Tripod Replacement for Urban Photography

September 02, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Hope you're doing great this week. In a couple of weeks I have a trip planned that will take me in an urban street photography climate. I don't do a lot of street photography but always enjoy it when I do.  Being a gear head for this trip I wanted to challenge myself. Don't buy any photography gear! That's a big challenge! I'm testing out a street photography kit that I will take with me trying to keep my set up light and nimble and inconspicuous.  That's going to be tough. So I know that on this trip there will be some night scapes and some things that will require a tripod.  A tripod is a very cumbersome piece of equipment especially if you're taking it on a plane. Light and nimble I want to be so I won't be taking a tripod.  But I will be taking a camera support with me to take some long exposures. I'll be taking a Platypod Ultra in place of my tripod.  This will save weight and be small and inconspicuous.  I have had a Platypod Ultra for quite a while and  haven't used it very much. I think it was on sale and I got it.  This will be the perfect photowalk camera support.  If you don't know what a Platypod is its a plate that you can hook a ba,llhead to and put your camera on. Its large enough that your camera won't tip over with a  reasonable size lens on it.  It comes in two sizes the Ultra which I have and the Max which is built for large DSLR's.  This plate is small enough to fit in your back pocket.  It comes with feet that you can attach that have a pointy end for added support in rough terrains and a rubber end for sitting on tables or surfaces that you don't want to scratch.  Or you can just use it without the feet.  It also comes with a strap that you can wrap around a pole or small tree and secure it. It is very versatile.  So here's a few reasons to use a Platypod.

1. Inconspicuous- The Platypod has a very small foot print compared to a tripod.  Many places don't allow a tripod like museums, some National Park trails, historic places. But a Platypod is not a tripod and most of the guards don't pay it any mind and let  you use it. I'm thinking of a situation where you have people shoulder to shoulder looking at something behind a rope. You could sit your Platypod on the ground at your feet with a wide angel lens and with your phone trigger your camera to get the whole scene. Pretty sneaky and neat.

2. Small and Lightweight- Like I said before this will fit in your back pocket and depending on the size of your ball head it can be a very small package. Easily put in a pouch of your backpack or camera bag.  It comes with a carabiner that you can use to hook to your bag or belt loop. This will not be a problem getting through security at an airport.

3. Perspective- This little camera support can give you many point of views that you can't get with a tripod. First of all it can get very low to the ground giving you that great perspective.  And you just have to set it down.  You don't have to struggle adjusting legs trying to get it lower. You can put it in nooks and crannies that a tripod just won't reach or can get too because of the large foot print that a tripod has.  Think of the possibilities the rail of a staircase, the rail of a bridge.  When I took photo's for New Years at Mount Mitchell NC this would have worked great. I ended up setting my camera on a support and this would have been more secure and gave me sharper photo's.

Now will this Platypod take the place of my tripod for everything? Of course not .  I love my tripod and love using it but this is great for Urban environments where being nimble and inconspicuous is important. In  upcoming weeks I'll talk more about the trip and what I am doing to get prepared for it.  So until next time Get Outside and Shoot!


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