Alternative Tripods and Night Photography? A Step Too Far?
We recently posted some ideas on Alternatives to Tripods and wondered how effective some of the ideas would be for some more serious long exposure photography. So we set off with a newly acquired Trailpix, Gorillapod SLR and a top notch Canon EOS 6D camera to see if we’d get anything worthwhile with these at night. We’ll have individual reviews of the tripods online as soon as we’ve given them a proper going over.
So we set off up Cefn Du in the foothills of Snowdonia, with the aim of seeing how they fared.
First mistake – there was a full moon. Just remember that this is Snowdonia and any clear night is a good night for us, so we had to take what we were given. So while we’d get start, the Milky WAy wasn’t likely! The shot above was just a mood shot, taken with my Giottos carbon fibre tripod that I usually rely on, and with a Canon EOS 6D. The ruins to the right are the remains of Marconi’s Long Wave Transmitting station (part of the network anyway).
Just so you can see the capabilities of the EOS 6D in low light – here’s Tryf setting up his compact on the Trailpix, complete with a star or two (or actually a hole constellation now I look carefully). Nothing special, except that it’s a hand held shot taken at ISO 12,800 at an exposure of 1/6th of a second wide open (Samyang 14mm)
So testing them out- they both took the hefty DSLR comfortably, with the Trailpix being much easier to handle in this situation.
It was a bit more difficult to use the Gorillapod as we didn’t have a decent spot to place it other than the trig point, with it being much better suited to fixing to a fence or post than resting on anything.
Thankfully – I’d already given it a go a couple of weekends back on some hotel railings in Peterborough. Hardly wilderness, but I was still happy with the whole process. IT gripped well, and the image was OK under the circumstances. It was with a less capable EOS 600D camera, so difficult to compare directly. There’s a bit of blurring of the stars, but this is coma from the lens used and the images taken tonight were using a Samyang 14mm.
Back to tonight, the Trailpix managed this:
While the Gorillapod, but without a tripod head, managed the image below (and was difficult to adjust to get the same framing as above). The shadow was caused by the moon, and was framed out of the initial image.
Overall, these are two capable bits of kit for a bit of impromptu night photography. The Trailpix feels more like a tripod, and with the ball head was easy enough to use. The Gorillapod is ideal when you’ve something to attach it to, or if you’re willing to use it on the ground such as when you’re camping. Full review of both items to follow.