Tripods with sand & salt water: Sea worthy sticks? at

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Old September 25th, 2005, 06:24 PM   #1
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Tripods with sand & salt water: Sea worthy sticks?

Any advice for using a tripod in sand & salt water? Or should I just use some cheap throwaway sticks? Perhaps a rental?

It's for a beach resort promo. I'll be shooting some water sports and B footage on a sandbar about 100 feet from the beach. The tripod will be sitting in 1-3 feet of water.

I tested out my cheap SLIK tripod for about 30 minutes, had to give it a good washing when I was done, and I can still hear sand rattling around in the joints. I'm hesistant to use my more expensive Manfrotto/Bogen.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 06:38 PM   #2
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Not sure there are any sticks that will take the sand but the saltwater for a short time is not usually a problem with anodized aluminum.

Better bet though would be to get some of those long plastic bags, like for umberellas and put them over the legs. Check each one for holes before putting them on. Or plastic sheet tubeing and cover them with that. Just tape everything down tight so that there is little or no air inside them. Don't want the thing to float away!!! Oh, and reenforce the bottoms where they touch the ground,(outside of the bags), so no holes get poked into them.

Which ever you choose, remove them right afterward, and make sure there were no leaks. If there were, rinse right away.

Good Luck!

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Old September 25th, 2005, 11:36 PM   #3
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Old September 26th, 2005, 04:09 AM   #4
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Sand will get into everything that moves. Nothing much you can do about it except to clean it as best as you can afterward.

Plastic bags -- the heaviest and toughest you can find -- will help protect against sand and salt water, but only if they remain puncture-free. Even if they do puncture, it'll probably help against sand.

Salt can be a real problem and flushing it out by a couple of dunks in fresh water will help. Not just rinse, but actually soaking the parts that were exposed.

If you're willing to invest in a small bottle of Salt Away that will help clear out any salt that may have dried in place. One ounce makes 4 gallons. Non-toxic and biodegradable.

Afterward, dry it out as best as you can and spray any metal parts with either WD40 or Corrosion Block.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 04:33 AM   #5
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If you are in three feet of salt water you must be about waist deep. I think I'd be just as worried about the camera getting splashed in salt water. I think I'd make sure the camera was fitted with a rain jacket and try and make do with a monopod. You may be able to make a makeshift monopod out of a pole. Then throw it away after the jobs done.
Fit a plate to the pole and insert a screw up into the camera tripod fitting. You need to charge enough out of this job to cover equipment protection and any wear and tear on your gear. Otherwise the job might just not be worth it.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 05:05 AM   #6
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We shoot like this very often

rule of the game is to completely take the tripod apart afterwards and clean it properly to make sure the sand and saltwater comes off
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Old September 27th, 2005, 12:39 AM   #7
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Assuming it's just the tripod legs that will be under water, heavily taping up all the joints would do the trick, would it not? Maybe charge an extra $x to cover the cost of a new cheap tripod that you could discard after the shoot.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 06:27 AM   #8
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In addition to the sand and surf issues, wave action will be knocking you and the camera around. As mentioned, splashing on the camera is a problem. Since I do this at an annual event, I built a stand based on a Gorilla Model 01-24001-01 aluminum step ladder using PVC that put my equipment and the operator above the surf. Wave action glides through the open legs. The added height may or may not be your desired POV but was great for keeping other people from blocking my shot.

You have to build a sled for the legs so they don't drill into the sand which is another problem you'll have with a tripod. Use all stainless steel bolts. It cost me around $80 and took around a day to design and manufacture. I had several fishermen offer to buy it from me.
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