Q&A Tripod shake in the wind

Question from Stephanie:
“Hi everyone, I went to photograph the Shard last Friday and from my elevated position, the wind was causing the tripod to shake quite a bit. Many more photos than I’d normally expect were showing signs of blurring. Any advice would be welcome!”

Stephanie observed that her tripod was shaking in the wind. There are at least 2 causes for this problem. The simple version is to observe that this implies that the tripod and camera combination were too light for the conditions. It might also have been a sign that the tripod was too flimsy, or had too much slack in the joints, but I’ll assume thatt Stephanie has done the basic maintenance.

The simplest trick, if possible, is to use the tripod lower. Less distance to shake, and always extend the thicker parts of the legs in preference to the thin parts, Do not extend the centre column at all (that’s the wobbliest part).

Tripod with hook to hang a stabilising weight

3LT Tripod with hook to hang a stabilising weight

If that does not work, then many tripods have a hook underneath, at the bottom of the centre shaft for instance, and the idea here is to hang something heavy, like a camera bag from the hook to anchor the tripod better. If there is no hook, one gets an accessory sling bag that hangs between all three legs of the tripod (eg 3-Legged-Thing tripods that we advertise on the club site sell just such an accessory) that again one can load up with some extra weight to improve the stability.

Tripod with 3LT ballast tray

Kood Tripod using 3LT ballast tray

If that also fails, then look for a different shorter support, as I’ve not been up the Shard (yet) I don’t know if these suggestions apply up there. The simplest is a bean bag to lean your camera on. the trixiest is the Magic Arm with clamp – Multi position camera holder which also gets round many venue’s “No Tripods” rules Reported by locals as being particularly useful when visiting New York, where this rule is pervasive. The Magic Arm suggestion came from “RC” Conception of NAPP on the D-Town TV video Podcast

The Magic Arm allows you to clamp your camera to railings or similar, the assumption being that the building itself will move very slowly relative to your shutter speed.

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