How to use Tripod at the beach?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by eric, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. eric

    eric Member

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    I'm a city guy now living by the beach (well, closer than the N Train to Coney Island). I've always wanted to take my gear down to Laguna Beach or Dana Point. No...not Holgas or toy cams :smile:, but my medium format and my future LF (he he, working on something).

    How do you keep the tripod from sinking into the soft wet sand while shooting?

    And I'm sure you rinse it and dry it when done?

    I love shots where I know the camera is right in middle of the water and I think "omg! what if falls! that's an expensive repair!"
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Bogen makes foot pad for tripods that are designed for sand or snow use, they are about 6" in diameter and give the legs a larger foot print.

    I made mine our of 3/4 ply-wood and drilled a recessed hole in the center, so the tripod leg sets in the recess and it accomplishs the same thing as the expensive ones that bogen sells. Don't drill the holes all the way through the wood, just a small recess will accomplish what need, which is to give the tripod a larger footprint

    Dave
     
  3. Wally H

    Wally H Member

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    I generally push the tripod down into the sand until it is stable (usually doesn't take but one, two, three, maybe six inches)... It reduces the affective height of the tripod but I just deal with it... Pushing it straight down creates a pressure pushing the legs out too so one doesn't always need to find bedrock below sand for a stable position...
     
  4. sbuczkowski

    sbuczkowski Member

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    Buy three cheap frisbees. set them down on the sand under the tripod feet. Also works great in the snow.

    Best of all, my set of frisbees cost about $4. I wish all photo problems could be solved with that little wallet involvement.

    Steven
     
  5. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    As soon as I get near a beach with a tripod, I extend the lower section to keep the collet out of the sand. You can never get the sand out of the collet.
     
  6. mfobrien

    mfobrien Member

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    buy three tennis balls and cut an X into each of them, push the tripos legs into the tennis ballls and they will keep the tripod from sinking into the sand.
     
  7. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    Just push the tripod down a bit. It does sink but not at a rate that's going to affect the image, and indeed whilst I photograph on beaches( dry or wet sand, sometimes in shallow water) extensively I can't recall ever having a blurred shot. On very wet sand, you have to keep adjusting the framing though and eventually its best to move the tripod and start again. I have noticed that very often when photographing on sand very close to the sea that I can feel a vibration through the tripod legs, and that doesn't seem to affect the photographs either.

    Cleaning tripods? Not really. My Manfrottos don't seem to jam up and I have to assume the sand falls out when its really dry. There's no visible corrosion either and frankly since both my leg-sets are several years old , if I do have to replace them soon I'll still consider they've given me good and undemanding service. I have trouble loving tripods.

    The toughest aspect, equipment -wise, of photographing on a beach is the wind-borne salt spray that gets all over my ND grads , polariser or front element and renders them unusable, sometimes in minutes, until I clean them
     
  8. Shmoo

    Shmoo Subscriber

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    Oh man, you're at the beach...3 beer cans...empty them (one way or another) then jam them on the tripod legs (kidding...sorta'). Oh yeah, you can use folded newspaper, bean bags, and paper plates as well. And to keep sand out? 3 ziploc bags and rubber bands.

    This is a fun thread for a change..I wonder how creative we can get?

    S
     
  9. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I shoot at the beach quite frequently; I use the same basic technique Wally described above - I've got a couple of photos in my personal gallery that were shot that way. Jam the tripod into the sand a couple of inches. I don't worry about cleaning my Bogen (Manfrottos), and I've never had any problem with it.
     
  10. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    As mentioned, it'll be stable if pushed into the sand until resistance stops it. But a wave will make the sand soft if it moves around the tri-pod, so be aware on long exposures. Thin flat boards screwed to the bottom of the legs works wonders. The weight:area ratio of the tri-pod tends to keep it from being washed away, if that is a concern :smile:. I watched an unpredicted wave lapping round the head of my tri-pod once - it kindly went away without causing too much trouble, and I went back to shooting again.

    Re Sand: I use a waterproof camera bag (Dry-Zone), and keep it high and dry on the rocks. Only open it when needing something, and shut it again :rolleyes:.
    Re Water: do always rinse, and rinse and ....
    Damp cloth thoroughly over the barrel of lenses then put in a dry place. Regularly disassemble and give them a good cleaning. Funny thing is, despite these precautions, if you are careful you should never see evidence of seawater or sand on your gear unless it has been windy.
    Have fun.
     
  11. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    Three crabs-pay them(in whatever food they want that day)to each hold a leg
    in their claws.The crabs are not only waterproof-but mobile-as long as you can get them to work together they can move your tripod as much or as lttle as you need and can even move further in the sand if they need to stabilize the tripod.Another plus-you're only renting them for the service-one less thing
    to pack up when you're done for the day :wink:

    Jim
     
  12. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    Hmmm....let's see...At the beach huh?
    Well, seems to me there might be seashells...find three halves and use 'em, then leave 'em. Or driftwood or whatever. Nothing extra to carry.
     
  13. PB001

    PB001 Member

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    I'm sure I left a tripod here somewhere....

     
  14. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I have also made my own special feet for the Manfrotto 0550Pro tripod:
    Glue disposable plastic "party" dishes together to make them firm and then glue soda bottle caps on them to make fittings for the legs.
     
  15. panchromatic

    panchromatic Member

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    No real advice here except I encountered the following situation:

    (i work at a camera store) I got a phone call one day. "ummm do you repair cameras?" I replied that we did so she said she'd come in. The next day a lady comes in with a plastic bag and asked if someone could help her with her camera. She pulls out a hassy 501(? i think) and its got sand all over it. At first i'm thinking oh man shes screwed... then i take the film back off... sand pours out...


    lets just say she wasn't happy to find out her camera required a miracle.

    Always remember ladies and gents... sand can be bad for your cameras health!
     
  16. PB001

    PB001 Member

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    Beer Cans


    Hey Shmoo,

    Sounds like a nice beech, over here when you're on the beech, it's a case of thermal undies, thermal suit, hot water bottle, polar bear repellent and if it's drinkable it better be steaming hot!

    Next time you're out for a shoot on the beech think of me?
     
  17. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    Sounds like your shooting with Ole ! Are you sure your still in England?
    :wink:

    Anyone have suggetions for tripods in fast moving water? I got some nice pics of vibrations.
     
  18. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Eric,

    I shoot often in the Florida Keys and not only can the sand be a problem but also the accumulation of salt, and salty mud especially in Mangroves when tide is out.

    I use a 3, 12 - 15 inch pieces of PVC pipe 1.5-2.5 inches, for each leg and just slip the leg inside. You can just cap it, or if the problem is mainly the sinking put a tee on the bottom. and extend each of those arms out 4 or 5 inches that usually does it, an additiona tee can be put on those two bottom feet arms , forming an H. All can be pulled apart and put in small draw string garbage container bag.
    If you wand to leave the PVC legs on the tripod, just drill a whole in the top ov the P V C leg and tie to tripod.



    One more little trick I use in the desert, If I feel my tripod is not stable enough, due to being too light or the wind etc..I always have several of the plastic grocery bags you carry out at the grocery store. I fill them with a good rock or two and pull them taunt with a small bungee I have wrapped around the tripod, Usually one bag centered beneath the tripod does the trick.

    Dave in Vegas
     
  19. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Oh,

    If you use the H pattern, you can use either 45 degree or 90 degree connectors for the bottom feet to keep the H or T on horizontal etc.
     
  20. Shmoo

    Shmoo Subscriber

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    Being female and not particularly prone to going into the plumbing section of the local hardware store, I have recently discovered the wonders of PVC pipe!!! It's like advanced tinkertoys! I'm going to have to try this with a "T" joint. Very clever and light weight...

    Oh yeah, and I keep an "S" hook or one of those metal hiking clips hooked on the loop on my Bogen...then hook my camera bag or backpack on it to weight it down...works well for stability.

    S
     
  21. Dr David Hall

    Dr David Hall Member

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    Tripod at the Beach

    Really like reading all the creative ways people come up with to address problems. I clean mine after use on a beach but the frisbee's etc. would even make that easier. Thanks