On Sunday I was up at the LA County Arboretum to see their annual “Moonlight Forest” display. Just as I was about to leave, I wandered down a path into a little area where it turned out they were staging a show of young folks performing traditional Chinese dancing and acrobatics. Naturally I stayed to take a few pictures.
It’s a funny thing. For years I’ve been telling people that the best photography investment they can make is a monopod, but I’ve never had one myself. I always just used my tripod. However, the arboretum doesn’t allow tripods on the premises, so I bought myself a cheap monopod and used it all evening. It was great! I’m glad to learn I’ve been giving people good advice all these years. The best display of its prowess is below, two frames from a series of pictures of a Chinese dancer. After experimenting for a bit, I settled on a shutter speed of a quarter of a second in order to get a blurred sense of movement from the dancer. The results were spectacular, and as you can see, the background is nice and crisp, which means the monopod kept the camera steady even at a very slow shutter speed. Three cheers for monopods!