To Tripod Or Not To Tripod…

I generally prefer shooting by myself, otherwise I end up not wanting to shoot what the person with me wants to shoot or waiting forever while they shoot something I’ve already taken.  But sometimes I like to shoot with a good friend of mine…mostly because I enjoy his company and also because I get great pleasure from teasing him about his tripod which is attached to his hip (his words, not mine). And I like to see the differences in what we shoot when we are in the same location….in this case, on a cold, damp, very wet morning at the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon. He was shooting the colorful fall leaves on the trees, while I shot the leaves on the ground …and the Koi in the ponds.
He calls me the “drive by shooter” since I’ve been known to pull my car over on the side of the road and take a shot out my car window.  I know I should, but I don’t like to use my very expensive Manfrotto tripod.  I’ve found that unless I’m taking landscapes or doing intricate macro work, I get lousy shots when I use my tripod.  Perhaps it’s tripod anxiety.  Or maybe it’s boredom…by the time I get the tripod set up and adjusted I don’t even want to take the shot anymore. Plus I like to keep on the move, looking at a subject from all angles until I find the one I like.  He says his tripod gives him confidence and forces him to slow down – which works for him.  I admit that I did have some out of focus shots today (not because my settings were wrong) because I was using my Canon 7D with a very heavy “L” (think thick optical glass) lens.  But then again, had I taken the time to set up my tripod (which of course I didn’t have with me anyway!) that water hopper would have heard me…and hopped.  So, to tripod or not to tripod?  That is the question.

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