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Archive 2011 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!
  
 
Alex Nail
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Hi Folks,

On Friday and Saturday there will be a good chance to shoot the full moon setting behind a Dartmoor Tor. I have been waiting for this opportunity for 18 months now, but due to poor weather, the moon setting in the wrong direction, or simpy being unavailable, I havent had a chance previously. I specifically purchased a 400mm 5.6 and 1.4II just to get this shot!

The forecast for Friday and Saturday is excellent and I am very hopeful of getting the shot I want. However there is forecast to be some breeze and I know this setup is highly sensitive to vibration. I was hoping for adivce on how to stabilise my tripod….

I use a G2228 with BH40 (there is no chance of an upgrade ATM!)

Methods I would use are:
- Live view and shutter release
- Don't extend the last section of the legs or the center column
- Retract the lens hood
- Remove the camera strap
- Give the tripod a wide base
- Force the legs into the soft ground
- Weigh down the tripod with a bag hanging from the center column
- Use my body as a wind break

Questions are:

Does anyone have any experience of weighing a tripod down for stability? In my breif test the vibration wasn’t much improved because the bag acted as a pendulum!

Does anyone have any good ideas of how to effectively create a wind break? I'm expecting 15-20mph winds

Does anyone know what shutter speed could be used to make vibration a non-issue? (I doubt this could help but I thought I would ask)

Does anyone else have any other stabilisation/vibration reduction methods that they think will work? I am open to all suggestions!

PS I do realise that my tripod setup is inadequate for the setup but I will have to make do!

Edited on Dec 11, 2011 at 08:21 PM · View previous versions



Dec 07, 2011 at 08:24 AM
gardenvalley
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Hanging a bag from the centre column may help prevent the tripod blowing over but won`t have any effect on reducing vibration and as you have discovered may have the opposite effect. You need to add mass to the set up. A method I have used is to hang the camera bag from the top of the tripod ensuring that it couples directly to 2 of the legs or 1 leg and the centre column, although it may then catch the wind but it`s worth a try. A big heavy beanbag sitting on the lens may also help. Experience in industrial photography has taught me that if the the wind is strong enough any structure will vibrate, sometimes at different resonant frequencies making it difficult to overcome.


Dec 07, 2011 at 11:08 AM
_Rob_S_
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Could you try staking it out with strong stakes and lines, much like a tent?

Sounds like a great opportunity, be sure to post your results.

Rob



Dec 07, 2011 at 11:36 AM
sjms
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


in reality there is no physical way of stabilizing a tripod in winds at that level short of building a nice high wall around it. it not just the tripod its the whole assembly. the more you give the wind to grab the more it will. in the world of aerodynamics you lose.

gardenvalley has the best solutions that can be had short of the isolating wall. but even then that is limited

physics wins everytime.





Dec 07, 2011 at 12:44 PM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Another reason I come here - super info, advice and insight!


Dec 07, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Bernie
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


+1 Good info

Since the wind is the main issue, you might want to keep the tripod as low as possible, not extending the legs at all.

Metal fence stakes and plywood or plastic sheeting on the windward side might provide enough protection. You may need to add a prop to your makeshift windbreak if the wind is too strong.

Keep us posted and good luck!



Dec 07, 2011 at 02:40 PM
quicksilver33
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


What about a solid wood tripod? I think they're supposed to be super heavy/stable.


Dec 07, 2011 at 03:58 PM
sjms
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


many need to wrap their minds around this fact: a set of tripod legs, what ever they are made from, is not the cure all for movement/vibration in all situations. a tripod is but part of the equation
a tripod has some ability to reduce movement in a setup but far from all in many situations.
you have the large diameter long length lens barrel which is large and will have airflow over it. round as it is there's plenty of non smooth surface treatment on it to create turbulance. on the other side where the moving air comes back together is also turbulent air. aerodynamic its not.
you also most likely will have the hood on. this is also a great hood scoop. the camera body is not too aero in design and gives lots of purchase area for wind to "grab".
it's the little stuff that gets ya in the end.




Dec 07, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Roland W
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Given the situation and the limitations you have, your list is fairly complete about what can be done. The previous mention of adding a mass bag of some sort on top of the lens could be helpful. I find that using your body to block from the up wind side can be a big factor, and if you could find another willing person, their body may help on the down wind side. The key thing I have had good luck with is to time my shots to just after a lull in the wind. I know you will not have a big time window to work with, but still, most wind has lulls and peaks, so try. You want the camera and lens to have a second or two after a wind peak to dampen out some before an exposure if you can get that. And it may be obvious, but taking a lot of exposures should also help improve the chances of some being the best quality. And for any weight you add to the bottom of the tripod, keep the weight dense and hung as high as possible, so that it does not have as much movement with the wind.

For what ever you do, you can do some advance checking of how things are by going to live view, and setting the magnification to maximum, and focusing on some high contrast subject, and then looking at how stable things are on the screen. You can try tapping sidways on the lens a little to simulate wind, and then seeing differences with things like adding a mass bag on top of the lens, or changing what you hang from the center of the tripod.

You did not mention about trying things in the days before your best chances. I would suggest you do some dry runs that will allow you to understand exposure issues, so that they will be perfect. It is really easy to blow out the details of the moon in any moonrise or moonset shot. And if you believe in doing exposure combines, you may want to take some shots that expose the moon perfectly, and then some with a longer exposure that shows the sky and the hills better, and then combine them in post processing. Because the moon will be moving in the frame, you need to do a more complex combine, but if the sky is uniform that is not too hard.

By checking out things in advance, you may find locatons available that have less wind effect, but still allow a good foreground and the same distant scene. The weather may be different on your actual shooting days than the advance checks, but the more experience you have with possible locations, the better chance you will have to pick the best one for the real shot days.

And thank you for the reminder about this full moon. In my location, a full moon moon rise over our local snow covered mountains is something I need to try, and our weather has been unusually good lately. I may just need to go scout a place and be prepared to roll the dice with the weather gods.



Dec 07, 2011 at 05:47 PM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


I'm going to ask a stupid question, but throwing it out there...

After you've got the tripod sturdy, bagged, staked, etc., and you're set with good camera techniques like MUP, cord release, etc. would it be useful to have a sturdy umbrella you could use to hold next to the camera to give it a break from the worst of the wind? I'm thinking of one of those big, vented golf umbrellas held under my arm and over my back, with myself and the umbrella interposed between the camera and the wind. Create a "cone" of less turbulence?

I'm sure it isn't a cure, but seems like it would give you a pretty significant benefit...



Dec 07, 2011 at 06:15 PM
 

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Alex Nail
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Roland W wrote:
You did not mention about trying things in the days before your best chances. I would suggest you do some dry runs that will allow you to understand exposure issues, so that they will be perfect. It is really easy to blow out the details of the moon in any moonrise or moonset shot. And if you believe in doing exposure combines, you may want to take some shots that expose the moon perfectly, and then some with a longer exposure that shows the sky and the hills better, and then combine them in post processing. Because the moon
...Show more
Combining frames is something I am accustomed to. Hopefully if the light balance is right it wont be necessary but I have done it before in the past:







Roland W wrote:
By checking out things in advance, you may find locations available that have less wind effect, but still allow a good foreground and the same distant scene. The weather may be different on your actual shooting days than the advance checks, but the more experience you have with possible locations, the better chance you will have to pick the best one for the real shot days.

This is good advice of course, but Dartmoor is very exposed and there is one Tor I have been wishing to photograph for ages because it has such and interesting silhouette!

Right I am off right now to try a few things. I have my sharp shot of the moon, now lets try some of these techniques......

Thanks for the advice thus far

EDIT: No wind! I'll have to try tomorrow



Dec 07, 2011 at 07:39 PM
sjms
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


M635_Guy wrote:
I'm going to ask a stupid question, but throwing it out there...

After you've got the tripod sturdy, bagged, staked, etc., and you're set with good camera techniques like MUP, cord release, etc. would it be useful to have a sturdy umbrella you could use to hold next to the camera to give it a break from the worst of the wind? I'm thinking of one of those big, vented golf umbrellas held under my arm and over my back, with myself and the umbrella interposed between the camera and the wind. Create a "cone" of less turbulence?

I'm sure it isn't
...Show more

and that would be a good idea. umbrella size matching the rig size and close to it.



Dec 07, 2011 at 09:16 PM
Alex Nail
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Ah yes and I like the umbrella idea, particularly as it is more portable than other wind breaks and I can imagine having to continually reposition my camera as the moon moves.


Dec 07, 2011 at 09:22 PM
bipock
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Far from being an aerodynaics expert, but I'll throw my $.02 in.

If you choose to use the bag method, find a way to tie it to the tripod and let it touch the ground - think boat anchor but with no flex. It should barely rest on the ground.

Secondly, to stabilize the lens, use a bag of peas or a towel to dampen vibrations. In daylight, super tele users "rest" their hand on the barrel to do this.

Third, once you have the shot composed, use your self as a windbreaker or wall, shielding the setup from the wind by forcing it around you. Get tight to the tripod without touching it.



Dec 07, 2011 at 09:24 PM
runamuck
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Just don't extend the legs and sit on the ground.


Dec 10, 2011 at 11:24 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Have you considered using a bean bag on the ground, or on top of something stable that's located conveniently nearby, like a stone wall?


Dec 10, 2011 at 11:47 PM
Bearmann
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


You can use bungee cords attached to your heavy camera bag on the ground under the tripod with the other end of the bungee attached to the center column hook. (hope it has one or improvise). Or attach both ends to the bag and loop the center over the hook. Leave the hood off which catches the wind.


Dec 11, 2011 at 01:43 AM
Alex Nail
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Thanks for all the advice on this thread. There were 2 things that helped me to stabilise the tripod in the wind (which was around 15-20mph)

I hung 10kg of dumbbells from the centre column, the stuff sack they were in was in contact with the ground. If allowed to swing it completely destabilised the tripod.

Secondly I used an umbrella as a windbreak. This was a simple but brilliant idea and made a significant difference.

This is the result, exactly the image I had planned. Thanks all.






http://www.alexnail.com/latest/staple-tor-moon/



Dec 11, 2011 at 08:24 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


Beautiful photo Alex. It pays to plan ahead.


Dec 11, 2011 at 09:43 PM
sjms
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Stabilising a tripod in the wind UPDATED!


excellent


Dec 11, 2011 at 10:29 PM
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