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  1. #1

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    Tales of Tripod woes and still learning after all these years

    I'm making this post as a funny bone tickler and a lesson for the new and old timers who do large format. I was up in Vt this past week and was my kodak 33a 5x7 and a slik 500dx tripod...well not exactly using because as soon as I removed it from the car one of the legs snapped off due to the cold (carbon fiber) so I made some 2 legged photos with the aid of the snowbanks. but when the second leg broke off I was in deep s...t!! went back to Richard Ritters house and he lent me his lightweight Zone VI wooden tripod and I was finally able to go and make some photos. At the same time I came to realize the difference in a good tool for the job...deep snowbanks; wind;passing trucks and other such inconveniences were no match for me now!! the wood never failed to move freely in the cold and filled with snow too...a really good learning curve
    now the slik is not a bad tripod and I own 2 of them...but being cheap carbon fiber it broke like a toothpick in the cold and I can't imagine what it might do in other extreme conditions. so after years and years of assorted metal; aluminum and other such idiocy I'm going for wood. you can repair it in the field or go to the hardware store. make sure your batteries are fresh too as my lightmeter died the same day. you see one is never too experienced to learn something. I'm hoping to go on some long trips to photograph and that single day in Vt in the freezing cold was worth a lot of time saved
    have a great day!!!
    Best, Peter
    Last edited by Peter Schrager; 01-22-2011 at 11:00 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: not finished
    website down for maintenance!

  2. #2

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    OUCH!!
    John Bowen

  3. #3

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    no ouch John...one my best learning days in the last 10 years....
    Peter
    website down for maintenance!

  4. #4
    lns
    lns is offline

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    Thanks for sharing this. I've never heard that carbon fiber tripods break in the snow and cold. It seems strange, since that material is used for bicycles and boats and all sorts of equipment.

    -Laura

  5. #5

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    Carbon fiber replaces glass fibers in composite materials. It is brittle just like glass, but is stronger. Thin composites lose their elasticity and break easily when they get cold. Saturn composite body panels shatter in the cold winters here and so do ABS bumper covers. In warm weather they just deform and will pop back to their original shape.

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    "Carbon fiber" describes a fair range of materials, so some types are going to hold up better under different conditions.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7

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    Peter,

    Check your PMs
    John Bowen

  8. #8
    bobwysiwyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Schrager View Post
    ..make sure your batteries are fresh too as my lightmeter died the same day.
    Best, Peter
    May have just been the cold also if the meter were out and exposed (no pun ). Battery efficiency drops off quickly. I keep a second set for my Nikon N90 in an inside pocket and swap them if necessary to warm the first set. Usually takes a good deal of outside cold time though.
    WYSIWYG - At least that's my goal.

    Portfolio-http://apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=25518

  9. #9

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    Before you go someplace as cold as the northern tier or the Great White North, put your camera in
    the freezer(in a bag of course) and check that your shutter is somewhat normal, and that any auto
    diaphragms don't stop down too slowly.
    (Then back in the bag to limit condensation)
    I put it in the car, test, then bag and bring in the house. Two lenses waiting for CLA right now,
    they're only good to 20 or so.

    if it's so beautiful, do you want to buy some land?

  10. #10
    23mjm's Avatar
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    It would seem that Silk used a cheap substandard materials. There are many many applications that utilize carbon fiber. Airplane wings are being made of carbon fiber, it's cold at 48,000 feet. Bicycles are made of carbon fiber, ever seen a Belgian cyclocross race in a snowy winter night. Ski poles are being made of carbon fiber for both cross country and downhill. The list could go on. FIWI I have used my Fiesol carbon fiber tripod in cold snowy conditions without a problem, I even put it n the back of my truck fully extended and drive around looking for my next photo!!

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