For better dynamic range, you need a steady friend
January 5, 2009
In the field, High Dynamic Range Photography begins with a series of images of the same scene captured at different exposures. A tripod helps to ensure that the multiple source images are aligned properly.
Know your tripod, and trust your tripod. The single most important thing to know about your tripod is its safe load weight. The second most important thing is to know its balancing points. If you overload or overtax even a ridiculously expensive, amazingly rugged tripod, you run the very real risk of watching your camera and lens topple over. And that is not fun.
Invest in the best tripod you can afford, and make sure you are comfortable with its operations. A tripod that is clunky and cumbersome will likely be left home. Your tripod's job is to be a stable, easy to use shooting platform. There's no reason not to love your tripod as a photographer—especially as an HDRI photographer!
The carbon fiber Gitzo Traveler tripod (shown) with the magnesium Gitzo G1177M ballhead
In a pinch, a monopod, Gorillapod, Manfrotto Superclamp, or other stabilizing solution can also help keep your camera stationary for an HDR capture sequence, but a rock-solid tripod is still your best bet for ensuring total alignment.