How do I keep my light stand (and umbrella) from toppling over?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by BekahAura, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. BekahAura

    BekahAura TPF Noob!

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    When I first got my lighting equipment my father warned me to watch out for windy days. What he should have said was watch out for a breeze!

    Every time I take my stand and umbrella outside it topples over with the slightest breeze. I started using 3 bricks (I stretch the feet of the stand out until they are flat, place 2 bricks on either side of one foot, and one brick on top across the other two) but this is hardly the way to go about on location photography.

    I've taken the Stobist's advice about light-weight equipment; I have two stands, two lumopro flashes, two wireless triggers, and two shoot-through umbrellas. Dragging bricks around completely defeats the purpose of going light-weight, and it's a major PITA if I want to move anything. If I had an assistant it wouldn't be so bad, but I don't.

    I have a family photoshoot on Saturday and it's going to be by a river, so I'm anticipating high winds. Does anyone have any advice on how to keep these babies grounded? There are two young children that will be in the shots and I don't want them to get hurt, not to mention the constant beating my equipment has been getting lately. I need a to figure something out, fast!
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  2. RobNZ

    RobNZ TPF Noob!

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    Sandbags? Or a sand bag that wraps around the central lower portion of the light stand somehow, or a good sized sand bag that hangs centrally to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. I dont know what your light stands look like so I am guessing here. Easier to move than bricks, wont scratch your equipment, but youre still going to need the mass.

    Trouble with umbrellas is they have a large surface area so they will act as a sail and they are usually mounted fairly high up as well so the leverage effect is worse again. So I would think weight lower down should help, but make it centrally located with as much mass as you can handle.

    Use dry sand for moderately windy days, wet the sand for windier days. they dont need to be all that big either, they get heavy real fast.

    Should work but will still be a PITA, cant think of anything simpler at present.
     
  3. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    I would try this, each set up would consist of:

    2 - 8 inch metal stakes (purchase at a hardware store -or Home Depot type store).
    About 18 inches of small nylon heavy string (1/4 inch diameter). Tie the string to each stake, using 2-1/2 hitch knots. Take a match and melt the ends of the string you just tied off with the matches. This will keep it from fraying and coming loose. (you will not need a lot of heat to do the melting)

    You should make 2-to-3 stake setups per stand.

    When you go out to shoot at the river, carry a hammer in the car. Pound the stakes in and don't worry about the wind anymore. ;) (pound the stakes in at a slight angle - they will hold better if the wind really kicks up)
    These will be light and easy to pack/store.
     
  4. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    get 3 sandbags per stands and your all good or get someone to watch them.
     
  5. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  6. Canosonic

    Canosonic TPF Noob!

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    glue em!
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's not an absolute necessity to use an umbrella. You can use a bare flash/light and just have light that isn't as soft.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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  9. guitstik

    guitstik TPF Noob!

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    I use leg weights that strap around the ankles when working out. They come in different weights, have Velcro straps, can be used anywhere and are relatively inexpensive.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    It's kind of hard to get stakes to go into concrete or asphalt, so the staking solution is limited to soft ground setups. ;)

    There is a point where, though your light stands are secured, the wind will destroy your umbrellas anyway.

    Another weak link could well be your umbrella brackets, particularly if they are made of plastic.
     
  12. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Keith
    I mentioned the stakes because her location is by a river and she is concerned about weight. And, they are a quick, inexpensive resolve to her issue.
     

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