|My tripod stabilized with a heavy bag of rocks during a time-lapse series.|
Or, add the extra weight once you're on location: One way to get the stability of a heavy tripod is the add the weight or ballast after you get to your location. Ballast is often defined as the heavy material that is placed in the hold of a ship to enhance stability. In my night photography, this ballast comes in the form of a canvas shopping bag that is partially filled with rocks (gathered on location) and hung from the bottom center of the tripod.
The day or night solution to sharp images: I often use this same technique for my daytime photography. The new light-weight carbon fiber tripods are very sturdy, but I've discovered that even a medium breeze can sometimes shake my camera and blur my images. Adding ballast in the field offers a win-win solution!
In the night scene below I captured the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River bathed by the light of a quarter moon. Six hours later, after the moon had set, I was able to capture the glory of the Milky Way. Because the weighted tripod remain perfectly stable between the two exposures, combining these two images was fairly easy in post production.
|Grand Canyon and the Colorado River bathed by moonlight ~ © Royce Bair|
|6 hours later, with the moon gone, I can now capture the glory of the Milky Way ~ © Royce Bair|
|In post production, I easily combined the two exposures because of perfect alignment, due to a stable tripod.|
When I am on unstable soil, i.e. sand, I also take the precaution of placing flat rock supports under my tripod legs so there is less chance of shifting between exposures. (During the night, wind gusts reached over 40 mph, so I was glad that the tripod had been weighted with the bag of rocks!)
|Flat rocks under the tripod legs provide added support when on unstable soil, i.e. sand.|