Choos­ing a tri­pod for pho­tog­ra­phy in the win­ter is not as easy as it seems at first glance. If for shoot­ing in a stu­dio or in warm weath­er you can give pref­er­ence to any mod­el that fits the tech­ni­cal para­me­ters, then in win­ter every­thing becomes more com­pli­cat­ed due to the incon­ve­niences char­ac­ter­is­tic of this time of year. Let’s take a look at what prob­lems you might encounter and how to solve them with the help of the right tri­pod and acces­sories for it.

Pho­to: leatherman.com

Tripod freezes through

It is quite pre­dictable that at sub-zero tem­per­a­tures the tri­pod is very cold and because of this, hands are very cold. The prob­lem becomes espe­cial­ly crit­i­cal if the legs are made of alu­minum, although it is extreme­ly unpleas­ant to hold cold plas­tic in your hand at an air tem­per­a­ture of ‑20 ° C. Even mit­tens or gloves do not save: although hands do not freeze so much with them, anoth­er prob­lem appears — the mate­r­i­al can freeze to the alu­minum sur­face of the tri­pod. Pho­tog­ra­phers can offer two solu­tions:

one. Choose a tri­pod with a car­ry­ing han­dle. One suit­able option is the Ray­lab Trav­el 63. It has a plas­tic han­dle that makes it easy to move the tri­pod between shoot­ing points.

2. Use polyurethane leg pads, which are sold sep­a­rate­ly and fas­tened with Vel­cro (Git­zo GC2560). Some tripods come with them from the fac­to­ry (for exam­ple, the Ray­lab Pro 65).

Thanks to the han­dle and soft grips, the Ray­lab Trav­el 63 tri­pod is easy to car­ry even in win­ter. Pho­tos: raylab.ru

Feet slip on ice or sink into snow

These two win­ter tri­pod prob­lems also have sev­er­al solu­tions:

one. Wider tri­pod feet. Due to the fact that the con­tact area with the loose sur­face increas­es, the legs are not pushed into fresh­ly fall­en snow or thawed por­ridge. Feet can be pur­chased sep­a­rate­ly.

2. spikes. This is an option for icy sur­faces. In the snow, such legs are use­less, but they lit­er­al­ly crash into the ice and pro­vide sta­bil­i­ty to the tri­pod. Sold sep­a­rate­ly. Man­frot­to 116SPK3 studs have proven them­selves well. There is also a Ray­lab Pro 75 tri­pod with inter­change­able spikes as stan­dard.

3. Suck­ers. Anoth­er good option for set­ting up a tri­pod on ice, and thanks to the increased con­tact area, you can also work on snow. Some mod­els of suc­tion feet have remov­able spikes, such as the Man­frot­to 204SCK3.

four. Spac­er. An indis­pens­able ele­ment that does not allow the legs to move apart on a slip­pery sur­face and increas­es the sta­bil­i­ty of the tri­pod.

With these inter­change­able Man­frot­to legs, the tri­pod will def­i­nite­ly not fall into the snow. Pho­to: newsshooter.com

Tripod wobbles and vibrates

The sta­bil­i­ty of a tri­pod depends not only on the legs, but also on the qual­i­ty of the con­struc­tion as a whole. The fol­low­ing fac­tors are impor­tant here:

Dis­tance between tri­pod legs. The wider they are, the more sta­ble the struc­ture on the snow.

Num­ber of sec­tions. It varies from 2 to 5. The more sec­tions, the worse the sta­bil­i­ty. The Ray­lab Trav­el 55 tri­pod with three sec­tions is a good option if you want the sweet spot.

Hook for car­go. By means of a hook, the tri­pod struc­ture is made heav­ier, mak­ing it more sta­ble when using heavy cam­eras. You can also hang a bag with equip­ment on the hook so that you do not have to leave it in the snow, for exam­ple. Such tripods are offered by Fal­con Eyes, which has a Trav­el Line series. All mod­els includ­ed in it have hooks.

The weight. Log­i­cal­ly, heavy tripods are more sta­ble. In this regard, it is bet­ter to choose mod­els made of alu­minum, for exam­ple Ray­lab Pro 65. There is also a down­side to the coin — met­al tripods vibrate more. Car­bon ones are less prone to vibra­tions, but in severe frost this prop­er­ty dis­ap­pears.

It is con­ve­nient to hang a pho­to bag on the tri­pod hook so as not to throw it into the snow. Pho­to: oreilly.com

Tripod material becomes brittle

In the cold, all plas­tic ele­ments freeze through, become brit­tle and can break. There are two solu­tions: buy high-qual­i­ty mod­els made of high-qual­i­ty plas­tic or car­bon fiber, or give pref­er­ence to alu­minum tripods, such as the already men­tioned Ray­lab Pro 65. The man­u­fac­tur­er SIRUI has a series of out­door tripods; . Just keep in mind that met­al struc­tures can have plas­tic ele­ments, and it is they who will become weak points in extreme cold.

The durable and func­tion­al Ray­lab Pro 65 tri­pod has no prob­lems with the fragili­ty of the struc­ture in the cold. Pho­tos: raylab.ru

What else to pay attention to

Win­ter pho­tog­ra­phy out­doors often involves work­ing on uneven sur­faces. To facil­i­tate the task of posi­tion­ing the cam­era, it is bet­ter to choose a tri­pod with a lev­el plate. Many begin­ners under­es­ti­mate the impor­tance of this ele­ment, but in fact it sig­nif­i­cant­ly speeds up the instal­la­tion of the cam­era par­al­lel to the ground. This is espe­cial­ly use­ful when shoot­ing archi­tec­ture or land­scapes. There is no need to be afraid that the liq­uid in the lev­el bub­ble will freeze, since it is eth­yl alco­hol, not water.

A lev­el on a tri­pod helps to posi­tion the cam­era in the snow. Pho­to: bwillcreative.com

Anoth­er non-obvi­ous point that is easy to for­get is con­den­sa­tion. When a tri­pod is brought indoors after shoot­ing in the cold, water droplets appear on it. This is not a prob­lem, but the con­den­sa­tion must be allowed to dry. If you don’t do this and go back out­side, the mois­ture will freeze and you won’t be able to unfold or adjust the legs.

If you fold a frozen tri­pod and leave it in a warm room, con­den­sa­tion will remain inside the struc­ture, and the next time you shoot in the cold, even after 1–2 days, you may encounter the same prob­lem. To pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing, do not be lazy, when you come home, imme­di­ate­ly unfold the tri­pod, wipe the legs from mois­ture and leave for a short while in this posi­tion until com­plete­ly dry.