Why I love my Gitzo


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We now continue with our original programming….

Not possible with most tripods:

I shoot a lot of small kitchens, and finding the right composition often means putting the camera in some weird places. In this case, it was over the sink.

Now, it might have been possible to collapse the legs, remove the center post, and somehow plant one leg in the sink, extend another out onto the countertop, and let the third one dangle somewhere (perhaps anchoring it with some gaffer’s tape?)…..but it might not have worked, either. That sink isn’t very deep, and I suspect the camera would still have been too high.

Anyway, having the ability to run the center post out horizontally has allowed me to get comps I couldn’t have gotten any other way, save hand-holding the camera (something I’m not averse to doing, but not at shutter speeds of 2 seconds, like I was doing here!).

More from this shoot, with 1Columbia Design, coming soon….

5 responses to “Why I love my Gitzo

  1. John Becker

    Dude, if you didn’t have one of them fancy tall cameras with all that extra meat on the bottom, you would have at least 1 inch less height to worry about! 😉

    BTW, my cheap aluminum Manfrotto has the bendy center column too, and it only cost me $150. And it has enough weight to stand steady on thick carpet.

    I know you’ve always leaned toward hand-held for RE photography. For shoots that don’t fall into the run-‘n’-gun category, are you finding that shooting tethered on a tripod gives you better results? Could those better results be no more than a result of slowing down? I’m curious to learn what effect, if any, a different mindset and a different pace is having on your shooting.

  2. Haha! So much for my fancy CF sticks!

    John, for shoots like this, the tripod is indispensible. Ditto for the laptop. These are long exposures, generally, and/or I’m blending in a separate layer for highlights. The laptop is really the only way I can check for focus (especially with the 24TS lens, which won’t auto-focus) and it’s the ONLY way to really review comps with the client. Back of the camera just doesn’t cut it for either of those things. Plus, I can do some quick-and-dirty post processing right there in Lightroom to make sure that I will be where I think I am with regard to highlight recovery, etc.

    Slowing down, having a budget, and a great client like this one allows me to push photos way, WAY past the real estate standard. I would never have made the shot you can see on the laptop screen above if I didn’t have half an hour or more to set it up. There’s 3 lights, the fiddling around with the tripod, and 5 or 6 “false starts” before I found the composition I was looking for. Then the styling happens – the chairs have to be angled so they “read” right from the camera’s perspective, the painting on the wall had to be moved, etc. etc.
    One of these days I’m going to shoot some BTS video showing the process.

  3. Think Gorillapod! But nice setup nonetheless. Do you use thethered live view (can be done with DPP) or just thethered with LR to check composition during setup?

  4. Good stuff. I have a set of CF legs but they’re mounted with a lightweight ball head. My 405 is bolted up to some heavy aluminum legs for Arch work… but my center column can’t articulate like that.

    I’m surprised you’re using a grip. I have a grip on my 5D as well, but don’t use it for arch work since it adds more of a lever arm to torque the head around. I keep a few batteries on hand and can swap them out easily.

    It looks like you’re not yet using Really Right Stuff or Kirk L Bracket though. You really should consider one. It makes swapping to portrait orientation (not used much for RE, but for editorials and magazines, those shots are used far more frequently) a no-brainer.

  5. yeah that’s the way! very cool