By Christina VanGinkel
My camera went picture taking this weekend, even though I did not. My daughter and my youngest son used it when their father took them on an excursion that involved trudging through woods and swamp and seeing the occasional black bear. What they brought me home was a camera (still intact!), and a memory card that held over eighty photographs. Of these, about five were useable, while each of the other seventy-five photographs was only useful enough for the delete button.
What was the problem with the majority of the pictures? Blur! Even though my camera has a built-in anti shake technology that I feel works well, it is still a problem when a camera is being used in conditions such as mine was this past weekend. My son also told me that many of the pictures were snapped one right after the other, with no time taken in between for the camera to adjust. As the lighting conditions they were in were rapidly changing from light to dark, literally from footstep to footstep (They were in dark shade from thick brush and heavy tree coverage, with bright sunlight pouring through at different angles), this was also a big issue. Digital cameras, save for the most expensive ones with the highest technology, do not have the fastest shutter response. They need time between shots, plain and simple.
If I could have taken any better pictures than they did, under the same conditions, is negligible. Nevertheless, it still brought to question whether a tripod might be the answer to some of the problem. Now, a large tripod would not be ideal for carrying along in the types of conditions they were in, but a small one that would fit right in the camera bag itself would be ideal. Why I never purchased one before is hard to say. Probably because when I think of using my cameras, I think of them being in my hands, not screwed onto a stand, setting somewhere. I am sure professional photographers have all types of answers to problems such as this, including tripods that can be folded up for easier carrying, but I am thinking budget or i.e., cheap!
A quick search online showed me that I actually had several choices, and all well within the budget I had in mind. Looking through accessories, right here at CamerasAndCameras.com, I clicked on tripods, and found mini tripods less than $10.00! One, a Digital Concepts Silver Mini Tripod with Extension Legs and Tilt Head, retails for about $6.00, and fits any 35mm or digital camera that has a standard tripod socket. Another one, from Quantaray, retails for a mere $3.99! For such a small investment, I may not be able to guarantee 100% perfect pictures, but I am confident that I can raise the useable pictures to more than five out of eighty!
The next time my camera is put to such rugged use, I will at least snap some photographs while attached to a tripod, setting on even ground. If I notice a vast improvement in picture quality, I will be sure to let you know right here.