Without a Tripod

Jefferson Monument

Photograph by Daniel Hancock

During a recent trip to Washington D.C., I was unable to bring a tripod due to space requirements. However, I still took many low-light photographs. So, how can this be accomplished? Many photographers will increase their ISO, enlarge the aperture (In other words, decrease the F number.), and use as fast as a shutter speed possible.  However, this shutter speed is often not fast enough, and they'll still end up with blurry images. When lacking a tripod, I use nearby objects to steady my camera (such as a post, the ground, or whatever else that I can get my hands on). Once I have my camera in place and the picture composed, I will set my camera for a delayed shutter and remove my hands (so they don't shake my camera). When the time runs out, the camera takes the picture. If the surface I am resting my camera on isn't at the preferred angle, a stick can be placed underneath the camera to aim it at the desired subject. Keep in mind, this method is for stationary subjects. For moving subjects which are nearby the camera, I would recommend flash in order to speed up the shutter speed. If the the moving subject is not nearby, use the method mentioned above and decrease your f (aperture) number as low as possible and use manual focus. If you still can't get a fast enough shutter speed, increase your ISO (The higher the ISO, the more noise in your image. That is why it is the last method to use.) See my other article for more methods of steadying your camera - "The Quest for Sharpness."

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