My Big Fat New (but cheap) Tripod

Well, today I found out there is a whole lot more to photography than just My Big Fat New Camera and I will be talking a lot about that over the next few posts. Today, I used a tripod for the very first time, or…ummmm…at least I tried to use a tripod for the very first time. You would think this is a simple no brainer thing to use, but it wasn’t. (My Big Fat New Camera wasn’t harmed in any way – only what’s left of my pride!)

So, I decided that I’d take out My Big Fat New Camera and take pictures of birds in my backyard and of course I thought the tripod would be the best thing to steady the camera on, and of course I would “look” like a “real photographer” too!  (Feel free to laugh out loud – it’s ok!) Sadly, I would not look like a real photographer today. If you were here in my living room watching me try to put the camera on the tripod I think you would find that I looked more like I Love Lucy trying to prove to Ricky that she could be a photographer, because really now, who doesn’t know how to put a camera on a tripod?  Apparently I don’t. Let me explain.

Now, I know there is a little screw thread that fits into the camera itself. Check…ok…I get it…easy schmeasy. How hard could this possibly be? Not hard, but HOW do I do this? Do I screw the camera onto the tripod or do I screw the tripod onto the camera? I set up the tripod got the camera, set it on the thread, and kind of walked the camera around onto the tripod. Awkward, but I got it done. The camera is now firmly on the tripod! Hooray!

I gingerly released my grip of the camera to feel how steady it was, but I could tell if I let go the camera would flop over. Hmmmmm. Ok now I figured I had to tighten the various joints of the head so the camera would sit straight on the tripod. Well, no matter how tight I made the joints, the camera still flopped over. Well, there is a simple reason for this, it’s a Big Fat Cheap Tripod.

So NOW, I have to get My Big Fat New Camera off the tripod and (surprise, surprise) I can’t do it. So I pick up the tripod with My Big Fat New Camera still attached and I sit on the couch, hold the camera and turn the tripod upside down with its legs sticking up in the air and successfully unscrew the camera from the tripod. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

I read about how awful the tripods included in camera bundles can be and this certainly felt like a cheap tripod, but I didn’t want it to be awful! When I first unpacked the tripod I thought (or hoped) perhaps it was sooooo lightweight because it was a superior quality. (Yeah, sometimes my own thoughts make me laugh too.) Cheap is cheap and this tripod is not going to work for My Big Fat New Camera.

Oh, by the way here’s my first tip from user experience for all you wanna-be photographer’s out there. There is a lever on the platform where you screw the camera onto. When you pull that lever, it releases the part that contains the screw thread so you can screw that piece onto the camera and THEN place that piece onto the tripod. Yup…it’s that simple.


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