One could resort to digging :D
My Mannfrotto 055 will also flat out completely, but I havn't tried it with a 8kg
Linhof yet. Ole can I have yours :D
Using a long Makrotele as the 200 mm f/4.0 Mikronikkor or the Sigma 180mm f/3.5 Makro helps alot on the angle issue unless you really want to below your subjects. Then you have to resort to the digging.
I've found a Leica tabletop tripod (I use a Manfrotto ball head on it) useful for shooting ground-hugging wildflowers.
Another nod for the velbon ultra maxi. I actually have the luxi maxi and it's a great design.
Thanks to all for the many valuable replies! (My apologies for posting this, then taking so long to get back to it.... just got very busy with non-photography stuff, is all.)
For this work I mostly use two 35mm systems: 1) vintage Spotmatic gear and 2) Exakta gear that's even more vintage (vintag-er??). The Exakta has a lovely magnifying finder called a Magnear that provides very high eye relief but works in waist-level position. Any inverted post arrangement has to keep the camera upright to use this finder -- on the first page someone did post a pic of an inverted post set-up with the camera upright.
Thanks again for the replies. You guys and gals are amazing, and have given me a lot of options to think about!
You could always build a ground level camera platform.
Use a 1/2" piece of ply cut into a triangle appx 6-8" on a side.
Install a T nut about 1" in from each corner. One carriage bolt installed from the bottom in each corner.
Small ballhead installed in the center & you have a low-level camera camera camera platform with leveling feet.
Ole, I hang my Graphics upside down from an inverted center post. This lets me put the top of the camera at ground level, i.e., in contact with the soil. With full rise, I get the lens' axis fairly close to the soil too.
Please understand that working this way isn't easy. In fact it is somewhat painful, especially on rocky ground. Working this low with a Nikon is a little harder.
I have a Majestic 2051 tripod. This comes with a long center tube. I have a Bogen 3047 head. To allow for very low shooting I sawed off the center column so that about 6 inches of tube were left. I also raised the circurlar stops at the leg top. With these modifications I can get very low. The Majestic has been one of the most satisfactory purchases I ever made. Al;though I am using 35mm almost all of my work is done with a tripod mounted camera. The Bogen 3047 is beginning to wear out. I will be replacing the Bogen head with a large Majestic geared head.
I also have a Bogen 3021 with large ballhead. The tripod comes up way short as far as sturdiness is concerned.... It did not take much to wear it out. I also have a Tiltall that has been turned into junk by using it in the sand.
I am of the opinion that 35mm requires a very stable tripod more so than the other formats.
For small flower shooting and many other wildlife applications I think a simple beanbag beats a tripod in many cases.
It is extremely adaptable, easy to carry and if it is filled the polystyrene beads it is very light.