Photo Tours Workshops North America

Lupine Field
Fall foliage river

Latest

All New Website

MOOSE,BULLFOG(3.5)Please check out our new website with 2014 updated tour schedule

http://www.sphotography.com

Feisol CT 3372 Tripod Review

Lupine Field

Lupine Field

There are two types of Tripods Lightweight and Cheap or Ones that work. Buying a nice tripod is an important investment. It is important to keep you camera steady.

Every month I get at least half-dozen queries from folks asking my advice about tripods and tripod heads. As a wildlife photographer and landscape photographer I often use heavy camera bodies and long lenses which require a great tripod. It is very important for photographing in low light, night, and time lapse or any photography for that matter. I have always had an interest in different tools and equipment that is available to the nature photographer.

When I was introduced to the Feisol CT-3372 I was eager to test it in the field. It is part of Tournament class tripods. second generation CT-3XX2 series. These are available in 3 and 4 section variants. I prefer 3 section over 4 section tripods because it is more slightly more stable and sets up a little quicker. Either version is fine a 4 Section tripod will be smaller to pack if space is an isssue.

It is rated to handle loads up to 12 kg (27 pounds). It uses FEISOL’s new Rapid anti-leg-rotation technology. The leg locks secure the legs and unlock with a quick twist. Each leg section is moisure and dust resistant. The Leg release mechanisms will go past 90 degrees. This helps for some of the weird angles photographers get stuck in. Preset leg angles at 25, 50, and 75 degrees. This also allows the tripod to drop nearly to the ground for those low angle subjects like landscapes, wildflowers, reptiles, amphibians, and insects ect. This tripod will hold up in  adverse conditions that nature photographers experience in the field.

The CT-3372 Rapid tripod fulfills all the requirements of the serious photographer. This Tripod is large and affordable. The base plate is about 3.5 inches. This is where the legs attach and give it stability.  This is bigger than most in the industry and is one of the reasons why these tripods are so stable. It can easily handle long  lenses like a 600 F4.

The pricing is extremely competitive. It is cheaper than competitors like Really Right Stuff and Gitzo. I had always used Gitzo tripods since the ‘90s. The old aluminum ones were really heavy. Next came carbon fiber which is a lot lighter. Now carbon fibers have got even better. This tripod has multi layed carbon fiber.

A  tripod bag with a wide shoulder strap is included.  Foam covers on all 3 top leg sections. The legs are supplied with standard rubber end caps and these can be replaced with stainless steel or alloy spikes as an optional extra. Options include a center column which I do not recommend on any tripod I would recommend a leveling base for panoramic and level a gimbal head for action photography.

Feisol offers the quality I am looking for in a tripod.  It has great Specs. It is comfortable and offers great support it is durable and made of lightweight Carbon Fibre (CF) tripod. At just 1.74 kg (3.84 pounds), the CT-3372 Rapid offers the additional durability you need while making transport and setup effortless.

So bottom line it offers great weight-to-stability ratio. This is extremely important. It is simple in use, quick to set up and retract. The legs swing to almost any angle for setting up close to an obstacle. It also extends to over 5 feet when attaching a tripod head without a tripod.

I wanted to thank Michael Affemann Vice Presidents Sales of Feisol USA and Gary Farber of Hunt’s Photo and Video for their help.

Max.   Height Max.   Extended Height Folded   Length Min.   Height Weight WeightIncl.    Center Column Max. Load Max. Leg   Tube Diameter
cm inch cm inch cm inch cm inch kg lb kg lb kg Lb mm inch
148 58.3 200 78.7 63 24.8 7 2.8 1.74 3.84 2.17 4.78 12 27 37 1.46

Hunt’s Photo and Video will be offering a discount on this model tripod. Click on the link below for details. I buy all my photo and video gear at Hunt’s.

https://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?ProductID=CT3372&sp=KwDok

A Buyer’s Guide to Tripod’s for Nature Photographers.

Black Bear

Black Bear

One question I am often asked by my photo workshop and tour participants is how to find a good tripod. In this article I will provide info on what features to look.

Most photographers end up buying a cheap tripod and having to buy a new one immediately after. Then they buy a second one that is better than the first one but eventually need a third one that better fits the requirements of nature photography. So get it right the first time and you will only need one tripod which can last a lifetime.

There are several choices.  So it is important to know what to look for when buying a tripod.  Here are some considerations.

1.) Size:  A tripod when fully extended should be eye level when fully extended (without the center column). So you can look thru you viewfinder at eye level without bending down. If the subject is not eye level you can always lower the tripod.

2.) Center Post or Column:  Some tripods come with a centerpost. It is a single leg in the middle of the tripod that allows you to change the height of the camera by moving the centerpost upward or downward.  I prefer not to have a center post or column. If you extend the center post you essential make your tripod in a monopod. Also the center post gets in the way If you drop the tripod all the way to the ground. Some tripods allow you the invert the center post to hand the camera upside down to get photos that are low to the group. This sounds ok in theory but this is a pain.

3.) Ability to full extend the legs so the tripod can drop to the ground. This helps when photographing flowers, insects, reptiles, amphibians and other close-up photography.

4.) Weight:  Tripod legs are typically made of aluminum, basalt, steel or carbon fiber. Carbon Fiber is lightweight and very stable. While carbon-fiber is the best material for a tripod, it unfortunately comes at a high price tag. You want a tripod that can securely hold you gear but not excessively heavy that you feel uncomfortable carrying it.

Carbon fiber legs are between 3 and 4 pounds, while aluminum legs are between 5 and 6 pounds, depending on the size and how much weight they can support. Basalt lava legs are somewhere in-between both in terms of weight and cost.

5.) Load Capacity:  How much weight can a tripod support? If you put a camera that’s heavier than the Maximum Load Capacity on a tripod, you run the risk of a piece breaking or collapsing, causing damage to your equipment.    I prefer a tripod that is rated to support 2x the weight of my heaviest camera body and lens combo.  Don’t forget about accessories like flash, Gimbal Heads etc.  When a tripod is fully set up, it has to withstand not only wind, but accidents that might happen in the field.

6.) Three or Four Section Tripod:  A 4 Section compacts smaller but a 3 section is faster to setup. I prefer a three section it may be a little longer but it is much quicker to setup. If you are driving along and you see a moose on the side of the road time matters. A 3 section tripod is more stable than a four.

7.)  Collapsed Size: Can you tripod fit in your luggage. This is important especially if you are travelling and need to pack the it in a bag. This number will let you know if it’ll fit.

8.) Leg locks: They are available in Twist (twist the leg to pull it out, twist it in reverse to lock it in position), Lever (open a lever to pull a leg out, close it to lock it) and custom options.

9.) Cost: Prices vary significantly

John Slonina is a professional photographer and photo tour leader.

http://www.sphotography.com/tours.htm

 

Tripods for Nature Photographers

 
Fall foliage river

Fall foliage river

It is important to buy a good tripod. Nature photographers are often shooting in low light which makes a tripod critical. Tripods give you many options to get the highest quality image. I urge my participants on my photo tours and workshops to buy a good tripod. A tripod is a portable three-legged frame, used as a platform for supporting the weight and maintaining the stability of some other object.

A tripod provides stability against downward forces and horizontal forces and movements about horizontal axes. The positioning of the three feet away from the vertical centre allows the tripod better leverage for resisting lateral forces. Every aspect of photography has it pro and cons. Tripods have some significant disadvantages. They are heavy especially with the camera body and lens attached. They take up extra space and are inconvenient to call around and travel with. Tripods get in the way at crowded places. A tripod can slow you down. The pros outweigh the cons. Your photography will be much better with a tripod.

I often hear two myths for not using a tripod.

1.) Just use a higher shutter speed to compensate for no tripod.

2.) I have Image Stabilization (IS) or Vibration Reduction (VR): This is great technology but no substitute for no having a tripod.

There are a couple of occasions when I actually do not use a tripod.

1.) Birds in Flight. If I do not use a Gimbal Head I find it easier to photo birds in flight handheld.

2.) Sometimes when you are on a boat and you pick up the vibration from the engine and you will actually get sharper pictures by not using a tripod

Tripods are critical for many reasons.

1.) They allow for sharper photos.

2.) If you need to increase the DOF you lose some shutter speed. Sometimes the shutter speed gets so low that you can’t even shoot without a tripod.

3.) To support camera gear, lenses, flashes and other accessories.

4.) A tripod allows you to use a lower ISO with give you better quality and less noise.

5.) Allows you to shoot HDR and Panoramic photos which require strong placement of compositions.

6.) Steady Videos

7.) Night photography

8.) Close up macro photography which requires for a larger DOF and slower shutter speed

9.) Using a timer or cable release.

Grand Teton Photo Tours and Photo Workshops

Grand Teton Photo Workshop

Grand Teton Photo Workshop

Join us on a instructional photo tour or workshop to Grand Teton National Park. It is one of  the most exciting places in the World to photograph landscapes and wildlife. This a must see on any nature photographer and wildlife lovers list. Join us as we explore this park and the surrounding areas.

The Grand Tetons are one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and photographed. It is amazing with its beautiful mountains and reflections. The Tetons have one of the most famous skylines in the world. Millions of photos appear in magazines, television ads, postcards, book covers, and calendars. It rises abruptly above Jackson Hole which is where our hotel is based.

Fall is a great time to visit as the huge summer crowds and traffic jams are gone. Wildlife is more abundant. It is the time of year when many other professional photographers and videographers visit the park annually. Vibrant leaves of aspen and cottonwood show off their fall color.

Grand Teton National Park is one of the première wildlife viewing areas in the US. Creatures great and small await us at almost every corner. We will be visiting the parks during the rut for elk, moose, and pronghorn. This is a great time to photograph great wildlife behavior like courtship, territorial displays, sparing. The elk will bugle, spar, and herd cows this time of year. Other species that are commonly photographed as moose, bison, big horned sheep, mule deer, coyotes, wolves, and bears. The mammals will have their prime winter fur since they are getting ready for the harsh winter ahead. Bird sighting can be very exciting as we will look for trumpeter swans and great grey owls or whatever else we discover.

The Tetons is the best place other than Alaska to photograph moose. I learned many secret spots so it is very easy to find moose every day.

Our itinerary will be planned around recent wildlife activity, lighting, and weather conditions. We need to take advantage of the unique opportunities. This tour is pretty intense. Our goal is to see the beauty of the parks. The days are long, typically starting before dawn and ending after sunset. Come and enjoy the autumn tranquility of this great ecosystem.

We will be staying at the Painted Buffalo Inn. This is an ideal location since we are located in downtown Jackson Hole. This hotel is walking distance to the many famous shops, restaurants, and galleries which gives everyone many fun options during the mid day break or after sunset.

When:

Sept 19-23, 2013

Where:

Grand TetonNational Park

Tour begins and ends in Jackson Hole Wyoming. We will have an optional pickup and dropoff people at airport.

Price:

$1950.

Per person includes hotel (single occupancy), Park admission and transportation.

There is a discount if you combine this with our Yellowstonephoto tour. Please contact our office for details.

For more info please contact us and visit

http://www.sphotography.com/GrandTetonPhotoTour.htm

Florida Bird Photography Tours and Workshops

Florida has a crazy amount of birds. A view like this is fairly common if you know where to go. This photo was taken with a wide angle lens.

Florida Bird Photography

Florida Bird Photography Tours and Workshops

Join us on a instructional photo workshop or photo tour to Florida’s Best Wildlife Photography Locations. We have three separate photo tours.  The locations include East Coast, West Coast, and Big Cypress and Everglades National Park. You can do one, two, or all three because they overlap.

For more information please visit or call our office for details.

http://www.sphotography.com/floridawildlifephotoworkshops.htm

Wild Turkey Mating: Smoky Mountains

Wild Turkey Mating

Wild Turkey Mating

Wild Turkeys Mating

Wild Turkey: Smoky Mountains

The Smokies is the best place I have ever been to photograph Wild Turkeys. I can’t wait to get down there this October.  Some of these Turkeys approached within 3 feet of my photo tour participants.

Wild Turkey Smokies

Wild Turkey Smokies

 

Great Smoky Mountains

The Smokies have a great diversity of subjects to photograph.  It is great for Landscape, macro  and or wildlife photography.

We still have space for our upcoming Fall Photo Tour. I hope you can join us.

Smoky Mountain Cabin (Bud Ogle)

Bud Ogle Cabin Smoky Mountains

Red Fox Fishing

Red Fox

Red Fox Fishing

During our Acadia Photo Tour our group was photographing a fishing village. To our surprise a Red Fox ran onto one of the docks and was cautiously looking for scraps among the lobster traps. You never know what you are going to see. Everyday is an adventure.