My name is Neal Kumar, a Chicago-based photographer, focused mostly on urban photography. I usually shoot with both a Canon 6D SLR and an iPhone, and I have the extra gear to help me shoot with both of those. While my Canon body isn’t too heavy, some of the lenses I use can add a lot of weight which makes having a sturdy tripod essential.
The Gorillapod Focus is perfect for this setup and is very stable despite harsh conditions. In Chicago, it can get quite windy, and in those situations, I like to spread the legs of the tripod out wider to increase stability. To be safe, I often adjust the legs without the camera attached, so that I can ensure the set up is secure before resting my camera on the tripod. Once I have the legs set, I will make fine adjustments using the ballhead. Sometimes I will even use Live view on the camera screen so I can make adjustments without having to look through the viewfinder. I use the Gorillapod for light trails, moving clouds, and night shots.
Ever since the iPhone first came out, new apps have been developed that allow the phone’s camera shutter to stay open longer to capture motion, light trails, and night shots. In most cases, I will use my Gorillapod with the iPhone attachment and ballhead. Again I like to get the Gorillapod legs set up before attaching my phone, and then make small adjustments with the ballhead. The beautiful part about the ballhead is that you can take both landscape and portrait shots with the iPhone by tilting it 90 degrees.
For night shots I like to use Cortex Cam which has fast focus and a relatively short shutter speed which decreases the chance of blurriness.
AvgNiteCam is great for capturing motion during both day and night. To capture the action of moving clouds or bodies of water, I like to use 16-64 shots depending on how much movement I want. However, the more shots I take, the long the shutter is open and the higher the chance of getting a blurry shot. Be sure to turn on the timer so that when you press the shutter button, you aren’t shaking the phone while the shutter is open.
Lastly, I like to use SlowShutterCam to capture light trails from moving objects such as cars or trains. This app is also useful for capturing motion while shooting from the very back window of subway trains in cities like Chicago and NYC. This is the one occasion where I don’t need a Gorillapod since I’m able to firmly hold the phone against the glass looking straight-on with the tracks. You can adjust how long you want the shutter to be open, but I like to keep this on “bulb” which allows you to stop the shutter whenever you feel like you have captured enough motion. I almost always keep the app in “Light Trail” mode, and use a sensitivity of ¼ or ⅛.
Check out JOBY Ambassador, Neal Kumar’s photography on his social channels.