$2 + 10 minutes = Sharper pictures! With a DIY Elastic Monopod! Part 1

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Low light and camera shake are any photographer’s kryptonite, whether novice or professional. And since we cannot do anything about low light in most cases, we photographers try our best to minimize the menace of camera shake. Most cameras and lenses today have built-in image stabilization that helps in reducing shake, but that is not quite enough. And for those without Image Stabilization, it’s even worse.

There are some basic postures and positions that help reduce shake to an extent but these are generally not sufficient. For those not already aware, here are some basic tips on how to reduce camera shake and get sharp images:

  • USE A TRIPOD. This is the best that you can do to get sharp images.
  • Use a remote/cable shutter release. This minimizes camera shake that might occur while pressing the shutter release (Yes! It happens!)
  • If you don’t have a remote or cable shutter release, use the timer on your camera. It might sound odd but it makes a HUGE difference. In fact, just to be doubly sure, I tried it out recently. I took some night shots, with my camera mounted on a tripod. A few without the timer, and a few with the timer. And yes, it does make a significant difference.
  • If you don’t have a tripod, here are some things you should ALWAYS do, whether shooting in bright daylight or evening light:
    1. Tuck in your elbows against your chest to support your arms.
    2. Make sure your feet are firmly on the ground, or wherever. If you’re standing on your toes or heels to get that right angle, get a stool instead.
    3. If your camera has a strap, ‘wrap’ it around your elbow or wrist and stretch it while taking the picture.
    4. Wherever possible, lean against a tree or a wall or something similar for support.

Although there is nothing better than a tripod to minimize camera shake and get the sharpest images, it is often not possible to lug around extra weight. You simply cannot take a tripod everywhere you go, and even if you have one with you, you often don’t get the time to set it up if you want to capture the right moment.

Another alternative that many people don’t use is a monopod. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a monopod is like a tripod, except that it has just one leg, as the name suggests. A monopod is like an extension of the camera that allows you to support the camera on the ground. In fact it is at times better than a tripod because it allows for easy maneuverability along with support. Plus, it is smaller and lighter, therefore easier to carry.

Surprisingly, most beginners and many amateurs don’t use monopods, probably because you can get a tripod for almost the same price. What if you could get your very own monopod for less than $2??

Yep. $2 + 10 minutes = Sharper Pictures! Tomorrow I will explain how to make your very own monopod.

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