OK, so the monopod isn’t a dud, but the pictures I took using it tonight sure were. That’s mostly because by the time I made it outside to test the thing out, the light had faded, and I couldn’t get decent shots without slowing the exposure down too much, so everything came out blurry and wrong.
The thing about the monopod is that, while it helps to hold the camera still when using a large lens like my telephoto, it doesn’t completely steady it as you are still holding onto it and can’t let go (I started out with a cheap, $19 monopod, although they can get as pricey as $200).So in good light, it’ll do the trick, but in low light situations it isn’t very useful unless I’m going to seriously bump up my ISO settings, which I generally don’t like to do. I have noticed I can kick up the ISO on this lens much more than I usually do without it being terribly distracting, but I was needing to push it up to 1000 for decent light this evening, and that was just too much for me.
Speaking of cheap tripods though, once I realized it was just too dark to use the monopod effectively, I decided to break out my tripod and try to get some long exposure shots. Another disaster. First of all, the lens couldn’t find much on which to focus, but more troubling was the fact that my trusty yet inexpensive tripod, which has served me so well over the years when taking portraits and selfies, couldn’t handle the weight of a camera with a 70-200mm lens attached. I’d get the camera focused properly and lock it into place, only to have the camera droop down once I took my hands off it. So my $50 tripod is too cheap to stay steady with a heavy camera. This means there’s a new $150-$200 tripod somewhere in my near future. Damn.
Managed to take this with the tripod, but it wasn’t easy. Also, it was completely dark out at the time, but I kept the shutter open long enough to let in appropriate light. That’s why the running water looks so smooth.
I was planning on getting up fairly early tomorrow morning and hitting a nearby park with my zoom lens and monopod before taking myself to lunch and getting my nails done, but the forecast calls for thunderstorms so I’ll be sleeping in late instead and taking pictures later. I’m still eyeing a macro lens, but I need to wait a few weeks to get it. I also discovered an aviation museum near one of our airports with runway observation areas that are good for photographing landing planes, so I’m planning a trip out there with my dad in the coming weeks to check it out. And apparently, it’s also time to start researching semi-pro quality tripods. Of course I also have to go to work somewhere in all of this, but at least everything aside from work is enjoyable…