Evening

by w.hrybok

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For those who don't know, the Salar De Uyuni is the world's biggest salt desert and covers 10,000 square-kilometers. During the rainy season it reflects the sky like a huge mirror, giving some pretty cool out-of-this-world images :)

Well, I might pass there during the rainiest month (average 239mm of rain) and temperatures will be around 5 - 15C, so not freezing but cold. My cameras and most lenses are weather-sealed but I am worried about my tripod and me!

How can I take care of the tripod before, while there planted in a few inches of very salty water and after?

What would be best footwear? Maybe besides industrial rubber rain-boots I guess... I neither own any nor think there are convenient to carry in such remote places. I'll be limited to one backpack and camera bag which are expected to be very full already.

EDIT:

For the footwear, do the day-trip companies there usually provide boots? Or do they keep your shoes in the vehicle while photographers go barefoot?

EDIT 2:

There is apparently a solution for this which costs more than getting there! Gitzo makes an anti-corrosion version of their ocean traveler tripod. While the latter is only $840 USD, the former costs a whopping $1700 USD or a few hundreds short of a full-frame DSLR.

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If that picture in 500px is anything to go by, maybe consider wrapping the tripod legs in plastic? Kind of like boots for your pod? –  Peng Tuck Kwok Nov 19 '12 at 7:27
1  
If you're not travelling light, consider a Benbo (model 1 or a Trekker), especially if you can rent it locally—they're designed for that sort of thing, having the fat tubes at the bottom of the legs. It'll take some getting used to, but there's a review opportunity in it for you as well. –  user2719 Nov 19 '12 at 13:37
    
If you are just worried about the salt or the water and your tripod, this question already really addresses that: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/20202/… –  dpollitt Nov 19 '12 at 13:47
    
Alas, traveling light is a requirement there. –  Itai Nov 19 '12 at 18:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have been to a similar place a few times. Salt lakes are excellent especially when there are some clouds overcast.

Rinse your tripod with fresh water immediately after it is out of salt water, do not let it dry with salt on it. Take special care on the bolts. If you do not want to risk it, get some pieces of plastic garden hose that is large enough to accommodate your tripod's legs and after sealing one end (melt or use epoxy putty) slip these on.

For footwear, if the weather was hot, I would recommend a pair of slippers, but since it would be cold, a pair of lightweight and cheap plastic rain boots will do just fine.

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I would just use the tripod in the salt, rinse it off with clean water when you are done for the day - and when you get home give a good thorough cleaning ala this link.

I don't know an exact measurement on the expected depth of water you will be dealing with, but all of the content I found online seemed to suggest water depth of only a few inches or so. Maybe it is worse during this month you speak of, but I can not say. Take a look at this image as an example.

As far as footwear, any waterproof boots would be fine if you really don't want to get wet. Personally I'd just wear sandals or go barefoot.

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OMG That's a lot of work! Someone must have made some kind of boot for tripod to avoid all that taking apart and cleaning every bit. –  Itai Nov 19 '12 at 4:48
    
Just take a bath with your disassembled tripod when you get home. lol –  Gapton Nov 19 '12 at 6:23

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