This is one of those iconic photographic locations where many tripods have stood, with cameras perched and the photographer waiting for the right light before releasing the shutter. Checking and rechecking the composition on the back of the camera, moving the tripod a little to the right or to the left, then raising or lowering the height of the legs until all the important elements of the picture fall into place. With many ‘JCBs’ or ‘Joe Cornish Boulders’ to fill the foreground the permutations are almost limitless.
It may well be a popular location, but as a first time visitor to Snowdonia it had to be taken. However my set up is rather different to the one described above. Put simply I prefer not to use a tripod. I have observed many photographers using this piece of equipment which is considered by many to be essential to landscape photography. It’s often extended to eye level so that they can stand comfortably. Nothing wrong with that but might a lower viewpoint be more interesting? I like to move around with the camera in my hand, spontaneously reacting to what I see through the viewfinder. No live view for me on the back of my Leica Monochrom. I enjoy this freedom of movement, working a location, without a heavy tripod and its head to inhibit me. I can easily crouch or even lie down on the ground to get the picture I want.
I know some will say a tripod slows you down, makes you stop and think about what you are doing, but this just isn’t my style. I like to change the composition of a shot by moving my body around, whilst adjusting the position of my feet and hands, until I see the picture that works for me. Perhaps I am lazy or just too impatient to take the shot and move on, but I can cover a lot more ground without a tripod. If you use one on a regular basis, can I suggest you leave it in the boot of your car one day and see what a difference it makes – you may find it quite liberating – I know I do!