What’s in Her Bag
Anette Mossbacher profiles an important piece of equipment that she uses in her professional wildlife photography. These ongoing equipment tips can help you in your wildlife, landscape, and nature photography efforts.
“Wildlife photography is a lot like detective work. You search, you sit, you wait, and you watch, and when the moment you’ve been waiting/searching for arrives, it can be over in seconds- and you better be ready.”
– Anette Mossbacher
Many of us own a tripod with a gimbal head or other, because we know that this is a very important piece of equipment for many forms of photography.
Photographs, such as the Camelthorn tree (above), require a good solid sturdy tripod when capturing an image with a telephoto lens. This is to prevent camera shake from ruining the shot. These same extreme telephoto lenses are also perfect for wildlife photography.
“However, there is a problem on the wildlife side of things that requires a different solution, and that is why I’m digging into my camera bag for you today. I want to share my solution with you!”
Let’s identify the problem (alluded to above).
Wildlife does not sit still. It moves constantly. Also, they often keep their distance, and if they don’t, it is in the photographer’s best interest to keep that distance for them. This requires often the use of longer telephoto lenses when photographing wildlife. Many of us are aware of the techniques and issues that come with long telephoto lenses, and if you aren’t; these are one of the many subjects that I discuss in my workshops and private photo tours.
A primary concern is always camera shake, which is why for landscape photography (when the subject sits still) a tripod is the perfect tool. However, wildlife photography typically requires a different solution.
“I’m reaching into my camera bag…”
In the above photograph, you can see my setup for stabilizing the camera when I am using my telephoto lenses, but I also require mobility and portability. This setup is comprised of three pieces of gear. I will highlight each of them for you. However, the one piece that I think you will find the most interesting is the ECKLASPHERE Swing Tripod.
The ECKLASPHERE is the round gray disk attached to the bottom of my lens in the above picture.
However, before I delve into that…
Here is something that you may not be aware of – especially if you’ve never traveled to Africa to photograph wildlife, but you have a desire to. In the National Parks, you are not allowed to exit the vehicle. This is to protect the wildlife and the environment. And also to protect you!
I like the use of the beanbag. It offers good support. However, it does not work well when you must pan or swivel your camera quickly and smoothly, which you will often do when photographing wildlife.
The ECKLASPHERE Swing Tripod offers a stable platform on top of the beanbag support, but now… I can swivel my camera with ease.
Why is this setup superior? You ask!
“You are smart! I knew you would ask this!” In the car or jeep, it is a superior method because it allows me to move very quickly from one window to the next. Imagine a lion approaches your jeep, and then circles it several times, as wildlife will often do, and your camera is stuck mounted to the window on one side. You will miss three sides! “Not Anette! I’m flying from window to window, because I am mobile with my ECKLASPHERE.” This is in my opinion an excellent tool!
The above two photographs illustrate several other advantages to my ECKLASPHERE setup.
- I can quickly and easily stabilize the camera from a very low angle.
- It is very lightweight and easy to carry for long distances.
- I can easily move my camera and the stabilizing platform, as the subject moves.
You can imagine that some movement on my part was critical to capturing the ghost crab in a close, perfectly composed, photograph. She was a quick little creature, and it was absolutely necessary to photograph her from a very low angle to see her amazing features. I also had to move frequently when photographing the arctic walrus, as he kept shifting his position to warm up different parts of his body with the sunshine.
If you closely study the above photograph of the ECKLASPHERE, you can see that there is a slight flattened bottom section, and then it gently tapers upward – toward the top of the sphere.
This curve is an excellent engineering detail! Imagine, that you have framed up your perfect wildlife photograph. However, the animal is moving. You notice that a slight change of angle on the camera would create a much better composition. Now, imagine that you are fumbling around with the locking knobs of your tripod, as you watch your picture dissipate into history. With the ECKLASPHERE, you steady the camera and with a fluid gentle movement, you tip to create your composition – fast, easy, smooth, and steady!
There you have it my friends, a highly useful suggestion for your wildlife kit!
- Sturdy beanbag support
- Quick Release brackets
- The ECKLASPHERE Swing Tripod
When you choose to join me on a photography workshop, or a photo adventure tour, I can teach you the finer points of using this remarkable stabilizing platform.