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shooting from the car- techniques and hints?

Discussion in 'Birds' started by gchappel, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. I am actively looking at making the merrit island get together and shoot iin February of 06. I have done very little wildlife shooting, and even less birding. I see that much of the shooting takes place from the car- so there is a technique I need to learn and practice. Any hints? Are you using a beanbag? I made a tripod clamp out of a set of vicegrips over 30 years ago that worked great on a car window, but I am sure that has been improved upon. My longest lens is a 80-400 vr and the 70-200vr, so nothing real big. Any hints would be appreciated, and maybe we could all learn something
  2. HarryB


    Jan 28, 2005
    Viera, Florida
    Hey Gary,

    There is no trick to shooting from the car. I do it all the time with my 500mm and my 80-400. I find that just using the side of the car gives me enough support for my 500. I usually just hand hold the 80-400 when I shoot out the window.

    A clamp might be helpful but a bean bag I doubt would be that helpful. Usually I will see a shot and take a few pics from the window, if the bird isn't spooked I will drive past it a bit or back up some and quietly get out of the car. I will leave the door ajar because I don't want to make the noise that closing it would cause. I will then try to set up my tripod for more shots or I may try to move in closer depending on the subject and the situation.
  3. My 2 cents....
    Personally, I don't like shooting from the car but sometimes you have to to get the shot. I like to park and hoof it around Viera. I've noticed that sometimes the car's vibration negatively impacts the image and then sometimes is just poor technique from being in an uncomfortable position. That's why I've decided to park/walk more often than not. Agree with Harry though about not shutting the door. Sometimes that's enough noise to scare them off. I've thought about trying a bean bag or one of those new "squishy" pillows that are so popular but haven't. Who knows?
  4. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    For shooting out of the passenger side of the car when driving, I keep my lens on a monopod and place the bottom of the monopod in the seat.

    When I turn around and head the other direction and want to shoot out of the drivers side window, I take of the monopod (I use a head with an acra mount so it comes off fast) and just brace my elbows and sometimes depending on the angle, the lens may be braced against the side of the car window.

    Sometimes I get much closer with a car than on foot. Smart birds.

    Also, some of the locals here in Missouri out at the wetlands near the river, build custom boxes/mounts in their passenger seats for full wimberly setups with big 600mm-800mm setups! One guy has his wife drive him around and he has a van where he sits in the back and shoots with a full tripod from the seated position, and he ties the door open against the side of the van.

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