No Tripod – No Problem – Improvise
When shooting HDR and time-lapse, the key is to achieve multiple exposures with no variation in composition. For this reason, most insist a tripod is a must. I’d fully agree, except I routinely travel light (more accurately I have two little kids, so a single camera body with a 28-300 lens is all I’m allowed when I need to actually be more of a parent than a photographer).
This has led me to practice three techniques to overcome my frequent lack of a tripod.
Swaddle the Camera
This technique works best for time-lapse. Take a sweatshirt or jacket and ball it into a nest of sorts. The camera literally sits inside the nest which absorbs vibration and keeps the body from falling over.
Find a Bar
This technique is best for HDR or low-light shooting. Find a railing, a park bench, a garbage can even. The key is to press down on the camera so it stays stable. I’ll take advantage of a continuos shooting mode and auto-bracketing so the camera can quickly fire all exposures.
Find a Pole
This is another variation on the theme above. The challenge here is often that the surfaces are rounded. I’ll often try to pad the bottom of the camera with a jacket or a hand. I’ll often use the camera strap and wrap it around the pole (just keep it under tension to further stabilize).
Do you have any down and dirty techniques you use in a pinch?