My tripod – currently a 3 Legged Thing Erica (OK, officially it’s called Eric, but that sounds weird to me, so Erica is a little less weird) – has a hard life. When it’s not thrown on the floor of the car, it’s being treated badly. Hip deep in sea water, knee-deep in sand, shivering in a freezing river, or chucked on the ground in between balancing a camera on its head. It’s a tough job. But every so often I give my tripod a little TLC. Not too much or it might get used to it, but enough to keep it going, and I thought I’d lay out my care and feeding regime here. Don’t worry, before long you’ll be snapping more photos.
- Wash off any surface dirt/sand/crap. Usually water is enough, but if it’s bad then I’ll add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the water.
- Next, I unscrew the leg sections one leg at a time (being careful not to lose pieces) and get the sand and dirt out.
- Next I lubricate the joints in the legs. In the past I’ve used Vaseline and silicone grease, but lately I’ve switched to a bike chain lube called Muc-Off. Don’t go nuts with it or everything will be slimy. I pay close attention to any areas showing corrosion or salt built-up.
- I reassemble the joint and move on to the next.
- Once all the leg joints are done I give the tripod a once-over looking for loose parts (which I tighten – the 3 Legged Thing comes with a handy toolkit) or stiff bits (which I lubricate).
- Before I collapse the tripod, I give the whole thing a final quick wipe with a rag that has a small amount of lubricant on it.