Common Tripod Mistakes: 5. Not leveling the shoulder
Many tripods have a spirit-level built-into the shoulders which enables you to see whether the legs are creating a level platform for the head.
Although many tripod heads also have a spirit-level, it’s generally best practice to use the legs to get the shoulder’s level.
The most important reason for this is to ensure that the tripod is properly balanced.
If it isn’t, it may not take much, just a change of lens angle or a gust of wind, for it to tip over and your camera to come crashing down.
Another problem with leveling the camera via the head rather than the legs is that the camera may not be level when you move it.
This is a particular problem when panning to follow a moving subject.
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Common Tripod Mistakes: 6. Carrying the camera on the tripod
You often see photographers walking with their extended tripod over their shoulder with the camera still mounted, but it’s a pretty risky thing to do.
The change in angle can cause what seemed liked a locked head to come loose, for example, and if it tilts down just as you’re walking passed a wall, it could be curtains for your camera.
And there are always slapstick moments when you misjudge the length of the tripod and bash your camera on a nearby tree, wall or fellow photographer.
As most tripod heads have a quick release plate, not removing the camera from a tripod only saves you a few seconds time.
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