Picture of the Week 31 – La Valencia Hotel

Canon EOS 60D ,Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
1/1000s f/8.0 at 70.0mm iso400

This is the famous La Valencia hotel in La Jolla.

I might use this picture to talk about composition (I like how the hotel is framed by the palm trees), the use of a polarizing filter (which helped darken the sky), or catching the right moment (doesn’t the seagull add a nice touch?). However, I’ll use it instead to talk about a much neglected piece of equipment:

The tripod.

A tripod is perhaps often considered a hassle. You have to carry it around in addition to your camera(s) and lens(es), and you have to take the time to set it up before taking a shot. So, why bother?

Tripods have many benefits. They help produce sharper images than handheld shots by providing stable support. In this image, at 1/1000s, with an image stabilized lens, that benefit is probably fairly minor. However, I still benefited from using a tripod in at least three different ways in this photo:

  1. It caused me to slow down and visualize the image before deciding whether it was worth taking.
  2. It enabled me to carefully compose my image.
  3. It allowed me to wait patiently for the right moment (seagull in the right spot) while exactly preserving the composition and avoiding fatigued arms.

How do you pick the right tripod? That’s a long story; I’ll save it for another post. However, almost any tripod is better than no tripod, so if you already have one, try using it more often. It will almost certainly help you shoot better photos.

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1 Response to Picture of the Week 31 – La Valencia Hotel

  1. Marsha Sinkevich says:

    Love this postcard-like shot. The palm tree “frame” does it for me. The seagull was obviously underpaid, otherwise it might have summoned a couple of friends for a fly-by . Query: Would the hotel buy this photo from you for a postcard? If I was a hotel guest, I might like this photo too…

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