A tripod is an essential piece of equipment for HDR photography.  More important than the legs that hold up the camera is the ball head upon which you rest it.  For many months I have been using the Induro ball head (SA-0) that came with my tripod, but after many failed attempts to lock my camera in place, I had to throw in the towel.  That ball head was a nightmare to use while photographing the Lunar Eclipse.  I would get it just right, tighten the latch, and errrrrrrrrt the camera would slide out of position ever so slightly.  Ever so slightly is not a big deal in many cases, but zoomed into the moon @ 300mm (600mm equivalent) is the difference in capturing the moon or the tree line below it.  Although I was frustrated, that is something I dealt with at the time as the Lunar Eclipse happening on a Winter Solstice will never happen again in my life time!

As you can see by the picture, that Ball Head was replaced last week.  While the Vanguard Pistol Grip looks like an over-sized super soaker handle for your garden hose, I can assure you, it is not!  This ball head is incredible!  Grab the grip, move the camera, release the grip and this thing stops on the dime!  As long as you have it tightened down your camera is not going anywhere, unlike many ball heads in it’s price range.  It has a full 360 degree spin that can easily photograph panoramas by holding your vertical axis completely still while only manipulating your horizontal axis.  Can your average ball head do that?  You can multi position the grip around that light grey sectional piece, and do you want to know what is the best about the Vanguard Pistol Grip Ball Head?  If you carry it correctly you will no longer look like a dorky tourist photographer with a tripod.  You will look like a bad ass photog with a futuristic shotgun looking tripod, but you have to have that facial expression otherwise you may look silly to others.


So for the next Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice, my great grand children will be ready!  100 bones well spent, I am still looking for a flaw with this ball head.  Click the picture (the pic of the Grip itself, not the bad-ass photog with a futuristic shotgun looking tripod) to go straight to Amazon and get yours….. today.

Yep, see that? It can even house your Polaroid EE-100 Land Camera when you are using your DSLR to HDR yourself holding your tripod like a shotgun because you have the Vanguard Pistol Grip Ball Head. This caption is almost as long as a Maxim Magazine Caption!


Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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