A sturdy and dependable tripod and head
The tripod is the lifeline of your camera and is a definite must for non-shaky photos in Iceland’s windy conditions. It is important that your tripod is sturdy and can deal with the rugged and outdoor environment. A flimsy, cheap tripod will simply prevent you from being able to shoot most of the time and the last thing you’ll want is your expensive camera crashing to the ground.
When choosing a tripod, look for something that is lightweight and suitable for travel. Carbon fibre tripods are lighter and more rigid than their aluminium counterparts, absorb vibrations more effectively, and are more comfortable to carry for longer distances.
You will also want to consider whether your tripod has twist lock legs or a clip type. Both types have their pros and cons. Clip types are easier to set up but are easily penetrated by sand and dust. On the other hand, twist locks are easier to clean and are mostly dust and dirt proof, though can still get sand caught in the threads if you adjust the legs whilst actively shooting in-field.
Manfrotto, Really Right Stuff (RRS) and Gitzo are all tripod brands that we have tested and which we have been using for years. These brands are also available in most stores. When choosing a tripod, make sure that you have the right model for your camera system, based on its height and weight. We suggest heading into a store to try your tripod before you buy it, so you can ensure that it is the right fit for you.
As a rule of thumb, the height of your tripod must not exceed eye level with the camera placed. This will not only ensure proper posture, but will also mean that it can be handled and maneuvered easily. So keep this in mind when choosing a ball head to fit on top of your tripod.
As we will be working on uneven surfaces, it is important that your ball head be flexible and can be adjusted accordingly. Make sure that you choose the type that you are most comfortable operating. When selecting a ball head, consider one with an Arca-Swiss quick-release plate for added security, a secure ball lock so that even a heavy telephoto lens will stay in place, and which has sufficient load capacity for your camera and lens. We recommend the Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1 SP with Quick Release, the Benro B3 Double Action Ball Head, Sirui K-20X Ball Head, and the Vanguard SBH 100 Ball Head. If you choose to use a different brand, then make sure that it suits your shooting style, as this can affect the time that you spend setting up a shot in-field.