animals, bird, gear, nature, photography, review, technic, travel, wildlife, world

A special head for wildlife photographer

In the past I wrote about tripods. A tripod always has a head to mount your camera on. There are many discussions, what kind of head is the best: ball-head, one-way tilt head, two-way tilt head, and three-way tilt head.

Some tripods came with a certain head attached to the middle-column which is not replaceable while other come with replaceable heads or even without a head, where you have to buy one on your own choice.

The head of my old tripod wasn’t replaceable while my new one came with a replaceable ball head. My monopod came with a replaceable 1-way tilt head.

For wildlife photography these heads are not really helpful. The tilt heads are not fast enough to follow the animals and the ball head can’t be fixed fast enough to be a stable ground. Therefore I have a gimbal. I simply dismount the head from either my tripod or my monopod and attach the gimbal instead. Because of the design, the gimbal is quite stable but I can move it around very fast, if needed.

When sitting in a hide where I have enough room to set-up a tripod, I mount the gimbal on top instead of the ball head. When I want to move around in the field or wait in a tiny hide, the gimbal will be mounted on the of the monopod. Both work very well.

My gimbal is made of aluminum and weighs about 1 kg. It’s 19.5 * 7.5 * 21 cm ( 7.7 * 3.0 * 8.3in). It has the correct screw thread (3/8 “) to attach it directly on most of the tripods and monopod with detachable heads. The plate to mount the camera follows the arca-swiss standard.  So, if you already have such a plate, it will fit here too, if not, never mind, the gimbal brings one. There are also some long tele lenses around where the lens mount flange is also fitting in an arca-swiss mount without a separate plate. According to the manufacturer’s specifications, the gimbal should be able to carry gear up to 18 kg (39.7lbs).

The heaviest lens I used a couple of times weighed about 5 kg. When adding my camera there was about 6,2 kg attached to the gimbal, resulting in about 7.3 kg to carry for my tripod. 

To mount such heavy gear to the gimbal needs some fine adjustment to distribute the weight equally. That’s why the lens mount flange is below the lens and the flange is that long. Even when the screw on the top left side is loosened the camera and lens have to be in balance. Now, you tighten the screw a little bit, that you can still move the camera easily up and down but it does not have to swing back automatically. The same for the horizontal turning.


I own this gimbal for about 3 years and I’m very happy with it. Compared to the standard heads, this is really a game-changer, also for the monopod. In my other post, you can read about me first struggling a bit when using the monopod. The gimbal helped me out a lot.

 

When I got the gimbal, it was quite hard to move the swing, but after a short time, the oil inside became softer and the swing was easier to swing up and down.

Take care!

 

 

animals, bird, landscape, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography, technical, wildlife

Lens-Artists Challenge #96 – “crop”

To crop your image means cutting away unimportant or disturbing parts and giving the important part the best position in the frame. This is part of the so-called image composing. Patti challenges us this week for Lens-Artists photo challenge with this topic.

Because I started photography back in film days, nearly 100 % of my landscape and people images are (IMHO) well composed. But in wildlife photography, it’s a very often used technique.

Here you can see one of my raw images without any editing. Below, you can see the final image

You can see, I balanced the horizon and placed the cormorant on one of the golden ratios.


The image is taken with an 80-400mm lens attached to a APS-C camera body at 400mm.

Take care

animals, autumn, bird, fall, landscape, nature, photography, seasons, wildlife, world

Throwback Thursday: wet

This is my contribution to The Lens-Artists challenge. This week Tina Shell challenged us with the topic “All Wet”. I’m quite late with my response.

I met these wet cranes last fall when I was heading home. Suddenly there were hundreds of them in the fields all wet from the constant rain.

Take care!

 

animals, mammal, nature, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Challenge #94 – “home”

The German singer-songwriter Reinhard Mey once sang a wonderful song about parentship. The title is “Keine ruhige Minute” (not a quite minute).

He describes lovingly the changes which come into your life when you get your first kid. He is wondering, what he has done with all the time before the kid was born and what all changes: i.e. repair toys, being a horse for the kid, loud noise, and so on.

The chorus is

Keine ruhige Minute
Ist seitdem mehr für mich drin
Und das geht so, wie ich vermute
Bis ich hundert Jahre bin!

(Not a quiet minute
Since then, there’s more in it for me
And that’s how I suspect
Until I’m a hundred years old!)

As the song goes on, the perspective changes. Instead of complaining, he starts noting all the positive things he gets from the kid. One of the verses says:

“Ein Haus wird doch erst ein Zuhause
Wenn eine Wiege darin steht!”

(a house only becomes a home when there is a cradle in it)

In the German language, there is a big difference in meaning between “house” and “home”. while you can have many houses and live in different places over the years, only one can be your home. The home isn’t necessarily the one your currently living in. Often it’s the place where you grew up. A place with very strong feelings and where you know quite everything about. Maybe it’s the farm of your grant-parents or the quarter where your parent’s house stood. In either case it’s the place where your heart beats stronger when coming nearer to it. And this connection keeps strong over the decades and survives even the passing of the beloved people (grant-parents / parents / aunts / …) who used to live there.

You wonder, what I’m telling here? It’s time for Lens-Artists Photo challenge and Amy asked for “At home“. I have 3 adult kids. But, todays 10 years ago, we got a cradle in our kitchen. Our cat got 4 pretty babies. When the time came, 2 of them moved to another family. But the oldest and the youngest stayed with us. The mother, unfortunately, died, when her kids were about half a year. The youngest is also not with us anymore. She died these days 3 years ago.

In the image below the kittens are 4 weeks old.

Here’s a quote from the birth announce:

“Last night our family grew enormous. Our cat gave birth to 4 kittens. One kitten every about 90 minutes starting at 8:30 p.m. At first she gave birth to 2 black girls, than a tabby girl and at last a tabby boy.

Even the mother is only about 9 month old, she did it very well.”

It seemed, after 2 babies the mother ran out of black color 😂. Not I was the one who stacked the kittens. The mother did it and even the kittens themselves were constantly climbing one over each other. When living outside in the wild they are can warm each other.

In case you’re now interested in the whole song and the lyrics, both can be found online quite easily. By using Google you can find the lyrics and put them into the Google translator. The translation is quite good. By using Youtube you can also find a recording taken from a 1980s tv show. Even if you won’t understand a word, give him a try 😊. You will get to know a famous german singer. Although was born in 1942 and his career started in the early 1960s, he is still well-known for his intelligent lyrics which often make you smile.

Take care!

animals, bird, culture, nature, photography, wildlife

Throwback Thursday: blue tit

 

Currently, a mysterious series of deaths is spreading in certain areas among blue tits. Recently, I read a report stating about 18.000 death blue tits. Others are already ill. They are losing feathers around their head and sitting fluffed up but apathetically in the trees and on the ground. They don’t flee anymore and id seems, they have problems breathing. It also seems they can’t swallow anymore. So, it might be they are dying from starvation and thirst. It also seems the disease is very infectious but only for blue tits. Other small birds seem not to be affected. Up to now, no certain illness is discovered. But, the region where the German states North-Rhine Westfalia, Hessen, and Rheinland-Pfalz are bordering seems to be the center of the illness. Most of the death blee tits are found in gardens around feeding places.

Take care!