Out Hunting Elk II -- Operational Question

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Sandy Vongries, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. So here I was, better than last time, with all of the gear I needed, and a good idea of where the critters were. Off with my Wife driving, me with D 750 with 600 / 5.6 AI across my lap, DF with 80-400 D in my hands. Every time I had to get out of the car, one camera had to go somewhere, on the seat, on the floor, or handed to my Wife. When we came across a herd crossing the Musselshell River, that encumbrance was a good part of the reason I missed a fantastic shot. There will be other times, tomorrow I'm going out and setting up early since we have a decent idea of their movement pattern. The question for those of you who do better wildlife than I, what good methods of deploying large lens / camera combinations in a vehicle would you care to share? Thanks in advance!
  2. HoofArted

    HoofArted SE Ohio

    Did you figger out a solution?

    I seldom make special trips hither and yon to get specific shots so don't have any ideas for you, but am curious to see what replies you get. I have only the one camera but if I had two I'd have my long lens in hand and keep the other in a safe spot but not in my way. That would work for the way I take pictures.

    I'm too much of an opportunist; I'll just go somewhere and take pictures of what I find or might leave for work early and see what I can see. Heaven knows I have enough stress at work and that relaxes me. Since I have only the one camera I tend to keep my long lens attached and at the ready. My reasoning is if I want a landscape-type of shot the view won't change and I have plenty of time to leisurely change lenses.

    Sometimes while creeping down a back road I'll see something like an eagle circling at tree height, a hawk on a telephone pole or a deer off in a field, and have missed the shot while changing to a longer lens.That's why I keep the long lens mounted.

    BTW a lot of those pictures are taken while I'm sitting in my truck, so I bought a "pool noodle," cut it to fit the side window, sliced it down the middle and slide it over the window glass to use as a pad to rest the lens on. Poor people got poor ways.
  3. No answers so far. With a few exceptions, like you, my style is opportunistic. I got the enormous old 600 specifically to take advantage of a nearby eagle tree. I would drive there, set up the tripod and shoot eagles till they left, the light changed, or I got tired of it. This summer the tree blew down. The 600 is not a camera that you can do much with hand held, though I have shot successfully on rare occasion. Mostly, I use a zoom because I want to have as much variation in focal length as possible to take advantage of any opportunity I come across. I do know the Pool Noodle trick, but I settled on armaflex pipe insulation instead -- it comes pre split and is temp stable. This is more a case of where to put a big camera rig quickly or retrieve it. I'm on a mission with these Elk -- I want at least a couple of really good shots. That is the reason for the big tele. Since I have it, the second camera with a zoom is for the unexpected. The best idea I've come up with so far is some sort of padded trough between the front buckets, and a bit of padding for the floor on the passenger side. When out by myself, the cameras aren't a problem, the cameras and managing the car together are equally limiting. Anyway, today I'm going to get out to the same area where we have gotten close at around the same time and set up. They are in Rut, so even though they usually run, caution and quick access to the car is required.
  4. How about ONE BIG ZOOM lens to do it all.
  5. That is what I was trying for with the 80-400 D, but it isn't quite good enough or its reach long enough. The 200-500 is affordable and well liked, but I need something wider than 200 on the low end. You are probably right on, though -- one camera deployed with long lens for the specific target, another with a smaller zoom than the 80-400 out of the way in the bag for "opportunity" shots. I may still work up some sort of between the seats rest so I'm not always holding the big lens rig. The 600 mounted on a camera is too long for even the largest of my cases.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  6. Your only other choice...
    Concours Week 14d_Concours d'Elegance_2.jpg
    dcstep likes this.
  7. Jeez - I hope not!
  8. Sandy, I often just roll down the window and shoot from the car. In Yellowstone, after photoing a herd, had a buffalo cow walk up to the side of the rental car, lean over the hood and lick the windshield looking me in the eye the whole time. I yelled to folks in another car that I appeal to females of all species. They were laughing their heads off. Another was rubbing a shoulder on the lr taillight. Fortunately no damage, but no photo either. The 70-200 has a minimum focus of 6 feet. Because I was on business and was alone, I just set the rig on the seat beside me but could place it within reach on the floor behind the front seats. I didn't have 2 bodies with me in the above experience because I was flying but your suggestion is exactly right, A shorter zoom on a FF and a long zoom on a crop. I dial in exposure on both, same as when using 2 bodies at a wedding, when I arrive at a new location. Then ready to go.
  9. Would it work to sit in the back seat and have the second camera sit next to you?
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  10. Sandy, I faced a similar dilemma last weekend shooting in the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. My ever-indulgent wife drove while I scanned and panned, jumping out for the best opportunities. We joked that the best approach would be to bring the truck next time, with me in the bed while she drove, since I wouldn't be fighting seat belts and doors constantly. That might be a little exposed in the coming months, but I'm curious to try it in off-highway locations like the Refuge. I generally go with the 150-600mm on the D7100, and a shorter/wider option on the D5100. Managing both bodies is always a pain in the tookus. If I'm riding in the passenger seat, I'll place the less-used body-lens combination on the floor behind the driver's seat, where I can reach it (more or less). Or, since using the shorter lens usually means getting out of the car, I'll put it on the seat behind me, knowing I'll have to reach in for it after I un-ass the vehicle. Peter's suggestion seems workable, if less comfortable or convivial.
  11. David -- we need to make certain our Wives never meet! Thanks for your input, hope all is well! S
  12. HoofArted

    HoofArted SE Ohio

    Never thought about the armaflex pipe insulation thing but will peep it out.

    I appreciate the tips everyone shares.
  13. Works great, unless you are in mosquito country, since you can't close the window completely.
    HoofArted likes this.
  14. I leave the wife home and put the cameras in the passenger seat, then grab the one I need. When walking, I've got the 500mm (with our without TC) over my right shoulder and the 100-400mm around my neck.

    If my wife insisted on driving, which she never would, I'd have one between my legs and the other in my hands.
  15. Sandy, I saw what you said. ;-)
  16. Grab your phone and take the picture? It may not be Nikon/Canon quality, but it is an image and of infinitely better "quality" than no image at all.
  17. Hate using the phone. It takes a wonderful photo for what it is, juswt do not like the ergonomics. Instead I almoost always have an Easy Share 14 MP that serves the same purpose when the subject is appropriate and I need to get my hands on something fast
  18. Where I was, no coverage -- don't know about Yellowstone. When I was there last week, I didn't bother to bring a phone - rarely carry one.

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