Night Photography Without a Tripod

Shooting at night without a tripod is definitely possible with today’s cameras. There are many articles and tutorials on line that discuss how to manage without a tripod in low light. The basic steps come down to this:

  1. Use a wide aperture lens, 1.8 or wider if available.
  2. Set a high ISO, 800 or 1,000 is a good starting point. Go higher if you can tolerate the noise that higher ISO settings generate.
  3. Use proper hand holding techniques or brace the camera against an available support. Be sure to use a remote shutter release or set a two second timer.
  4. Use image stabilization. This can give you an additional couple of stops slower than the fraction of the lens focal length that is the recommended limit for hand holding.

Hand Holding Has Its Limitations

This is all good advice but without a tripod or alternative device for camera stabilization, some sacrifices have to be made. Shutter speed is limited to what you can confidently hand hold. The creative possibilities of long exposure night photography are unavailable. Want to shoot traffic trails on city streets at night? No can do. What if you want to shoot at f8 or smaller aperture for better depth of field and a sharper image? This can be difficult or impossible to hand hold. Would you rather shoot at ISO 100 to eliminate noise. Better think twice if you are hand holding the camera. And are you positive your hand holding technique will eliminate all shake given the right camera settings? When you view the image on your computer you may find out it is not as sharp as you hoped.

Advantages of Camera Stabilization

Traffic trails

This photo of traffic trails would be impossible without camera stabilization.

Reliable camera stabilization has definite advantages—low ISO, narrow aperture settings and the ability to leave the shutter open to record motion trails or guarantee proper exposure regardless of light levels. But you won’t always have a tripod with you and there are places where a tripod is impractical or prohibited. What to do?

That’s where HandlePod comes in. Hold it against any available support for instant camera stabilization. There is no need to attach it to the support (but you can with the supplied elastic cord). Just hold it on anything solid and all the advantages of long exposure, low light photography are immediately available. HandlePod, your hand and any solid object is all it takes.

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