A stable set-up with your tripod
Any time you use a spotting scope when you are out and about, for instance, carrying out a detailed study of waders, enjoying the wonderful markings of a Green Heron, or observing a White-tailed Eagle flying by in the distance, you will, to begin with, barely give any thought to the set-up or various features of your scope.
But if you are having problems keeping your image still and can perhaps no longer make out whether there is also a Wood Sandpiper under a flock of Ruffs, you will quickly ask yourself: “What’s wrong with this spotting scope?”
It often transpires that the problem is not with the spotting scope, but with the tripod, the tripod head not being secured, or the bumpy ground.
When discussing this topic with experts and experienced users, the point is very quickly made that a stable set-up is crucial if you want to ensure that you can observe wildlife without the image being blurred or getting tired. This is an absolute must for digiscoping in particular. Click here to pick up some valuable tips that will make it easier for you to do your job or observe wildlife when you are out and about.
The right size
The size of the tripod depends on the height of the observer and the type of spotting scope.
If you want to make the most of a tripod’s set-up height, you have the option to extend the center column (how much additional height you can get depends on the center column’s length). However, for digiscoping, you are recommended not to use the scope with the center column extended to ensure additional stability.
The basic principle is to keep the whole system’s center of gravity as low as possible to ensure good stability, especially when it is windy. Therefore, in special circumstances, the center column can also be fitted upside down, with the camera being attached head first, so to speak, at the bottom end of the center column. To do this, you only need to undo the catches – normally at the bottom end of the column – turn the center column upside down (from bottom to top), and insert it in the tripod head.
However, if you are observing in very severe weather conditions (especially in the wind), the above recommendations may not be appropriate and you should set up the tripod as low as possible to reduce the size of the exposed area and achieve greater stability.
The following products are particularly suitable for this type of application.