I Broke My Tripod in the Valley of Fire

Ever since I bought my tripod I’ve been in love. ♥

My husband thinks I’m in love with Canon but really it’s a toss up between Canon and Gitzo. Or maybe it’s Really Right Stuff that has my heart.

At first I wasn’t sure about spending so much money on it. I think it was around $1,000 by the time I bought the legs, the ball head, the clamp and the L bracket. But it is sooooo worth it.

The thing weighs practically nothing!

Even though I knew how much it meant to me, I don’t think I quite understood how deep the feeling was … until I broke the Really Right Stuff ballhead :(

It was so sad the way the lever just kept turning and turning without tightening up to hold my camera steady.

And wouldn’t you know it, that evening was the best of all the sunsets I saw in Nevada’s stunning Valley of Fire.

All I could do was dry my tears and crank up my ISO to make the best of it.

I made each of these shots hand-held. Please click any of the images to view larger versions.

The Valley of Fire, Nevada, by Anne McKinnell
Walking in The Valley of Fire. ISO 800.
The Valley of Fire, Nevada, by Anne McKinnell
Sunset in The Vally of Fire. ISO 1250.
The Valley of Fire, Nevada, by Anne McKinnell
Watching the sunset in The Valley of Fire. ISO 2000.

I really have to hand it to Really Right Stuff. The part was 3 years old and it was still covered by their warranty. Not only did they fix it free of charge, but they shipped me a loaner part that was in my hands 48 hours later. Thank you Really Right Stuff!!

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    • says

      Thanks Len! It’s all fixed now. I’m really impressed with how RRS handled it so quickly and they stayed in touch with me because I was travelling so they shipped the loaner part to a different place than they shipped my repaired part back to me.

  1. Heather says

    Equipment issues are always inconvenient aren’t they? I’ve never used a Really Right Stuff ballhead but have heard great things and am in the market to upgrade from my Manfrotto setup. What models are your legs and ballhead?

    How about a ‘This is the gear I use post’?

    • says

      Hi Heather, that’s a really good idea, I think I will put together a post on the gear I use. I use a Gitzo traveller tripod, I think it’s a 1542. It’s an excellent size because it fits inside my suitcase if I am flying somewhere and it is really light to carry. Carbon fiber is the way to go for tripods. I have the Really Right Stuff BH-30 ballhead and the clamp is also RRS. I have an L bracket for my camera which totally rocks. I love being able to switch from landscape to portrait orientation without having to recompose. If you haven’t heard of the L brackets check out their website to see how they work. I bought everything from RRS although I’m not sure if they still sell Gitzo tripods because they make their own now. If I were buying again today, I would probably buy the RRS tripod because they are such a good company to work with and everything is made in the USA. Not that I have any problems with my Gitzo, the Gitzo is awesome.

  2. says

    Well, you did really great under the circumstances. These are beautiful photographs of a beautiful land and sunset. Kudo’s to you!
    Thanks to your beautiful photography, I know have added the Valley of Fire to my bucket list of places to visit!
    Joe Hudspeth recently posted..CleoMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Dennis, you are so right! They are an excellent company to work with and they went out of their way to help me. It’s totally worth the price for such a high quality product. You can just tell holding one of those ballheads, it’s like it was made for nasa or something :) Also when I searched the internet for the problem I had, I could only find one person who reported having the problem and he had nothing but good things to say about how great RRS was to work with. 5 years is really a long time to warranty any product.

    • Larry says

      Sorry for the probs with the tripod head. Surely the company will take care of it. Never the less the shots are great. A true pro learns to use whats available as you did. Keep up the good work!

  3. says

    Great shots Anne! Goes to show it’s the photographer who can make the images and you’re not limited by equipment. I have always heard great things about RRS and this proves that they are a great company. My next tripod purchase will be a RRS for sure!
    Michael Glover recently posted..Quiet EleganceMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Micheal, thanks for your comments! I surely believe it is the photographer and not the equipment that makes the great shots. But part of it is the photographer knowing how and when to use the equipment! RRS is a great company and I would certainly buy from them again.

  4. says

    I love your images and plan on visiting the Valley of Fire in Mid-November. I do have two suggestions. For someone who has never been there, a little more info on where the images are taken would be helpful. The second is one that might help you. Either buy, or better, make a small beanbag to carry with you. I always carry one. Often I use that instead of the tripod. When your head broke, you could have used the beanbag on top of the tripod to help steady your shots. However, it appears you did a great job on the shots anyway!

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