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An interesting question
Old 03-12-2004, 09:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How could you make your-self a "dead-handed" photographer?

I mean I dont like flash, so I need to use a long shutter. But my hands arent stable enough to make a clean, sharpy image without a leg.

How could I develop my ability? Or should I try different poses like sitting down putting my back to the wall, putting my left hand to the right back pocket of my trousers, lifting my right foot up to 20cm from floor.
(if you can make a sharpy image with this pose, you became a yedi, sorry jedi or yoda? arrrrgh)

So how could I? Is there a training?
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Re: An interesting question
Old 03-12-2004, 10:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Dan, Do you mean "steady handed" photographer? I'm guessing that you want to improve your technique to enable yourself to capture sharper images at slower shutter speeds when hand holding the camera?
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Re: An interesting question
Old 03-12-2004, 10:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes I mean that (I couldnt find a word in my vocabulary) I got the dead-handed from the dead-eye gunner [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] My hands shake like an earthquake.
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Can you say...
Old 03-12-2004, 11:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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MonoPod. It can be shortened to about a half a meter and extended to more than two meters. It is a wonderful stabilizing device without all the hassle of a tripod. Plus with a good swivel head you can rotate, tilt, angle, etc. very quickly and very smoothly.

Robert
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Re: An interesting question
Old 03-12-2004, 11:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You might consider studying the techniques used by competition target shooters. No, seriously. It's exactly the same problem. You've got a target, and something that needs to be precisely pointed at the target, at least for a split second. (Why do you think they call it "getting the shot?")

First and foremost, exercise. If your hands and forearms have plenty of muscle capacity, it's eaiser to let whatever they're holding "float," rather than constantly fighting to hold its position.

Other techniques include breath control, visualization exercises, and drilling. You can find a lot about it on the web.

M
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Re: An interesting question
Old 03-12-2004, 12:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Tripod first choice, monopod second, brace yourself against something solid third, lastly breath control, etc. Use a shutter release and/or mirror lock-up if you can.

Seriously - StMarc's suggestion is very good - but only as a last resort. An external, solid support will always be better. I recall a column from Herb Keppler (?) in the 70's, probably Modern Photography, maybe Popular Photography, on how to get the best steadiness. I'm more or less parroting his suggestions, which follow my own experience.

If you must, you can increase your steadiness somewhat by "internal bracing." Use that nice, wide camera strap as a loop around your shoulder and tighten it by flexing your arms. Not so much as to cause muscle tremors, but the additional firmness will buy you a little more steadiness. I usually take a deep, slow breath, exhale partially and shoot. Don't get so excited that you jerk when you push the shutter. Smoothly does it. Yeah, you know this - but it's personally one of my biggest problems.

You'll get generally steadier results with wide-angle than telephoto.

DISCLAIMER - As far as I know, I've never been near a lens that focuses while it shoots, so these comments are based on my nearly forty years of pretty much exclusively manual 35 mm work.

Keppler found he was pretty good down to about 1/8 second, handheld, using - as I recall - a normal lens.

Okay - an appropriate photograph - hand held, one second (I think) exposure, holding camera on top of a concrete post. Not great, but a personal favorite for sentimental reasons.



Remember, the model won't be able to be steady for more than a fraction of a second, either. Unless, of course, the model is one of those magnificent little warriors your cousin creates.

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Re: An interesting question
Old 03-12-2004, 12:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i've all but given up on handholding -- just can't do it. i don't trust my hands slower than 1/250, even with a 50mm lens. maybe it's the caffeine/nicotine combo LOL

i've always been taught, "there are no contests for handholding -- only sharp images." so if i have to lug around a tripod to get that image sharp, it's well worth it to me.


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Equally applicable saying
Old 03-12-2004, 01:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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There is a saying in firearms circles:

"If you can get closer, get closer. If you can get steadier, get steadier."

This applies equally to photography. The closer you are, the less camera shake impacts the sharpness of the target. (The amount the target moves in your field of view for a given amount of camera displacement goes as the square of its distance from you.) The steadier you are, ditto.

Note that it says "If." [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] You might be *able* to get closer to that man-eating tiger, but it might not be a good idea, whether you're shooting with a camera or a .375 H&H. So get as close as you can, but no closer.

As far as steady, sure, a tripod is the best, followed closely by a monopod. But the world is full of shooting rests. Maybe there's a wall or a tree you can lean on. Maybe you can sit down and brace your arms on something. Perhaps you can set your camera on a stair railing. Look around, be creative.

The use of the camera strap is *exactly* like using the arm strap on a rifle, as is the concept of "internal bracing." The breath in, half out, squeeeeeeze, don't jerk, is how marksmanship is taught, as well. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

A few other random things... This is *really* basic stuff, no offense to anybody:

1) Remember that you can trade aperture for shutter speed (though it costs you DOF.)

2) If you anticipate handholding, you might experiment with higher ISO film or equivalent digital settings.

3) Light, light, light, more light! How can you get it where it needs to be? How can you get what you're shooting where the light is?

M
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Re: An interesting question
Old 03-12-2004, 01:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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One point that seems to have not been mentioned here that is important to marksmanship and more so to photography is "follow through". Pausing as the weapon or camera fires so as to not disrupt it for the duration of the process. It's more important in photography as the shutter is open longer then a bullet would take to travel the legnth of a barrel. Something I've been doing quite a bit lately with good results is using my tripod as a bipod, meaning I only use two of the legs. Good shooting Dan, George
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Re: An interesting question
Old 03-12-2004, 10:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Lots of it has to do with how you hold the camera. Arms in, elbows against you side, left palm cradleing the bottom of the camera(that means pinky finger toward your chin....the worst thing to do is to shoot pinky out...very unsteady) and camera against your brow. Breath slowly, exhale as you shoot.

My background is in journalism and I almost never use a tripod, I use a monopod with a 300 shooting sports and always with a longer lens.

It also helps to develop some upper body strength, you can do curls with a D1H & 80-200/2.8 combo. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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