Step-by-step D.I.Y instructions for making your own Tripod snake.

Problem: very expensive tripod with delicate joints being used on a black sandy beach with big wave swells on a regular basis.

I love getting close to the waves on the beach at Jökulsarlon.  My previous Gitzo tripod was great in the sea, but I wanted more stability and a tripod without a center column, so that I could get down low if needed.  After a week on the beach with my new gitzo, the amount of sand and sea water getting into the joints was shocking and that grinding sound was not very inviting on such a high quality tool. It is a heavy tripod, so useful for beach photography.

How can you protect your expensive Gitzo tripod from sand and sea water, in sometimes extreme conditions?

Ice Tourist

Most of my shots only work because I get in among the action. I want to be where the interaction of Ocean and beach are exciting. This means having a tripod system that you are confident to get wet.

Current solutions:

  • Gitzo GK1582OT Ocean Traveler 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with Ball Head
  • drypod waders
  • use a cheaper tripod
  • avoid the beach

My solution

Don’t forget to share!!

This idea was inspired by watching a snake swallow an egg and also my love of bicycle inner-tubes (and other rubber objects). The concept is very simple and cheap to make at home, but if anyone wants to take this to market, good luck (drop me a line I might post a link to your product).


What you need


Bicycle inner tube the same size as your tripod leg. Plastic tube 10% larger than your biggest joint.

I was hunting around in my kitchen cupboard, and I found a Supplement container.  I cut the top and bottom off the Supplement container to create a tube, then stretch the rubber tube over the plastic tube.  Make 3 of them, but test each one for length until you are satisfied. Stretching the rubber over the plastic tube can be tricky.[/one_third]The final stage should look something like this.


Bicycle inner tube stretched over Plastic tube until the top of the rubber tube shrinks to its original size.

The length of the rubber tube only needs to be as long as your needs dictate. If you shoot low to the ground, you will only need a short tube. If you often have your tripod at full height, you might want to build a smaller version to protect just the bottom sections. In any case, you will need a couple of inches over the shortest use (needs revision).[/one_third]

Extra tripod protection


Use what extra rubber tubing to cover the top leg section.

Thanks for Reading!!

This serves as a very nice grip, especially delicious in cold weather.


Make sure it is long enough to cover the joint grip on the top leg section.

Iceland photo tour
Keep your tripod protected while you’re in the rough!
It is as easy as slipping the plastic tube over your tripod joint. This is the moment of truth when you find out if you got the sizes correct. When the tripod leg is touching the ground, the extra rubber should fold creating a semi-seal. It is important to note that this doesn’t give your tripod 100% protect, but it does give it a lot of protection. You may need to continue washing your tripod legs occasionally.TripodSnake

Tony’s Magic Cloth Technique 1

Tony’s Magic Cloth Technique 1

The Magic Cloth Technique involves controlling the amount of exposure to different parts of a scene during a slow shutter. The technique involves dodging and burning over a long exposure.
Using a dark cloth (or card) you can reduce the exposure to the sky (or highlights) by covering the front of the lens for part of the exposure time

Pink Pearls at Jökulsarlon Ice beach

Pink Pearls at Jökulsarlon Ice beach

I was trying to triangulate the 3 main subjects.  The middle iceberg was a bit too close to the center but getting closer to the nearest piece of ice allowed me to form a triangle.  It was important to be a few meters from the ice, so that I could include more sky with them.

Beauty and the Diamond Ice Beach

Beauty and the Diamond Ice Beach

This was one of the most rewarding mornings I ever experienced at the Diamond Ice Beach at the Glacier lagoon at Jökusarlon,  I used to run tours to Jökusarlon and back (to Reykjavik) in a single day.  This was a 14 hour trip with 10 hours of driving.  In December,...

My Camera Gear

Canon 5D - full frame

These are heavy duty cameras. I have used the Canon 5D in all weathers. It has a powerful live-view and sensor.

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 l

Canon's 24mm Prime L lens was all I used for many years.  It is responsible for over 80% of the photos on icelandaurora Sharp from corner to corner.

Gitzo Carbon Fiber Tripod

Load Capacity: 26 lb Max Height: 60.8" Min Height: 8.7" Folded Height: 17.5"

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