The tripod has been around for centuries a in one form or another and it's usefulness has been unparalleled to artists, soldiers and anyone who needed self standing support. Photography has come a long way since the first photo tripod was introduced around 1880, but the tripod is as essential today as it was back then. Any pro photographer worth his or her salt owns and uses a tripod when necessary, and many leading pros shoot the vast majority of their images with a tripod-mounted camera. The reason is simple: Keeping the camera as steady as possible during the exposure is still the simplest & surest way to ensure outstanding picture quality. While everybody knows that a sturdy tripod will help you get sharp pictures when you have to (or want to) shoot at slow shutter speeds, and provides a handy perch for composing landscapes or portraits, the extreme versatility of these three-legged devices is vastly under-appreciated by most photographers. To give you a better idea of what a tripod can do for you and what you should look for in buying a tripod, Kevin Kopp of pixiq.com just posted an article called "Eight Tips for Choosing the Best Tripod" with advice from naturalist and nature photographer Rob Sheppard from an updated and revised second edition of his book, The Magic of Nature Photography. Among the nuggets of advice found throughout the book, Rob writes about several key factors to keep in mind as you ponder what would be the right tripod for you (We love tip #2 - going to your local camera store (hint, hint...) to check out size, type and price). If you don't own a tripod, You Should! Allow us to help you find the perfect one for your photo needs. It's back to basics the first two weeks of September with "Digital Point & Shoot Basics" next Thursday (9/6) followed by "Digital SLR Basics" the following Thursday (9/13), both at 6:30 PM. See you then!