First, and most importantly, know what genres of photography you enjoy the most and if that genre requires a tripod. Then, buy the largest, highest quality tripod you're willing to carry that fits in your budget. Specifically in that order; do not put budget ahead of any other aspect of the tripod. If you go too cheap, you may very well end up with a tripod that meets none of your needs when you're forced to replace it due to instability or fragility. The adage, "buy cheap, buy twice (or more)" applies here.
As promised in my previous blog post, I'm revisiting my thoughts on the Leofoto LN-324C Systematic Carbon Fiber tripod I picked up before going to Forks, WA. The trip gave me my first chance to use the tripod in a real world setting for photos I cared about. After putting the Leofoto LN-324C and LH-40 ball head through the roughest conditions I ever plan to use it in, it has stood up admirably. There are no conditions to this conclusion. It is an excellent tripod, full stop. The value oriented pricing only makes this combo that much more appealing.
My B2 ball head has had an issue with drift since purchase, and after months of dealing with it, I felt it was now time to finally fix the issue. The G2 a high quality, low profile ball head with huge capacity and smooth action that punches well above its weight. It compares favorably against more well-known name brands even if you take out price as a factor.
So I had this vision in mind: I wanted to get a photo of the Space Needle superimposed on Mt. Rainier. Now that I have the 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 lens from Fujifilm, I'm able to get this shot... if it's even possible. I've seen others who've composited the Space Needle onto a photo of Mt. Rainier, or Mt. Baker, and even Mt. Hood (uh, wtf?) and the results always look less than stellar, mostly because I've lived here most of my life and I know those shots weren't possible using the angles they'd chosen of either object. I wanted to do this for real, all in camera, so I consulted a map and looked around Queen Anne hill and settled on Bhy Kracke Park.
I went out early on Friday morning to take photos of downtown from Kerry Park and was greeted by wildfire smoke blotting out the sunrise. All attempts to capture a golden sunrise on what was essentially a cloudless morning were thwarted, so I popped on the 50-140mm and 2x teleconverter and aimed the front element at the Space Needle. After spending nearly a year under an ugly veil while undergoing renovation, the scaffolding came off a few days ago and revealed the new, modern look. So, in spite of it all, I ended up getting some clean shots of the Space Needle's new look.
Every year for the Seafair air show, the Boeing Museum of Flight holds their Jet Blast Bash, inviting fans of aircraft of all types to watch the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels preflight demonstration and takeoff. Although you don't get a view of the actual air show demonstration that takes place in the box over Lake Washington, it's a great alternative to the endless crowds at Genessee Park if you care more about the airplanes than the hydroplanes.
Discovery Park is the result of the former Fort Lawton grounds being returned to the city of Seattle. On the grounds remain a few reminders of its past and one of the sites is a lighthouse on the park's northwest corner, a point at the mouth of the Lake Washington Ship Canal just south of Shilshole Bay and Golden Gardens Park. After a stop in Magnolia, we went to Discovery Park for the walk, hiking the loop and stopping at the beach and lighthouse so I could take a few photos during the sunset.
So, if you read my previous gear review on the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Carbon Travel Tripod, you'll understand that I needed to replace that turd quickly. This time choosing not to ignore my better judgment, I decided to give the Benro Slim Carbon Travel Tripod (TSL08CN00) a shot. This will be the third Benro tripod I've bought with my own money and while the ProAngel didn't work out after a couple of months of use, my Adventure Series 2 Carbon has held up quite well.
The other day I received an opportunity usually reserved for working or aspiring professionals: The chance to have a guided shoot with a Fujifilm X Professional Photographer FOR FREE! Fujifilm Pro Photographer Kara Mercer hosted the event, bringing along a metric ton of lendable gear, but more importantly, a wealth of knowledge and an outgoing attitude you usually don't find between photographers in the pro photo world.