How to use Tripod at the beach?
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 , 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!"
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
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...
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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.
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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.
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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.
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
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?
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.
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 . 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.
Originally Posted by eric
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.