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I'm interested in doing some time lapse photography. Instead of having me waking up at 5am, I would like to just set my camera on a tripod and go to sleep. Is there a way to secure the tripod out on a balcony over night without worrying that it would fall and break the camera?

I will be in europe (Switzerland) so I don't expect particular hard conditions. It will not be in the wild. Again, I'm only looking to do this in the balcony of my hotel room, not up in the mountains in the wood. But I just don't feel safe leaving any equipment outdoor without watch. I have a very decent carbon fibre tripod from Sirui.

Any tips? Thanks.

  • I think we need more detail here. Is there likely to be wind? Earthquakes? Is the balcony particularly precarious? Is your tripod very flimsy? – mattdm May 4 '14 at 23:29
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Securing against it blowing over generally involves putting weights on it. Usually sandbags are the best choice and these can be placed on the feet or, sometimes, hung from the centre column. Or if you are good with tools you could create some way of screwing or clamping the tripod feet down.

There are some things you may need to consider such as

  • People stealing the tripod and camera
  • Animals moving or knocking the tripod
  • Rain, dew, mist, or ocean spray
  • Battery life

If you have to deal with either of the first two you'll need to make the tripod and camera a lot more secure - in fact there's probably no way to secure it against people stealing it other than if it's in a locked room.

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    Hanging a weight from the center column (many tripods have a hook there to attach weights) so that it hangs possibly close to the ground (to lower the center of gravity) will do the best job. – uncovery May 5 '14 at 15:06
  • Tape the tripod feet to the balcony floor. – DavidA May 16 '14 at 20:45
  • Take care to avoid condensation forming on (and inside) the camera when you bring it in to your hotel room after an overnight timelapse - it will have become very cold. – DavidA May 16 '14 at 21:00
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This really depends on how sturdy your tripod is. While light poles (which are top heavy and supported from a wide base and a long single shaft) need to be supported by sand bags, a good quality tripod should be pretty sturdy by itself.

If you feel like your tripod isn't secure enough, adding weight is still always the best bet. Sand bags over support connectors (if the tripod is strong enough to support them) or around the base of the feet works well.

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