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This week I’m traveling light on vacation.  I’m doing my best to carry the least gear possible so I can take in the sites around me.  I decided to do a day’s shooting without a tripod (even a mini one) to see what I could do using my surroundings.

I’ll have a series of short posts on techniques I’m trying, but let’s start with the Leaning Bow and Arrow (and no, we’re not talking about the Kama Sutra).

I was shooting inside a museum with very little light and a no tripod rule.  Here are the results.

Statues

Olympus OM‑D E‑M5 with Sigma 30mm Lens
ƒ 2.8 | 1/13 second | EV -1.0 | ISO 640

For this technique, I used both my gear and environment to stabilize a shot in VERY low light. I was also running on 2 hours of sleep after just getting off the airplane.

  1. Find a pole or wall to lean against to brace your body.
  2. Using your camera strap, create a reasonable amount of tension by stretching the camera body between your two arms.  You can also just leave the strap around your neck and pull, but this reduces the number of angles you can achieve.
  3. Use the Live View panel on the camera to frame the shot.
  4. Exhale your breath, (don’t hold it – which causes shake).
  5. Fire the shots. Consider using a burst mode to get multiple photos or even brackets so you have a few options in post.

Overall I’m happy with the results.  A tripod would of course been ideal, but there are plenty of times you’re not allowed to use one when shooting.

I hope this technique helps you the next time you find yourself light on gear.  It is of course just one way to solve the problem of shooting in low light without a tripod.

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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

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Gear, Photography, Shooting

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