|Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 6):|
"Poor technique" is such a blanket statement. Just identifying it isn't enough. How to we help that?
A very fair comment - I tend to use (over use it) simply to cover anything which is not lens, camera or post processing related, and I accept its not very helpful except perhaps to warn against spending money to find a solution.
However to say what is 'poor technique' without writing a book is tough - if I see a photographer in action, there may be something obvious I can pick up on, but to list all the possible things that could go wrong is a bit of a challenge!
But some of the more obvious ones which might lead to camera shake include
1- choice of settings. Many people fall victim to that rule of thumb of using the recipricol shutter speed to the lens focal length (eg. if you're using a 50mm lens shoot at 1/50th or faster). This rule of thumb is, frankly, almost meaningless as so many factors come into play. Yet I know photographers who adhere to it as if it were a law. The only way to know how slow a shutter speed you can get away with is to experiment in varying conditions. How cold, tired and cafine infested you are will have an effect. Wind will have an effect. The balance of a particular lens and body ... and so on.
2 - How you hold the camera and your stance. Next time you are at an event with many photographers, just observe how many different ways people stand and hold their cameras. Some are patently stupid, but ruling those out there are all manner of variations - some work for one photographer, not for others. Trial and error is the secret, but the object is to stablise the camera as best you can. Generally this means feet apart, arms close to body, one hand on the camera and the other on the lens at best point of balance. One thing I see more and more is both hands on the camera - I suspect this is largely people who have graduated from small point 'n' shoots which don't have a lens to grab on to.
I'm also seeing people shooting with live view - which means holding the camera away from the face, which does nothing to improve stability
3 - Shooting technique - smoothness is the key, but many people 'stab' at the shutter release - esp. with fast moving subjects ... I guess there is a natural tendency to move quickly in reaction to a fast moving object, but this does not help in any way. Yes, you must time the shutter release precisely, but this requires anticipation of the moment, not cat like reactions. Similarly with panning - the trick to a good pan is to start well before the shutter release and finish well after, the whole thing being a smooth, fluid moment, not a quick turn and snap.
4 - Poor tripod/monopod technique. A tripod can be the answer to camera shake, but only if the tripod is suitable for the equipment and of good quality. Ball heads which offer genuinely smooth movement are very expensive, but anything else can be prone to almost imperceptible, but critical, jerks. The tripod must also be rated for the weight of camera and lens - you'll often see people using heavy lenses (like the 100-400) on tripods which are really only suitable for standard camera and lens. An unsuitable tripod will lend a false sense of security - in many cases you would be better off hand holding.
You get the idea - everything about the way you shoot needs to be examined - and then periodically re-examined, and of course practiced. I find that if I go for an extended period (a few weeks) without shooting, it takes me quite a while to get back in the zone. Given the nature of the subject, many aviation photographers are shooting near the limits of both their equipment and ability - there's not a lot of margin for error. Small things can make a huge difference.
Colin K. Work, Pixstel