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The Secret Camera Tripod In Every House

David Pogue
Tech Critic
Yahoo Tech

Welcome to the first installment of Pogue’s Basics: little tips to help you survive in a technological world. Nobody tells us these things when we first start using a new phone, tablet, gadget, email system, or social network. Or if they do, we forget. So here’s your refresher course.

In low light, you run the risk of taking blurry photos. That’s just the way it is.

It’s because a camera’s shutter has to stay open long enough to soak up enough light — and while it’s open, anything that moves becomes blurry. That goes for the camera, too: If it moves even slightly, the whole picture comes out blurry.

That’s what tripods fix. But when you’re at a school function, or just bopping through life in general, carrying around a tripod is silly.

You can use the environment to stabilize your camera: Find a big, stationary object that you can use to prop it (or your arms) against: a door frame, a tree, a wall, a car, a piece of furniture.

But there’s also a tripod in just about every room in every house in the world. The threads at the top of a typical lamp — where the lampshade screws on — precisely fit the tripod mount underneath your camera. Remove the lampshade, screw the camera on, and presto: You’ve got a rock-steady indoor tripod. Yours free!

You’re welcome.

Adapted from “Pogue’s Basics,” Flatiron Books. Coming Dec. 9, 2014.

Book cover for 'Pogue's Basics'