Keeping the Camera Steady

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Why Would I Need Equipment To Keep My Camera Steady?

Long Exposure showing motion blur with pin sharp background. This type of shot can only be achieved by keeping the camera absolutely still while the shutter remains open.

We've already covered some of this in the intermediate tripod section, but we felt it deserved a full section of it's own - as there are more tricks to keep your kit steady than just using a tripod - although tripods certainly figure!

It is what the photographer knows about photography, not necessarily the price of his/her kit which makes for great pictures. If you want to shoot a long exposure (which can be done with some compact cameras as well as DSLRs), you'll need to keep your camera steady (click here for more information on long exposures). There are a variety of ways to do this, and not all of them involve a full size tripod. That said, a full size tripod is usually the best piece of kit for the job - other methods will involve compromise, but in the right circumstances they can be invaluable.

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The most basic way to stabalise your camera for a long exposure is to look around you and see what is naturally provided by your surroundings. Is there a rock or a ledge you can balance your camera on to keep it steady? The shot to the right utilised the services of the casing for the electronics which served a traffic light. You might be able to hold your camera steady by just resting it and tilting it with your bare hands to achieve the angle you want. You might have available props such as a coat to wedge the camera at the right angle to take the shot. We cheated for the photograph right with a tiny pocket sized tripod which cost about £5.

The problem is that our natural surroundings don't always provide the perfect solutions to keep the camera steady. For those situations, we can carry small pieces of kit to help us improvise with the natural surroundings, or carry larger kit like a tripod (which doesn't have to be heavy) which will do the whole of the job for you. We use both improvisation and a full size tripods - which we use depends on the situation. A full size tripod is the best option for the best picture, but it is not always the convenient option. The purpose of this page is to walk you through some of the kit which will be able to assist you with this kind of photography, and enable you to make the right and informed choices for you.

It is also worth noting here that the act of pressing the shutter button on the camera can itself cause a bit of camera shake. There are shutter release mechanisms which can be obtained which will set of your shutter without having to touch your camera.

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