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For some time now I've felt the need to address the issue of hand-held photography versus using a tripod.

I recently had a chance to shoot at a Bald Eagle location with 5 other photographers. Out of the 6 of us I was the only one with a tripod equipped with a Gimble Head.

Everyone else was shooting hand-held.

Some might say.....Lou why is this even a point of discussion?!

Well when your old school like I am and the trend for new school thinking seems to be flooding all aspects of photography......I felt the need to address the benefits and the draw backs.

I hope that maybe some might consider the merits of each and come away with a better understanding of the pros and cons.

Let's first examine Hand-held Photography


1. More freedom to move and more quickly.

2. Less to carry and for some of us less to leave sitting some place lol.


1. Continuous burden of baring the weight of the gear.

2. Inconsistent placement of the main subject in the frame due to your own movement from trying to bare the weight of the gear.

3. Increased muscular fatigue which then lends to shaking.

4. Not conducive to reviewing images with a Hoodman.

5. More missed shots due to fatigue from baring the weight.

For myself I find the fatigue to be a huge factor for me and the end result is that as I'm shooting hand-held my subject placement seems to differ from one shot to the next.

Tripod Photography


1. Non weight baring.

2. No muscle fatigue.

3. Consistent subject placement.

4. Hoodman review ability.

5. Perched subjects can be observed while still maintaining composition.

6. Exposures of perched subjects can be obtained without placing eye into the viewfinder.

7. Camera can be changed from tripod to hand-held rapidly as needed.


1. Extra gear to carry.

2. Descreased range of motion.

I personally believe that overall the use of tripods with the appropriate head to be the best option. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Especially in situations where my subject is in the same general area.

I love the freedom that I experience when the camera is in front of me and I'm pre-positioned to shoot my main subject. All without baring the burden of my gear.

As I get older I find the less weight on me the more comfortable I feel. The more relaxed I am and my thoughts are on my subject versus the harmful physical affects of the gear on my body.

Hope this discussion is food for thought :)

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