Pic of the Month: February ‘11

by | Feb 28, 2011 | Pic of the Month | 8 comments

Under the Sun

Canon 40D, 17mm, f/2.8, 1/3200sec, ISO 100, Tripod used

Have you ever considered that all your wonderful camera equipment is not much more than this: weeds? Both will eventually break down. One more quickly than the other, of course, but neither of them will last very long.

And why do I say this? To warn you first of expecting from equipment more than you should, and second, to beware of using a tripod in deep snow. Tripods, especially lightweight ones, do not hold up well against the atypical pressure incurred when the legs, fully extended and opened to a leg angle of 25 degree or more, are placed without appropriate caution into snow 20 or more inches deep. While still providing a degree of stability, this depth is enough to make the tripod literally “float” in the snow without actually resting on the ground. It’s the equivalent of a person doing a leg split; it induces incredible stress on the upper portion of the legs, more than a tripod was built to endure. In my case, this resulted in a snapped tripod leg lever after only two weeks of use.

As far as I know, to prohibit this from happening, one must open the legs less than 25 degrees or not fully extend them before placing them into the snow. However careful one may be, there will always be problems and evidences of break down. Give your equipment to God, be as careful as you can, and just expect misfortune along the way!


  1. Allen P.

    Oh, is THAT how it broke! Good advice.

    • James Staddon

      Yup; I didn’t figure it out until yesterday. In my research on how to get the tripod fixed, I came up on another article that implied that the exact same thing had happened to someone else.

  2. Donald S.

    I think I will remember this picture for a long time James: the surprise of the suddenly-broken tripod, the brightness of the intensely-shining sun and the reminder from Ecclesiastes that things under the sun are temporal. God bless you and deepen your appreciation of eternal things.

  3. Esther Staddon

    I’m sorry, James! Your point is so clear! It’s hard not to get attached to temporal things.

  4. Mrs. A

    I am glad you shared this…not getting much snow, I would have never known this! Sorry your tripod broke though.

  5. Michael S.

    Wow. Is that because there was no traction for the tips of the legs? That would mostly be true of powdery snow from the extreme cold, whereas a wet snow could pack harder at the leg tips, preventing them from moving outward a little better. It would be the same on a sheet of ice such as a frozen pond wouldn’t it – just more noticeable and thus more preventable.
    That’s really sad. The Lord will supply your every need by His riches in glory through Christ Jesus. The more on earth we have the more on earth we can do and the more on earth we can lose. You have been a good example of being responsible while emotionally “holding all things loosely”.

  6. James Staddon

    Very true, Michael! I like the “frozen pond” example.

    It might also have something to do with the fact that it was below 0 degrees Fahrenheit; however, I don’t know enough about the type of metal the tripod is made of to know if this had any affect on making it being more “brittle” or not.



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