Super Tri-Bonus Balance
Shot with a tripod with two tripods with a time-lapse and five exposures. This is my GyroBot transversing the tripod chasm. First shot was a 15 second exposure of the bot crossing the entire distance. Then I reset and did four shots with a flash. Then cropped out the background (leaving the string!) of the flash shots for this composite. See the setup and Gyrobot below.
Tripods are used in various ways and in many different types of photography genres. First of all, tripods are essential for any night photography, really, as you can then adjust your settings accordingly with a lower ISO. They can help you to prevent camera shake when you want to take long exposure photos, such as light trails, running water, or astrophotography. They are essential when you want to take more than one photo of the same image, such as HDR where you have several shots of the same scene with different exposures, compositing light trails to create different strings of light from moving objects at night, or focus stacking, where you move the camera slightly forward with each shot, to capture an entire macro scene in focus (this usually requires an extra piece of hardware). There's also more advanced techniques, such as stack modes in Photoshop, and star trails in astrophotography. They are also useful in food photography or still life photos where you want to compose your scene first and use your hands to tweak different elements until you have arranged the perfect composition. They allow you to take a self portrait! And finally, tripods are essential for compositing, which is to take multiple photos of a scene with a subject moving around in different positions, and combining them in the edit using "layer masks". This method can also be used for levitation photography! Apart from these technical aspects (and also by relieving you of the weight of the camera), tripods help you in another important, though subtle, way. Tripods encourage a slower and more thoughtful approach to your photo shoot. It connects you longer to your chosen scene and encourages you to stay and explore through your viewfinder a bit longer. For those of you who do not have a tripod or who shoot with a cell phone or tablet, rest your camera on something stable, like a table or stack of books, the concept is the same!