monopod stability tip
make your monopod work like a tripod

Monopod stability tip - Intro photo

Here is a monopod stability tip that can make your monopod work almost as well as a tripod, in the right situation.

Monopods do a great job of reducing motion blur compared to just steadying your camera with your hands, but they can't come close to the stability you get with a tripod. Or can they?

Your camera can move in a variety of directions when you squeeze the shutter button and take your photograph. Think about it. It can move front to back, side to side, up or down, tilt clockwise or counter-clockwise, rotate on its axis, or any combination of the above.

That's a lot of opportunity to get blurry photos unless you are using electronic flash or a high shutter speed. The monopod eliminates the up and down and quite a bit of other motions, but there is still a good chance you might have some leftover camera movement during exposure.

There is another way to stabilize the monopod. Add a second point of contact to a solid stationary object. Now with the tip of the monopod and the secondary point, there is much less potential for camera movement.

First stability tip-create a secondary stability point by using a clamp and stabilizer bar.

Using a large Alligator Clip, attach a 1 inch by 1 inch piece of trim board (or other solid,hard object) to the monopod leg and gently press the other end of that 1 x 1 against a solid, stationary object.  The photo below shows a window jam used as the secondary point of contact.

Lean the stabilizer against a stationary object like a wall or tree.

This takes the stability of the monopod a big step closer to the stability you get when using a tripod.

My medium-sized Bogen 5021 tripod weights 4.8 lbs. and is three times as heavy to carry as the monopod, clamp and home-made stabilizer arm.

Bogen tripod is more than 3 times heavier than a monopod

You still cannot let go of your camera with this stabilizer-bar method like you can with a three-legged tripod.

The monopod, stability bar and clamp weigh it at about 1/3 of the Bogen and take up less space too.

The monopod, clamp and wooden stick weigh a lot less than the tripod

monopod stability tip - limitations

Here is my disclaimer:  Using this technique will not give you the same degree of stability that you get by using a tripod. This monopod tip for added stability definitely does have limited uses, but there are situations where having this understanding help you avoid taking a blurry image.

Some photographers might even label this as a gimmicky technique.  Image stabilization technology has reduced the demand for monopods and that's a shame.  Simply having a solid foundation of a monopod to bare the weight of your camera alone is a nice benefit to enjoy

An additional technique to use to get great sharpness with your monopod is to use a remote shutter cord. Even the slightest pressure on your shutter button will have an impact on your camera's steadiness.

By triggering you shutter with an electronic remote release, you are avoiding another cause of camera movement and can avoid the common photo mistakes of camera movement and blurry photos.


Happy Shooting!
Bruce



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