I almost always shoot with my camera on a tripod. As long as my subject is not moving, using a tripod gives me the sharpest photos possible. It allows me to take long exposures without having to worry about camera shake.
On a recent trip to Nashville I went to the Serious Steel: Art Deco Automobile exhibit in the Center for Visual Arts with my friends Kent Ervin and Pete Culotta. When we bought our tickets the lady and the counter said "No Tripods or Camera Bags Allowed". I turned my forbidden gear over to the concierge, got my claim check and went in with just my Canon 5D Mark ii and a 17-40mm, f/4.0 non-stabilized lens. This was going to be interesting.
The first challenge we ran into when we went in to the exhibit was the crowds. It was difficult to get shots of the cars without people in the frame. Even when they weren't in the picture their reflections were in the ultra shiny paint and chrome. This took some patience and creative positioning. It amazed us how long people could stand in one place.
The second challenge was the low light. I found if I set the ISO to between 3200 and 5000 I could get speeds fast enough to get a decent shot hand holding the camera. My slowest speed was 1/15 second!
I had a couple things going for me. First the Canon 5D Mark ii does pretty well at low light and high ISO levels of 3200 and up. Second, using a wide angle lens I could get away with little camera shake that would have ruined photos at 25mm or higher.
We ended up walking through twice and I got a handful of shots that I was happy with.
|17mm, 1/15 sec, ISO 3200, f/5.0|
|17mm, 1/60 sec, ISO 3200, f/4.0|
|17mm, 1/125 sec, ISO 3200, f/4.5|
|33mm, 1/60 sec, ISO 5000, f/5.6|
|32mm, 1/80 sec, ISO 5000, f/5.6|
|40mm, 1/60 sec, ISO 5000, f/5.6|
All in all not a bad day. After picking up our gear we were off to the next destination with a little more light and a few less rules.