The tripods always have a special treatment by many authorities monitoring the photography in public places… especially where photography is restricted. Many times they allow top end DSLR cameras and fast lenses but not the ‘tripods’. This may be because that they think tripods are generally used by professional photographers. (Yes, it is true that you feel the pride and status of a professional, when your camera is on a good tripod)
Some of them even mistake it for deadly weapons like machine guns. Recently when I tried to take a professional heavy duty tripod in to a five star hotel for shooting a high end wedding, I had a tough time in convincing the security personnel that it is a ‘camera stand’ and not a gun. They said that they had not seen any wedding photographer using such accessory in the job. At the end, they were not convinced and I had to leave the tripod in my car.
On the other hand tripods can be a hassle to carry around with you but they help you take great shots in many ways. There are few accessories I consider that you cannot be without it for making great pictures. The tripod stands first in the list.
Most of the budding photographers talk more about mega pixels of cameras and 12X zoom lenses than about tripods, tripod heads and quick releases. I would always suggest my students to think of buying a solid tripod before they think of buying an expensive long focus telephoto or zoom lenses. An expensive L series (they call it luxury lens) Canon 100 – 400mm, long zoom lens becomes useless for many photography situations if you do not have a proper camera supporting system - “a sturdy Tripod”.
Tripods for a good photographer are similar to helmets for a safe two wheeler rider. Tripods add life to your pictures as helmets save the life. Both of them are difficult to carry, handle and store. Yet, the importance of them will be known only when you forget to use them.
Tripods are generally known to avoid camera shake in the pictures. But for a serious photographer it does a lot more....
Next time, whenever you are shooting something important; do not forget to use a tripod wherever it is possible.
Image info: The image above was shot using a Canon 100-400mm L lens with a Canon 2X Tele converter at 400mm (effectively 800mm) and Canon EOS 5D on a sturdy tripod. F/11, 1/90 seconds, ISO-400, evaluative metering, AV exposure mode, exposure compensated shooting distance 20 meters approx.