots.  It can be quite a challenge to work out just what settings would be best and just how long to leave the shutter open for.  To some degree this is trial and error although practice does narrow down the margin for error.  There is one piece of equipment that is vital to get these shots perfect, and that of course is the tripod.

A Steady Hand

The other evening I took a walk along the river thinking that I would get some nice photos in the fading light. All was going well until the sun began to dip below the horizon, when I realised I had forgotten to bring my tripod.

I could have simply raised the ISO to compensate for the low light as my Canon 70D takes a reasonable photo at 6400 ISO but there is always a trade off for quality and noise at higher ISO settings..

I have learned a few tricks that I use when I don’t have my Tripod and need a slow shutter and so I was still able to get a few nice shots during the rest of my walk.

The first thing to be aware of is the way one holds the camera.   By using the left hand to support the lens and tucking one’s elbows in tight against the chest and stomach, it provides a firm and stable grip.  This is a good habit to get into no matter what sort of photography one is involved in.

The second thing to concentrate on is how to breathe.  Holding one’s breath deprives muscles of oxygen which makes them tremble, causing a slight camera shake.  A better way is to slow the breathing down taking the shot at the end of the inhale or exhale cycle.

The next point is to look at options that mimic the stabilising effect of the tripod.

First off the rank is to simply sit down and rest the elbows on the knees. With the knees bent this forms two legs of a human tripod with the backside being the third.  If there is something handy to lean against, use it to advantage. Again the grip described above will provide further stability.