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How to shoot from open sided vehicles in Botswana #2153
02/15/06 12:45 AM
02/15/06 12:45 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
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RichFisher Offline OP
Wanderer
RichFisher  Offline OP
Wanderer
R

Joined: Feb 2006
I will be part of a small group to Botswana this August. Most of us, have experience shooting off a bean bag form the open roof top vehicles in Kenya/Tanzania. However the open sided vehicles present a challenge to us.

How have other members of the community solved this? Also what is the recommended long lens (300 F2.8 or 500 F4, either IS on full frame body)?

Of course, any other comments are welcomed.

Thanks,

Rich

Re: How to shoot from open sided vehicles in Botswana [Re: RichFisher] #2154
02/15/06 04:45 AM
02/15/06 04:45 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
PeteD Offline
Tracker
PeteD  Offline
Tracker

Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
Hi Rich,

Having recently come back from Botswana I can tell you my mistakes and what I will take next time.

I took an Ergorest with a Manfrotto 222 Grip Action Ball head Click here for the Ergorest Website which if I had done my homework properly would have realised it was no good at all. Fortunately as I had paid for my own safari truck for the duration I was able to get it clamped onto one of the rollbars and slide it from left to right depending on what I was trying to view.

One of the many birdwatchers that was at the same camp showed me his clamp that was made by velbon (although I haven't found anything like it yet) It was almost like something you would find in a DIY shop to hold sheets of wood to a work bench but with the right size mount on top for a tripod head of some description.

Depending on the size of your lens would depend on the head you need - lots of people I know use a king cobra make by Kirk for big lenses. It does depend on your subjects - are you a bird man, general wildlife? I found that the 300mm lens I took was in the main too big (I'm not a bird man!)

Have you been on safari before? I found Botswana much more intimate with the wildlife than in Kenya or Tanzania so we could get closer and use a smaller lens. I did take some shots of a leopard lit up with a lamp at night with the 300mm handheld which came out very nicely. I just couldn't get the angle I needed from my ergorest and they look pretty good even if I do say so myself.

Feel free to ask any questions - only too happy to help. As my most recent trip to Mexico has been cancelled I am thinking of going back in March/April (if my wife lets me!)


Regards PaparazziPete www.marlboroughphoto.co.uk
Re: How to shoot from open sided vehicles in Botswana [Re: PeteD] #2155
02/15/06 09:15 AM
02/15/06 09:15 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
R
RichFisher Offline OP
Wanderer
RichFisher  Offline OP
Wanderer
R

Joined: Feb 2006
Pete,

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I have been to Kenza/Tanzania previously -- in fact this will be my 4th trip to Africa.

I (we, the group is 6) shot both mammals (love them cats) and birds -- hard to say which I prefer; probably cat behaviour.

We are debating whether to a molar bag (see McDonald's website at http://www.hoothollow.com/Question-October-November%202004.html) or two to rest of the rails, or bring a monopod/tripod w/ large wimberly head. Any suggestions? Any pictures of what worked for you?

The Ergorest looks similar to the Groofwin from LL Rue (http://www.rue.com/groofwin.html) and I agree it will be had to use.

We will have 2-3 dedicated vehicles for each of us with 1 row per person. That will allow us to shot from both sides of the vehicle and provide a bit more room.

Thanks,

Rich

Re: How to shoot from open sided vehicles in Botswana [Re: RichFisher] #2156
02/15/06 10:38 AM
02/15/06 10:38 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
PeteD Offline
Tracker
PeteD  Offline
Tracker

Joined: Aug 2005
Wiltshire, England
Hi again

I've done some more digging around for you and found what I wanted. If I go again I will take one of these



This can get clamped to the roll bar and then moved left or right to suit you needs. Depending on the size of your centre pole will obviously determine how high or low you can go (please note that they don't encourage you to stand in these trucks as you break the line of the vehicle and become more obvious to nature). I was very envious of the birdwatcher who had one of these. Stick a nice wimberley head on the top and you are away. Funnily enough I found it at this site

Clamp website

which is for binoculars. Those birdwatchers get all the right toys!

There was also a film crew in Mashatu whilst I was there and they had everything setup on tripods but to be honest they seemed to get in each others way as you could really only operate one per vehicle easily. If I had space I would possibly consider taking a carbon monopod but I'm usually way over my limit anyway.

I hope this helps


Regards PaparazziPete www.marlboroughphoto.co.uk

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