Perhaps the less glamorous side of landscape photography… is there a glamorous side?! 😜 Nevertheless it’s absolutely essential, particularly if you shoot by the coast as much as I do. Crunchy salt encrusted twist locks, anyone? The whole “Tripod Day Spa” thing became somewhat of a running joke after this post on Google plus… remember Google Plus?
Why on earth would you do this? Well because, like any piece of equipment you use, your tripod gets dirty. Exposed to the elements, such as salt spray from the sea in particular builds up in the threads and joints. Use your tripod on the beach, add some sand to the mix. Use it on the banks of lakes and rivers, add some fine mud in the mix too. All in all your tripod has a tough life, and needs a little bit of care and attention once and a while.
It can be quiet daunting initially, to strip your tripod down to this level. My Really Right Stuff Tripod and head strips down to 65 individual components, some of them being very small indeed. Previous Tripods I’ve owned had even more parts. The key is to take your time and keep all your parts together in one central location. Also it can help to take pictures of assembled components prior to striping them down, as it can save a lot of head scratching when it comes to putting them back together. RRS have put together an excellent 7 part video series on their YouTube Channel (see below) covering everything you need to know about maintenance.
I’ve been using a Really Right Stuff TVC-23 Carbon Fibre Tripod and BH-55 Ballhead for nearly 3 years now, and have been really happy. While they are expensive it really is one of those cases of buy it once & buy it right. The Tripod paired with their Foot Spikes offer absolute stability when shooting on the beach even when you are fighting in waves. Topped off with their Sony A7RII BA7R2-L L-Bracket I have absolute confidence of zero movement when shooting multi-minute long exposures, even in challenging conditions. The build quality really is second to none, which becomes even more apparent when you strip it down like this. RRS engineer their equipment to very fine tolerances and are built to last.
Full Disclosure | I have no relationship with Really Right Stuff at this time, other than being a customer. This is not meant in any way as an endorsement of their products or services but it does reflect that I have a positive experience with Really Right Stuff and their products.