Brian Rueb is a professional landscape and wildlife photographer living in California. He teaches over 45 outdoor workshops a year with the Aperture Academy, and is working towards completing a book documenting his trek to Iceland, where he recently took an Induro CT213 tripod and an Induro BHD2 ballhead. What follows is his summary of the trip in his own words.
Iceland is a land of extremes. It’s one of the toughest places I’ve ever photographed. I knew from the get go it would be a test for my gear. Uneven surfaces, extreme wind, and driving rains: this place has it all. In addition to the weather, Iceland also has some of the most amazing landscapes on the planet—a real playground for photographers, like me, who find this type of work enjoyable. This project wasn’t just a week or ten days. It was 67 days of hiking and photography. With Iceland’s high latitude, the sun never really sets during much of the summer and that means the good light for photographing (sunrise and sunset) can last up to 5 or 6 hours.
Not only was this experience going to be a test for me mentally and physically—it was going to be a test for my gear as well, and especially my tripod: an Induro CT213 and BHD2 ballhead.
Before I left I remember thinking, “If a tripod breaks on this trip, the trip is a waste. I won’t be able to photograph anything the way I need to.” I had to have a tripod that would make the cut, and I felt good about the Induro going in. Really good.
The first thing I love about this tripod is the weight: just over four pounds with the ballhead. During the course of my trip, I walked close to 450 miles—most of it hiking to and from a shooting location. Just my camera gear weighs close to 18 pounds, and combined with all the gear I need to camp, my bag weighs close to 50 pounds. Not a whole heck of a lot of fun to lug around. A tripod is an absolute necessity for me. Having one that doesn’t weigh a ton is so nice.
While the overall weight of the tripod is nice, the thing about it that makes it so special is the stability. I had this tripod submerged in fast moving rivers. I had it balanced precariously on the edges of crazy cliffs. I set it up in 20-30mph winds. I put my 100-400mm lens on it for close up shots.I even put my 100-400mm lens on it in 20-30mph winds.
It works really well.
It always functioned as I wanted it to.
It always opened and closed easily, even after being submerged in rivers, sea, and muck. I wish I functioned as well after being submerged in muck.
I’ve been doing this photography thing a long time, and have used and destroyed every kind of tripod imaginable. This tripod has been through the roughest spots I’ve seen, and performed at a high level throughout. Whether strapped to my backpack on a 30 mile hike, being shuffled around from bus to bus by uncaring bus drivers, getting slammed quickly into a car I managed to hitch a ride with, or set up for actual photography. I put this tripod through a huge workout. It came through like a champ.
I even used it on a few occasions for protection from bird attack. The Arctic Tern migrates en masse to Iceland every summer to nest, feed and raise young. It is one of the most fiercely protective birds I’ve ever encountered. If you should wander too closely to their nesting grounds it’s an attack reminiscent of the worst scenes in Hitchcock’s The Birds thankfully there is a fault in their attacks, and they will always go for the highest point. When I walked through particularly tern-heavy areas, I used my Induro as a defensive pole over my head to ward off their attack.
Here’s four of my favorite shots from this trip to show the diverse and beautiful landscape I was fortunate enough to spend my summer exploring and photographing.
Brian Rueb Photography
Brian Rueb on Facebook
The Aperture Academy