They are forever hard to break. They are especially hard to break when it comes to photography.
One of the reasons I decided to go with Minolta/Sony gear (this was when Minolta just started making dslr's) was because of the in body A/S. (VR or IS as it is often referred to) No other company at the time had in body anti-shake (in fact, it was Minolta who invented it) I never really wanted to carry my tripod around with me and the tripod I had back then was some cheap thing built for point and shoots. I also couldn't really hike much as it was when I started toi get really sick and my lungs were very fried (yes I have a lung disease I would later find out) so I would shoot a lot from the car with no support, relying on my cameras ability to get sharp shots at 1/10th a second. Sometimes I did, other times, I didn't. Of course not having the steadiest of hands doesn't help either.
In some ways I think I still have this habit of being a lazy shooter at times, knowing all well I should be using my tripod to get the shot I want, but my mind goes in to hyperdrive and often times I get so excited by the scene I am looking at that I want to do nothing but shoot it, fearing that it won't look the same 1 minute later. Last Fall I set on a personal quest to rid myself of this habit as best as possible, determined to do the very best I can do with using the gear which I have and to make every shot count. It is still rather hard at times as my oxygen level dramatically drops when I stand for more than 1 minute, but I am getting better with it all, and in it, I am finding that I am getting the shots I have always wanted to.
Last Fall I also invested in what I can only describe as the best $29 I have ever spend on photography equipment; a Puffin Pad Basically it is a beanbag alternative and comes in very handy as a full support that latches on to the car window. I use it a lot on my wildlife photography with my 400. I have also found it to be really worth wild for long and slow shutter exposures as well. This past December it came in especially handy when shooting the sunrise in the mountains. We were in the outflow of a powerful snowstorm with winds gusting to 60mpg at times. Not especially the kind of stuff you want to be outside in with bitter cold temps and wind. Tripods are known to be not exactly the warmest things on the planet, so I went ahead and decided to try my Puffin Pad out for the shot, using the car as a sort of shield from the elements. This is the shot I was able to take using it;
One of the best pieces of advice I can tell anyone when I am asked the question of "how can I be a better photographer? How can I get better looking pictures" is "don't be a lazt shooter, use what you have and use it to it's full extent. It will show in your images directly otherwise. If you need new equipment, things like filters, don't put it off, get some, even the cheap ones will help you versus nothing at all."
It has been interesting this year, with really poutting my foot forward, and it times it hasn't been physically easy for me, but the payoff has been rather priceless. I used to think a few years ago, that the sheer number of shots you got meant something. These days, I am finding that it is the number of GOOD shots that you get which means something. Quality over quantity. If you take your time and actually evaluate the scene, you will find that you can indeed get the shot that you want, just don't leave the tripod in the back seat (sans shooting at mid day...but who does that anyhow?) If you don't have one, buy one.
Here are a few shots taken this past Saturday night along Boreas Pass outside of Breckenridge, where the thought of "don't be a lazy shooter" kept running through my head as I stood here with my tripod about to pass out from lack of o2 lol The pay off though was worth it.