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bensanford

Tripod use on ship?

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I take a lot of landscape photos, and am almost always shooting at ISO 64 with a tripod, and often with long exposures.  With my D850, I have realized that to achieve the best results a tripod is very useful.

 

If I am shooting from a moving ship - at a distant subject with a wide-angle lens, I don't think the linear ship movement in its direction of travel will affect the picture that much - IF the ship isn't otherwise rocking or vibrating from the engines, etc.  So my question is related to how much vibration, and other ship movement, should I expect?  Will I need to go to high ISO values and take hand-held photos at higher shutter speeds, or will the tripod be of any use on board?

 

I am going on the upcoming Viking Ocean cruise on the Jupiter later this month, and there are several cruising days where I won't be able to photograph while standing on firm land.

 

 

 

 

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I carried a tripod on cruises up until I started noticing that I never took it out of the suitcase. Ship to shore shooting is better managed with a monopod and moderate shutter speeds. You will see quite a bit of movement even when the ship is docked unless you are in a very protected bay. While you are in motion, even a light swell will affect the ship enough to affect a longer exposure even if you really don't feel it. Even on the smoothest days, you can easily see the horizon oscillate by lining up your point of view with a rail. The back of the ship will usually be the worst for engine vibration.

 

Tripods on a cruise ship are usually more trouble than they are worth, especially at busy times of the day. You may find a use for it in the early AM for ship scenery and interiors but in a crowded area, even I as a fellow photographer would be shaking my head in mild to moderate disapproval. Maybe not as much as for the parents with the monster $700 SUV strollers, but disapproval nonetheless. 🙂

 

The D850 has excellent noise performance, so don't be afraid to crank the ISO up a little and shoot handheld. 

 

This was shot handheld as we pulled into Portland, ME shortly after sunrise. 1/500s - f/5.6 - ISO400 - 300(ish)mm

p3078493380-5.jpg

 

It held up very well on a 24" x 36" metal print.

 

Dave

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My experience is very similar to Dave's.  I no longer bring a tripod as I have seldom used it on board.  The OP mentioned vibration, which can be an issue with slower shutter speeds.  That, and the joy of one less thing to carry.😮

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Thanks for the feedback on the tripod.  I have a lightweight travel tripod that I'll just plan on using off the boat, not on-board.  Also, probably will just take my 28-300 mm zoom, and leave other lenses at home.  It's not quite as sharp, but I won't have to bother with swapping lenses.

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I'll agree in general with both previous posters - though I have brought a tripod on board for several cruises, the primary reason was for the occasional use on land, and occasional use to shoot longer exposures of the ship itself while onboard...I rarely or never bothered to use it for ship-to-shore landscapes for all the reasons mentioned...even minor movements or vibrations become much more apparent with a long exposure from moving ship to landscape.

I did enjoy taking some long exposures of the ship at night onboard - such as inner lounges, outer decks, pool areas, etc - at 2am you can generally shoot for as long as you want with no or few people in the shot.

But with modern cameras & sensors, you can also take many of the same types of shots handheld, with higher ISO levels, and still come out surprisingly clean and detailed...so often I've ended up bringing the tripod with intentions to use it for those interior shots, but just end up taking them handheld at higher ISO.

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had my 750 on the last cruise with a tripod and flash, along with some lenses and other "junk" to fill up the pack...never used any of it... my 28-300 never came off the camera.. noise was not an issue... everything was handheld and still got some great shots

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Just FYI for anyone who may not be aware of this technique, for such times as you are shooting handheld in low light and need higher ISO's, it can work very well to shoot a burst of anywhere from 8 to 24 images, and stack, align and average them in post.

 

This eliminates most of the high ISO noise, and often produces cleaner results with less loss of fine detail compared to noise reduction software.  You pretty much need to be using Photoshop though. If there are other programs that can do this, I'm not aware of them.

 

There is also a variation on this approach whereby  you can also increase effective file size and (arguably) spatial resolution, but perhaps a topic for another time.

 

Brian

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I've used my small travel tripod quite a bit on board the ships.

2018-11-13_Novak_1648.jpg

2018-11-13_Novak_1649.jpg

2018-11-13_Novak_1650.jpg

2018-11-13_Novak_1687.jpg

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Very nice pictures. If possible to shoot some long exposure, do take a tripod on the ship. We are heading to Alaska this summer and I am planning to take my tripod with me, just to shoot some nice long exposure shots on the ship. Otherwise I will be using Monopod for my NIkon D750, only becaues a 200-500 lens might get difficult to carry around. Plus another body with wide lens. 

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12 hours ago, AquariusOne said:

Very nice pictures. If possible to shoot some long exposure, do take a tripod on the ship. We are heading to Alaska this summer and I am planning to take my tripod with me, just to shoot some nice long exposure shots on the ship. Otherwise I will be using Monopod for my NIkon D750, only becaues a 200-500 lens might get difficult to carry around. Plus another body with wide lens. 

Thanks!

That 200-500 can be a bit heavy carrying it around for a while.

Edited by kbnovak
omitted wording

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Monopods make sense for long lens and avoiding shake.

 

The ship itself is moving but with VR/IBIS etc. generally if you aren't shooting fast action they work well for human shake. 

 

I've taken a tripod more for self group pictures.  I find few people I trust to hand a DSLR that know how to use them, nor not drop them.   The ship photographers haven't every volunteered to take my group shots, that has been my main usage.  

 

Tripods for low light shots on the ship make sense as the ship - subject and camera move in unison and tripod is more stable than any human for those shots, LOL

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On 1/21/2020 at 10:46 AM, Blueshound said:

Just FYI for anyone who may not be aware of this technique, for such times as you are shooting handheld in low light and need higher ISO's, it can work very well to shoot a burst of anywhere from 8 to 24 images, and stack, align and average them in post.

 

This eliminates most of the high ISO noise, and often produces cleaner results with less loss of fine detail compared to noise reduction software.  You pretty much need to be using Photoshop though. If there are other programs that can do this, I'm not aware of them.

 

There is also a variation on this approach whereby  you can also increase effective file size and (arguably) spatial resolution, but perhaps a topic for another time.

 

Brian

 

Yup almost all advance smartphones do that native, too bad the real cameras are so far behind

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I don’t think shooting at ISO 64 is necessarily the best way to avoid noise. I don’t know every camera - but most cameras have a ‘base’ iso that isn’t always the lowest. The base ISO gives you the best signal to noise ratio. 
 

I get the thinking. Harking back to film days where lower ISO always meant less grain etc. BUT ISO on digital cameras is not really related to filmic ISO. It’s just a way of making the sensory more or less light sensitive and camera companies kept the nomenclature. 
However it’s very possible ISO 64 isn’t actually even a real one- and the camera is pullling/pushing the sensor in unnatural increments. This can result in the pixels not working as well as they could especially as they are so packed together on the sensor chip. 
 

Don’t think like a film user. Find out what the cameras base iso is - and your lens of choice will also have a sweet spot on the aperture setting. It may well not be f11 or smaller but something like f8. Getting the base ISO and the lens sweet spot sorted is going to result in much sharper images. Less diffraction etc. 
 

with that being said ISO 800 on my camera bodies is cleaner than 400 on others - so don’t be scared to shoot higher ISO and go without a tripod etc. 
 

of course if the boat is moving then it’s largely irrelevant because you need the shutter speed to compensate for movement anyway. 

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On 1/7/2020 at 3:15 PM, bensanford said:

I take a lot of landscape photos, and am almost always shooting at ISO 64 with a tripod, and often with long exposures.  With my D850, I have realized that to achieve the best results a tripod is very useful.

 

If I am shooting from a moving ship - at a distant subject with a wide-angle lens, I don't think the linear ship movement in its direction of travel will affect the picture that much - IF the ship isn't otherwise rocking or vibrating from the engines, etc.  So my question is related to how much vibration, and other ship movement, should I expect?  Will I need to go to high ISO values and take hand-held photos at higher shutter speeds, or will the tripod be of any use on board?

 

I am going on the upcoming Viking Ocean cruise on the Jupiter later this month, and there are several cruising days where I won't be able to photograph while standing on firm land.

 

 

 

 

I agree with most of the previous comments. My summary: a) tripods are a nuisance to other people who are trying to walk behind you, trying to stand next to you at the rail, whatever. If you are on your own balcony, then ok. But b) the vibration from the ship will affect your shot. And c) if you really need the stability, then if you use a monopod, place it tight against the rail and really concentrate on holding it steady, you can get some help that way. Without having legs sticking out annoying others. I would rather up the ISO, handhold, and deal with any noise issues later. Oh, and note that at least some (all?) shake-reduction systems are recommended to be turned off when on a tripod.

 

As far as the ship's forward movement... I have been on small excursion boats 200 feet offshore, moving at 15-18mph, (Pictured Rocks, Lake Superior) and have very acceptable shots of the cliff faces etc. One thing to think about, if your forward speed is high enough and the subject close enough, then it is similar to the techniques for shooting race cars or flying birds or other moving objects; i.e., try to pan your camera as needed to maintain a constant image. High shutter speeds help, and I would avoid anything smaller than f/8.

 

Stan

Edited by GottaKnowWhen
I said "larger than f/8" I meant :"smaller than f/8", i.e., not f/11, 16 etc

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A 5-shot stitched pano from excursion boat... not my favorite image from that period, but just to show what can be done from a moving platform. 

 

 

PictRocksPano-.jpg

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On 1/7/2020 at 5:14 PM, pierces said:

I carried a tripod on cruises up until I started noticing that I never took it out of the suitcase. Ship to shore shooting is better managed with a monopod and moderate shutter speeds. You will see quite a bit of movement even when the ship is docked unless you are in a very protected bay. While you are in motion, even a light swell will affect the ship enough to affect a longer exposure even if you really don't feel it. Even on the smoothest days, you can easily see the horizon oscillate by lining up your point of view with a rail. The back of the ship will usually be the worst for engine vibration.

 

Tripods on a cruise ship are usually more trouble than they are worth, especially at busy times of the day. You may find a use for it in the early AM for ship scenery and interiors but in a crowded area, even I as a fellow photographer would be shaking my head in mild to moderate disapproval. Maybe not as much as for the parents with the monster $700 SUV strollers, but disapproval nonetheless. 🙂

 

The D850 has excellent noise performance, so don't be afraid to crank the ISO up a little and shoot handheld. 

 

This was shot handheld as we pulled into Portland, ME shortly after sunrise. 1/500s - f/5.6 - ISO400 - 300(ish)mm

p3078493380-5.jpg

 

It held up very well on a 24" x 36" metal print.

 

Dave

Thanks for this Dave!  I'm heading to the Canada/New England area this Fall and am hoping for a shot like this!  Simply beautiful!!! 

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I am also starting to re-think about tripod on the ship, on our August Alaskan cruise. I might take the tripod for shore excursions, but around the ship, I will try ‘hand-held’ or monopod. Tripod might have use on the Balcony. 

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I left my tripod at home by mistake when we cruised to Bermuda.

 

I still managed to get great night and long exposure shots, simply by placing the camera on something nearby that was sturdy.

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