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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 02 Jun 2014 (Monday) 16:05
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bird photo general chat thread

 
Evan
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Jun 06, 2014 15:50 |  #16

Foggiest wrote in post #16953717 (external link)
I heard of someone using a large frying pan for the job Evan

I have given the frying pan a shot, even drilling holes in it to cut down on weight. Compared to what I have designed now, it's like a donkey compared to a thoroughbread in handling. :) Just trying to get the shooting level a bit lower now.

jhayesvw wrote in post #16955988 (external link)
Evan,
Take up road cycling.
We are in that "looking up" position for hours at a time. It really gets your neck in shape for that position
and you get in great shape too.

Thanks for the idea. I've already given road cycling a shot, bought myself a Cannondale Synapse. However, I just found that I like the results of powerlifting combined with running much more than cycling ( I also get bored on a bike ). Now selling the bike for more camera gear. ;)


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badams
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Jun 06, 2014 16:37 |  #17

I used a chicken waterer for my ground pod. Found the instructions somewhere (can't find them right now). It worked pretty good for $20 or less. They come red, but I spray painted it tan. I didn't take into account how wet I would be from laying on the beach. Made it especially for when I went to High Island ( & Bolivar Flats), TX last year.

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Nighthound
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Jun 06, 2014 21:10 as a reply to  @ badams's post |  #18

I've been a ground shooter for a lot of years. I took the lazy way out and bought a Skimmer II. I was hesitant at first to pay for a ground pod since I had seen units fabricated from skillets, etc. for considerably less money. I was concerned about weight since I hike often with my gear to get get to my shoot locations, many times in the summer months here in the southeast. The 500L, Wimberley II, tripod and pocket accessories brought the total weight up quick. So with weight being important I went with the Skimmer II. I've never had a single regret in my choice, it's by far the most-used accessory I have.

Evan, I understand you wanting to get lower to the ground but I find myself more often wishing I was up a bit higher. When the shooting surface is very flat lower would be nice, but when the surface is uneven I often lose sight of the birds feet. I prefer to include the birds feet in my shots whenever possible. Also, the lower the camera gets the more difficult it is to align your eye to the viewfinder and harder it becomes to use your elbows for support. My lens sits on the Wimberley II(see photo below). If I were to replace my lens foot with one from RRS I could thread the Skimmer right to the lens foot which would place the lens hood about 2 inches or so above the ground. I personally would not want to give up the gimbal head, it's invaluable having that ease (and silence) of motion. With the lens foot attached to the Skimmer, vertical movement could only be made by tilting the ground pod and stability while shooting would really suffer. There's always a need to tweak composition vertically and horizontally and the gimbal is perfect for that.

badams, I wear a thin nylon pant and jacket that has a water repellant coating on the inside. Great for staying dry and keeping the sand out of your pockets. The sand and dirt brush off with ease, even when damp the material dries quickly(especially in the sun and breeze) and everything brushes right off.

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2n10
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Jun 06, 2014 22:15 |  #19

Nighthound wrote in post #16956619 (external link)
I've been a ground shooter for a lot of years. I took the lazy way out and bought a Skimmer II. I was hesitant at first to pay for a ground pod since I had seen units fabricated from skillets, etc. for considerably less money. I was concerned about weight since I hike often with my gear to get get to my shoot locations, many times in the summer months here in the southeast. The 500L, Wimberley II, tripod and pocket accessories brought the total weight up quick. So with weight being important I went with the Skimmer II. I've never had a single regret in my choice, it's by far the most-used accessory I have.

Evan, I understand you wanting to get lower to the ground but I find myself more often wishing I was up a bit higher. When the shooting surface is very flat lower would be nice, but when the surface is uneven I often lose sight of the birds feet. I prefer to include the birds feet in my shots whenever possible. Also, the lower the camera gets the more difficult it is to align your eye to the viewfinder and harder it becomes to use your elbows for support. My lens sits on the Wimberley II(see photo below). If I were to replace my lens foot with one from RRS I could thread the Skimmer right to the lens foot which would place the lens hood about 2 inches or so above the ground. I personally would not want to give up the gimbal head, it's invaluable having that ease (and silence) of motion. With the lens foot attached to the Skimmer, vertical movement could only be made by tilting the ground pod and stability while shooting would really suffer. There's always a need to tweak composition vertically and horizontally and the gimbal is perfect for that.

badams, I wear a thin nylon pant and jacket that has a water repellant coating on the inside. Great for staying dry and keeping the sand out of your pockets. The sand and dirt brush off with ease, even when damp the material dries quickly(especially in the sun and breeze) and everything brushes right off.

QUOTED IMAGE

That lloks to be a good height to me Steve. I haven't done belly shooting much but I have just used my elbows for support and that seems to be a decent height. The pod looks to be a much more comfortable solution for longer times down.


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Foggiest
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Jun 07, 2014 02:54 |  #20

Thanks for posting Steve!
I had only seen a ground pod in my minds eye, (frying pan with handle on it!), so to see one being used clears things up somewhat.




  
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ONE30
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Jun 08, 2014 07:38 as a reply to  @ Foggiest's post |  #21

...is it ok or have any of you used a reflector to shine a little light in birds that in shaded areas? I'm going to try birding next week for the first time. I'd appreciate any advice and tips for beginners!

thanks




  
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Nighthound
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Jun 08, 2014 08:45 |  #22

meeko031 wrote in post #16958778 (external link)
...is it ok or have any of you used a reflector to shine a little light in birds that in shaded areas? I'm going to try birding next week for the first time. I'd appreciate any advice and tips for beginners!

thanks

While your suggestion sounds very bird friendly I'm wondering how large a reflector would be needed to be effective. Additionally the placement of the reflector would need to be very precise in relation to the sun. That in itself would draw a lot of unwanted attention from the birds. I've used fill reflectors quite a bit in studio situations and outdoor shoots as well and getting the most from them requires adjustment. A quality flash extender like a Better Beamer is a better tool for the job. Once you've dialed in the flash for fill effect it's very effective and a great solution for shady locations with the added advantage of flash stop action. I'm not a flash shooter since I choose to shoot during times of optimum natural light. When I do end up in shady situations I kick myself a bit for not having a flash.


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ONE30
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Jun 08, 2014 10:09 |  #23

Nighthound wrote in post #16958837 (external link)
I'm wondering how large a reflector would be need to be effective.

...I was planning on using a smaller "manageable" size reflector, but I definitely understand what you're saying, especially on windier days.


thanks for the advice!




  
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tonylong
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Jun 08, 2014 14:37 |  #24

meeko031 wrote in post #16958778 (external link)
...is it ok or have any of you used a reflector to shine a little light in birds that in shaded areas? I'm going to try birding next week for the first time. I'd appreciate any advice and tips for beginners!

thanks

That could be OK if you were "parked", stationary, waiting for birds to show up or, say, by a spot where they frequent. But trying to use a reflector as a portable piece of gear would, to me, be lacking, both in inconvenience and in being a distraction to the critters.

I have occasionally used a Better Beamer flash extender, it does work...


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Jun 09, 2014 09:45 |  #25

meeko031 wrote in post #16958778 (external link)
...is it ok or have any of you used a reflector to shine a little light in birds that in shaded areas? I'm going to try birding next week for the first time. I'd appreciate any advice and tips for beginners!

thanks

Meek,

I have used a reflector with some success. Tony (above) is right - a reflector is good for set-ups, but for just walking around and trying to find birds to shoot, it would be quite impractical.

Nighthound is also right - you do need to set the reflector up carefully and get it at the precise angle in order for it to reflect favorably.

The reflector I used was 2 feet by 4 feet. I bought a piece of foam insulation at Home Depot. It has foil on one side, which I used to reflect the sunlight to a House Wren's nest I was shooting. I had to adjust it every 20 minutes or so as the sun angle changed throughout the day. And maintaining position during breezy days can be very difficult; I used all manner of items to hold it in place to withstand the breeze.

Here's a photo of the set-up. The reflector is at the bottom, and has a shadow of my camera on it. The nest tree is the one that's leaning. Here is an example of the results:
http://fineartamerica.​com …s-young-tom-reichner.html (external link)


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Jun 09, 2014 09:53 |  #26

Nighthound wrote in post #16956619 (external link)
Evan, I understand you wanting to get lower to the ground but I find myself more often wishing I was up a bit higher. When the shooting surface is very flat lower would be nice, but when the surface is uneven I often lose sight of the birds feet. I prefer to include the birds feet in my shots whenever possible.

A very good point indeed. It becomes irritating when, at the bottom of the frame, you have a mass of blurred out foreground where the bird's feet should be. Pretty much a ruined shot, and getting just a couple inches higher would have resulted in the inclusion of the feet and legs - a successful image.

Nighthound wrote in post #16956619 (external link)
My lens sits on the Wimberley II(see photo below). If I were to replace my lens foot with one from RRS I could thread the Skimmer right to the lens foot which would place the lens hood about 2 inches or so above the ground.

You can do that now, with the gear you already have. Just take the vertical arm off of the Wimberley, and re-mount it in an inverted position. Then hang the lens from the foot, instead of having the foot on the bottom of the lens. The height adjustment of the vertical arm will allow you to get the lens all the way down 'till it touches the bottom part of the Wimberley.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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myphotographic
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Jun 09, 2014 10:18 |  #27

There's a section in 'The Handbook of Bird Photography' where Bence Mate talks about using reflectors and mirrors to improve the lighting. Not being one for half-meassures, I recall he mentions rigging it up so he can adjust the angle without leaving the hide.


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Jun 09, 2014 11:53 |  #28

meeko031 wrote in post #16958778 (external link)
...is it ok or have any of you used a reflector to shine a little light in birds that in shaded areas? I'm going to try birding next week for the first time. I'd appreciate any advice and tips for beginners!

thanks

I tend to be moving around, so reflectors haven't worked for me much. I love Tom's insulation set up! But as he mentions, not very portable.
I do use a flash, often with an extender, on occasions that require additional light.
A good bracket to prevent steel eye is a must, and the results can be very good.

I have read of flash startling birds, but I've yet to experience it myself. I think it was Art Morris who hypothesized that the birds read it as natural like lightning.


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ONE30
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Jun 09, 2014 15:18 as a reply to  @ CyberDyneSystems's post |  #29

...thanks for the responses guys, greatly appreciated! for now, i will leave the reflector at home and just go shoot!




  
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Foggiest
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Jun 10, 2014 09:32 |  #30

Down to the nitty gritty now!

How many count beer as part of their birding kit?!




  
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