Dr Dean Miller is currently stationed in Macquarie Island, researching the fur seal colonies self-producing and shooting a documentary of his experience on the very cold and remote Island. Dean’s tripod has been there to support the image capture of the eco-explorer’s experience…
When I first found out that I was going to be stationed on the very remote Macquarie Island in the sub-Antarctic for two six month stints as a fur seal researcher, there was only one thing I knew I had to take – a great HD camera set-up! I decided that I was going to make a documentary about my adventures and I needed good equipment that I could take everywhere I went, and in all weather conditions if I was going to capture what it is really like to be exploring the island and its incredible array of wildlife.
I am using a SONY EX1 Camera with the Miller DS 10 Solo DV 2-stage carbon fibre tripod.
The system met my budget limitations and has proven to be an extremely versatile and incredibly reliable setup for the conditions here on Macquarie Island. The tripod is super quick to setup, which means that when the action unfolds in front of you, it takes very little time to start shooting. The stability of the legs are also a key feature, as are the preset leg angle options making it possible to quickly setup on a wide range of ground conditions and slopes.
At latitude of 54 degrees south of the equator, Macquarie Island is the last green outpost of land before the ice of the Antarctic. It is 35km long and only 5km at its widest point. The landscape here is dramatic: freezing cold, wind blown plateaus of rocks, grasses, small plants and mosses, sheer cliffs, snow covered mountain peaks, and jagged wave battered coastlines. But it is the wildlife that really blows you away, and over summer the island is home to over 4 million seals, penguins, seabirds and whales making this one of the largest concentrations of wildlife on the planet. Living alongside these incredible animals is the chance of a lifetime as both a researcher and a first time film-maker.
To explore the island and all its wonders you have to travel by foot. The hiking is cold, hard and usually wet work and you always seem to be walking into the wind. On a round trip of the island you usually cover 80km of undulating muddy slopes, and your pack is heavy with survival equipment and clothing. Combine that with a video camera, tripod and microphones and you have your work cut out for you, but no cameraperson in their right mind would do the walk without them. At the most southern tip of the island await 1.5 million penguins in one single colony, one of the largest on Earth. It is nothing short of spectacular and the tripod performed perfectly during my wide angle pan of it in 40 knots of wind!
I chose the Miller DS10 SOLO DV 2-Stage Tripod system
for three simple reasons: The first because I knew Miller tripods have an exceedingly good reputation as being precision instruments; the second because I knew it would be reliable and stand up to all the abuse the island has to offer; and third because it was light enough to carry everywhere I went, but solid enough to get steady shots in even the worst weather.
My DS10 SOLO Tripod has been to hell and back, but it performs just as good as it ever did!