Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 28/09/2011

Nah, na-nee-na, nah

Raccoon, originally uploaded by

Ker-runch! Whilst out photographing mushrooms in the local woods a couple of days ago, my trusty camera equipment became slightly less trusty. I use a Benro carbon fibre tripod, coupled with a Gitzo off-centre ball head to allow me to position the camera at any angle which is important with fungi which can range anywhere from floor level to up in the trees. Carbon fibre is incredibly strong as well as light but my camera gear isn’t what you’d call light and unfortunately as I was photographing a common puffball mushroom there was a clunk and the camera, flash, and the tripod head were no longer attached to the tripod. The tripod’s central pole, which can be detached from tripod, had come away from the head mount with it looks like was held on with glue and a single pin. I’m afraid I’d put too much strain on the pin and it had sheered the carbon fibre around the pin (it was only 2mm from the edge). Luckily the forest floor where I was working is very spongy and the camera was only a couple of centimeters off the floor so my main gear was okay. Or so I thought. It looks like the flashgun hotshoe connector has come loose, and I will have to open up the flashgun to try and fix it.

I’ll be posting the images of the mushrooms over the next couple of days, in the mean time today’s image is of one of the Raccoons at Dartmoor Zoo. Whilst photographing them, I watched one of them take a grape we’d just thrown near it over to the pond and then wash it in the water. I’ve seen them do this with eggs as well as some root vegetables so it was fantastic to see them doing the same with the grapes whilst I was able to snap away. These animals are incredibly resourceful, I wonder whether they could fix my camera gear?



  1. Wow, lucky on your equipment. Hope it’s fixed soon. And great shot of the raccoon!

    • I had to make do with the broken tripod yesterday but did manage to get some good shots. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Your current post reads as though you are very calm about the tripod. I also have a similar set up to you except that mine is a Manfrotto. And, I must say that IF that happened to my set-up I would be extremely angry. You don’t say how old the tripod etc is, but I would have thought from what you describe, that the tripod should be strong enough to withstand the set-up? If the centre pin is as fragile as you explain, I would be inclined to go back to the manufacturer and claim ‘not fit for purpose’.
    What a bummer, I know we must expect our gear to take some knocks etc, but when it plainly lets you down, that is another question. I hope you manage to get the flash and everything else sorted.


    • I did manage to balance the 600mm lens precariously on the broken tripod head – I was rather nervous about using it – but it did seem to work okay. I used a cocktail stick to wedge the head onto the carbon fibre support – I’m changing my name to heath robinson!

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