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Tripods are essential to maximize image sharpness and for long exposures. However, they are not always convenient or even allowed. So, to get maximize stability while shooting hand-held here is my technique:

  1. Assume a stable posture, usually not leaning in any direction.
  2. Support the camera’s weight with the left hand.
  3. Grip firmly with the right but let the index-finder loose.
  4. Press the shutter-release halfway and wait for a focus-lock (When using AF).
  5. Breath in.
  6. Exhale.
  7. Gently press the shutter fully.
  8. Wait for the photo to be taken (Most people skip this step).
  9. Resume breathing.

This lets me get a sharp-shot down to 1/8s for a moderate wide-angle lens but it depends on circumstance. Wind can make this impossible and being tired does not help. If I just rushed to the top of the mountain to get a shot, chances are I’ll be panting for a few minutes before I can get any sharp images.

There are some lighter weight alternatives to a tripod such as Joby’s Gorillapod. This is a small, cheap and relatively light (How often does that happen?) flexible tripod. It is easy to carry by twisting its legs through a belt, camera bag strap or cargo-pants pocket.

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