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Thread: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    near Seattle, WA
    Posts
    754

    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    Another thought for stabilizing: Add a small-link chain (either nearly weightless plastic, or metal if concerned about breaking in cold climate) to your kit. Place an S-hook in each end link. Wrap one end around the tripod's spider platform and hook to a link (or use the column's hook if there is one). Let the chain hang down so you can create a stirrup under your boot, using the same technique as at the upper attachment. The height of the stirrup above ground is then adjustable; it should only need a slight ground clearance. You can then press downward with your boot to stabilize the tripod and there's no need to go looking for rocks. Stretchy cords are not as effective as chain links. The length of chain needed to satisfy your highest tripod use can be determined at home prior to heading out. Hope this is all clear; it's easier done than said.

  2. #12

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    Feb 2015
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    Sheridan, Colorado
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    713

    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    I'm amazed by all the time-wasting antics you guys and gals have come up with. Apparently, you have never read about Ansel Adams' and "Moonrise, Hernandez": http://anseladams.com/ansel-adams-anecdotes/. I know that large format is slower than other formats, but by the time you "get everything together", the "picture" might well be gone.

  3. #13

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    near Seattle, WA
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    754

    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    xkaes - I HAVE read about AA's Moonrise experience, several versions in fact, and none mention a challenge with wind. Had he been faced with that challenge, I think his chances of success would have plummeted to zero. Dealing with wind - and its sometimes shifting direction - requires some ingenuity for large format users. Most solutions require forethought and planning plus a finite amount of time to implement when needed. If you’ve found your “camera bag & shoulder strap” works for you, that’s great. I’m sure it’d work if shooting with a bellow-less “pea shooter”, but wind and bellows usually don’t go together well. My offering takes just about a minute to set up. I know from past decades LF work in snow-covered mountaineering environments that two factors most in need of attention are: 1) wind on the bellows and 2) tripod settling in the snow and screwing up composition. I could stomp on the snow and compact it under each tripod foot to help with that problem, but I never did solve the shifting wind thing – have you?

  4. #14

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    Feb 2015
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    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    I was not referring to Moonrise as being a "wind" issue. It was, however, a "time" issue. If AA had to fumble around looking for rocks or whatever, he would have lost it. I've been there in wind and without. Sometimes you don't have time to "screw around".

    And I agree with you on the wind-bellows issue. There have been plenty of times, as I mentioned earlier, that the most stable tripod in the world would not solve the bellows problem. The only, partial, solution is to stand between the wind and the bellows and use the shortest lens you can bare with the shortest shutter speed and fastest film.

    FYI, if you ever find yourself in the middle of Great Sand Dunes National Park, you better not waste your time looking for a rock or anything to stake down your tripod. It's usually pretty windy there -- that's why the sand dunes are there. It's simply you and your gear. My approach takes about two seconds to "set up" and saves time trying to find/adjust things. Every thing I need is right between my knees.

  5. #15

    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    Coming back to the original theme, xkeas which tripod(s) have you brought the the middle of the Great Sand Dune National Park, and if you've done any mountaineering, which tripod(s) did you use?

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Gauthier View Post
    Coming back to the original theme, xkeas which tripod(s) have you brought the the middle of the Great Sand Dune National Park, and if you've done any mountaineering, which tripod(s) did you use?
    My tripod is a Gitzo Reporter Performance with a Gitzo #2 275 ballhead -- bought well before carbon fiber hit the market. It has been to the Great Sand Dunes several times -- obviously off-trail. It has also been across the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico -- too many times to remember. In the Wind River Range of Wyoming, I have crossed it several times -- a couple in knee deep snow -- usually off-trail. It takes several days to get in there and get back, but they are the most beautiful mountains between the Canadian Rockies and the Andes!

    As asked earlier -- check my first response to your question -- I don't know how "mountaineering" is defined for you. I call what I do hiking or backpacking. I don't need to try to glorify it. I am not a "peak-bagger". I am a photographer. I rarely go to the top of a 14er. All you see there are rocks and crowds. The more numerous 12ers and 13ers usually don't have trails, don't have people, and aren't just a pile of rocks -- most of which are too large to stabilize a tripod.

  7. #17

    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    Good sir, perhaps you mistake me for a charlatan. Many do tend to glorify their activities. If you understand the difference between hiking/backpacking and mountaineering, than you already know the answer to your question. My website is included if you need further clarification. .

    Trying my best to keep my kit <13 kg, which includes camera gear, safety gear, tools, consumables. etc, which is difficult with a tripod >2kg. The Gitzo reporter looks dreamy. I guess they've discontinued that product line.

  8. #18

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    Feb 2015
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    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    Maybe the Gitzo Reporter series is dead. I would be surprised since it was very popular. It is not light, but not as heavy as many. I like that it will go completely flat if the center column is removed, plus the center column is reversable, as well. I've taken many pictures with it in the middle of streams without problems.

    And I don't consider you a charlatan or anything else. It's just nice to define terms before discussing the issue.

    Here is a view of most of my gear -- ready to go!!!

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...kpack-Question

  9. #19

    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    aw man, seeing your kits makes me want to get out there and shoot! The custom rig you have on that T 600 looks real nice.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    90

    Re: 4x5 tripod for mountaineering

    Patrick, I've carried a 4X5 system deep into the Wind Rivers and Tetons to heights of 12,000 feet. These are week long backpacking trips with days on end above timberline (10,000 ft). My camera is the lightweight Nagaoka and my lens kit consists of 5 compact lenses, a 75mm, 90mm, 135mm, 210mm and a 300mm. The last two are Artar-type designs, small and light and the two wides, are relatively compact, a Goerz Rectogon and a Rodenstock WA Geronar. The whole kit is quite small, about the size of a six-pack. The tripod I'm currently using is a Feisol 3401 with a 1lb vintage Gitzo 3 way head (0 series). Feisol makes even lighter tripods, a good choice would be the 3441T or 3441S. They are supremely rigid, relatively compact and tall enough to avoid using the center column. To additionally secure the tripod in breezy conditions, rather than hang a pack from the center column hook, I carry a titanium tent peg (.3 oz), stake it in under the tripod and use a very thin tent cord with an adjustable tensioner to create an extremely tight secure guy line to ground. The guy line essentially does away with any tripod vibrations. Above timberline it's usually windy, so employing this guy line provides additional security. A bellows camera as we all know, is essentially a sail atop the tripod. If I don't have soil to pound the stake into, I have a loop in the guy line that I can secure around a substantial rock.

    There are a number of lightweight ball heads in the 3/4 lb range, but I prefer a 3 way head for its precise adjustment in each plane. Besides owning two vintage Gitzos that come in exactly at pound (which includes a quick release plate system) I also have a compact 3 way Manfrotto head (model 3437) that weighs in at 1 lb. All three of these heads provide the required rigidity for a typical 4X5 field camera. With a lightweight carbon fiber Feisol and an suitable head, you can have an ultra rigid rig that comes in at 3 3/4 lbs. You could even consider removing the adjustable center column and mount your head directly to the top of the tripod (Feisol makes a simple plate with the 3/8 mounting screw and a hook positioned underneath) to save even more weight and further minimize vibrations.

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