Is a Tripod Really Necessary for Travel Photography?

It is difficult to imagine traveling anywhere without carrying a camera to preserve memories of the trip. Equipment is a big consideration and the need to travel light limits the gear you can reasonably carry. A camera body and a lens or two is a bare minimum for serious travel photography. Beyond that is an accessory many photographers consider essential—a tripod. But think about it. How often would you use a tripod and is it necessary given the weight involved?

How Often Would You Use a Tripod?

Camera stabilization with HandlePod

Piazza San Marco, Venice. Shot with camera mounted on HandlePod pressed against a column

The choice depends on how much you think you will use it. The vast majority of your photos will be hand held. This certainly applies during daylight. It makes little sense to lug a tripod around all day while the sun shines. You may need it after sunset. But if you leave it behind, it is not always practical to go fetch the tripod once the sun goes down.

Given the low light capabilities of modern cameras, is a tripod ever needed at all? For many photographers the answer is no, especially when traveling. How many tourists do you see setting up tripods in Piazza San Marco? Few if any. Yet occasionally having dependable camera stabilization makes the difference between getting the photo or not.

Stabilize Your Camera When Necessary

Previous blogs have discussed the advantages of long exposure photography. Traffic trails at night, smoothly flowing water, urban night landscapes and skylines all require exposure times that are difficult or impossible to hand hold. There are times when a tripod or at least a small tripod alternative can make a big difference in your photography.

It is probable that very few of the photos you take while traveling will need camera stabilization for long exposures. It is also likely that the long exposures you take with a stabilized camera will be among the most memorable. A tiny camera support like HandlePod makes it all possible in a pocket size, four-ounce package that you can carry with ease.

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