I Never Met A Tripod I Didn’t Like

by Jake Block

Things were so much easier when I was just starting out as a photographer. I had one camera, and one tripod that I used for just about everything. Before I got it, I propped up the camera where I needed it to be to get the shot I wanted. Finally, I decided that it was time to buy one, because although I was able to hold my camera still and firm, there are times you want or need a longer exposure, so your chances of blurring the shot increase with every second you have the shutter open.

I bought it in Germany for $22. I still have it and use it, although mostly as a stable platform for a group of three infrared converted cameras, or some other secondary use. It’s no real problem, because I have others. Still, it’s like an old friend that I would miss, were it not here.

Some are full size, some are “table top” models, some aren’t actually “tripods” at all, like one of my three monopods, which is basically one leg of a tripod with a ball head camera attachment and adjustable height, or my adjustable “box mount,” with is folds out to allow me to angle the camera in many angles and can be placed on the ground, for low level shots or on a table… or even atop a proper tripod, if I need to. I have tripods that can be inverted so that I can shoot with the camera upside down, or I can use the “boom mode” to suspend the tripod over an object on a table and shoot down from above, or I can adjust the level with bubble guides, and one that has a laser to assist me in being perfectly level for a really close macro or technical shot. Needless to say, but the days of a good, $22 tripod are long past.

Tripods in color, some plain black, some aluminum and some in a space age polymer that are surprisingly light, but strong enough to hold my Nikons with battery grip and a long lens with no problem. Some have spikes in the footpads that can he extended to give more stability in grass or on a dirt surface. Some can be weighted down with a bottle of water or a small weight when working in the wind, and one has a blinking red light to use when you might be standing in or close to traffic so… well… yeah, they saw me coming on that one, for sure. And finally, even though I don’t use my cell phone to take pictures, I have a cell phone attachment that can be placed on most of the tripods, should I ever decide to.

People are kind of like tripods. There are many types, many colors and many sizes, but basically, they all do the same thing, although some do it better than others. Some will stand up to hard times, like a good, sturdy tripod, and some cave in under the pressure and need to be adjusted for strength or they are seldom used when you need something reliable. Some give you great value for your investment in them, while, sadly, some will never be worth a damn, no matter how much you had hopes for them. And there will always be one that you want to have with you as often as possible, because you know they will never let you down.

But in the end, there is one big difference between people and tripods, at least for me. There are some that you bring into your life with great expectations, but soon show you that your faith in them has been misplaced and, no matter how many times you give them the benefit of the doubt, they will always let you down. So, when it comes to people, yes, I have met some that I just don’t like.

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