The $49 Photographic Insurance Policy

on June 09, 2016

It costs $49 and it has three legs and you need one in your car right now. And you can't get it at Marlowes.

This is not a column about studio shooting with tripods. The one you see in the pictures would be awful in a studio. If that is what you are looking for, go look through the Cullmann, Gitzo, and Manfrotto tripod range and look for the big, heavy ones - the heavier the better.

This is about a small, boxed $ 49 aluminium tripod that is light enough and cheap enough to live in the box in the boot of your car. Cause one day you gonna get caught...

You'll be out with your camera doing some completely different thing and the light will start to fade. Dusk will roll in and as you come around a bend on the street or road you'll see the most glorious sunset, beach scene, cityscape, or set of clouds over a darkening mountain that life will ever present to you. There will be a parking spot right in front of the best vantage point. No-one will be crowding in front of you. Even the ice-cream wrappers and Red Bull cans will all be cleaned away into the bin.

The scene will be perfect.

And you will need to shoot it at a very small aperture with a low ISO and a long shutter speed. Longer even than the marvellous anti-shake system you paid for in the new camera will accommodate. You will need a tripod and you will need it fast.

Open the boot, take out the $49 Vectra Delux and take the best 30-second photograph of your life....

Okay, that's the end of the drama. The Vectra is one of those tripods that has plastic fittings for the head and legs, though the basic struts are aluminium. You don't want to put a heavy DSLR on there, but you can put a medium one or one of the mirror-less cameras on it. You can put a small video camera on it and use the head to pan and tilt, if you need to. There is even the convenience of a quick-release plate - again in plastic. If you do not put too much weight on it, you'll be fine.

And the important thing is you'll actually have the right tool for the job instead of trying to prop your camera on the bonnet of the car with two jumpers and a Red Bull can out of the rubbish bin. Make like the Boy Scouts - Be prepared.

* Note. It also doubles as a really light stand for of camera flash if you use the little accessory foot that you get with speed lights.