Blue Hour

Step-by-step D.I.Y instructions for making your own Tripod snake.


Problem: very expensive tripod with delicate joints being used on a black sandy beach with big wave swells on a regular basis.


I love getting close to the waves on the beach at Jökulsarlon.  My previous Gitzo tripod was great in the sea, but I wanted more stability and a tripod without a center column, so that I could get down low if needed.  After a week on the beach with my new gitzo, the amount of sand and sea water getting into the joints was shocking and that grinding sound was not very inviting on such a high quality tool. It is a heavy tripod, so useful for beach photography.


How can you protect your expensive Gitzo tripod from sand and sea water, in sometimes extreme conditions?

Ice Tourist

Most of my shots only work because I get in among the action. I want to be where the interaction of Ocean and beach are exciting. This means having a tripod system that you are confident to get wet.


Current solutions:

My solution
This idea was inspired by watching a snake swallow an egg and also my love of bicycle inner-tubes (and other rubber objects). The concept is very simple and cheap to make at home, but if anyone wants to take this to market, good luck (drop me a line I might post a link to your product).

What you need

Tripodsnake

Bicycle inner tube the same size as your tripod leg. Plastic tube 10% larger than your biggest joint.

I was hunting around in my kitchen cupboard, and I found a Supplement container.  I cut the top and bottom off the Supplement container to create a tube, then stretch the rubber tube over the plastic tube.  Make 3 of them, but test each one for length until you are satisfied. Stretching the rubber over the plastic tube can be tricky.

The final stage should look something like this.

TripodSnake

Bicycle inner tube stretched over Plastic tube until the top of the rubber tube shrinks to its original size.

The length of the rubber tube only needs to be as long as your needs dictate. If you shoot low to the ground, you will only need a short tube. If you often have your tripod at full height, you might want to build a smaller version to protect just the bottom sections. In any case, you will need a couple of inches over the shortest use (needs revision).

Extra tripod protection

TripodSnake

Use what extra rubber tubing to cover the top leg section.

This serves as a very nice grip, especially delicious in cold weather.
TripodSnake

Make sure it is long enough to cover the joint grip on the top leg section.

Next… It is as easy as slipping the plastic tube over your tripod joint. This is the moment of truth when you find out if you got the sizes correct. When the tripod leg is touching the ground, the extra rubber should fold creating a semi-seal. It is important to note that this doesn’t give your tripod 100% protect, but it does give it a lot of protection. You may need to continue washing your tripod legs occasionally.
TripodSnake


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