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To further expound on Edge's comments, which are spot-on regarding purchasing a 
tripod with wind stability in mind. I have found the center column to add a 
great deal of shake when extended (look at Larry Lade's iconic facebook photo of 
himself at his scope with center column extended and you can see what I 
mean...sorry LL : )...  I have tested this in the wind up at Smithville Lake 
with center column extended and the shake is unbearable. When I lower the center 
column and extend the legs of my tripod to it's full height, the shake virtually 
disappears. After discovering this, I have removed my center column completely 
to cut down on weight (a few "Unit 4 Death Marches" prompted this action). 
Fortunately, I unwittingly purchased a tripod tall enough with legs fully 
extended to negate the need for a center column adding additional height; a 
shorter tripod would require a center column. 

Also, the detail-oriented birder might want to check the compatability of a 
tripod with legs fully retracted. When it is really windy, I lower my tripod all 
the way down and sit cross-legged on the ground while scoping, often using my 
car or an inverted picnic table, etc. as a windbreak; hanging a 5-10 lb. dumbell 
from the tripod head helps, also.
Quick-release plates are an essential item, especially if alternating between 
tripod and window-mount. I use a standard Manfrotto quick-release plate, PLUS a 
Manfrotto model 200USS stabilizer on top of the quick-release plate. The 
stabilizer virtually eliminates any shake from the area where scope connects to 
tripod head. Best $30 bucks I've ever spent.
Doug Willis
Liberty, MO
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