photos from an open vehicle

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Mar 26th, 2006, 10:52 AM
  #1
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photos from an open vehicle

To All You Photo Gurus,

How do you steady your camera when you are in an open sided vehicle? A bean bag is great but where do you set it? Should I plan on bringing a monopod?
I'm sure there is a simple solution, I just don't know what it is!
Thanks!
Lily
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Mar 26th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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lbj
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Lily

I would ask which camps you are going to first? I think the monopod is rather cumbersome and not very versatile. The bean bag is very useful, though it depends on how many people are in the vehicle. The manfrotto (bogen) Superclamp works a treat if you are in Wilderness or Kwando vehicles. They have a bar you can clip it to. Add a tripod head, and away you go. I am in the process of buying a wimball head, though that is for larger lenses.

Some may advocate handholding, but the clamp effectively means you have a tripod in the vehicle. Very handy for lowlight situations. Im not the biggest fan of putting the ISO levels too high.

What equipment are you shooting with? That will be a good indicator to what you require

Ciao
John
 
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Mar 26th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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I don't. Even though I know I should. I hold the camera as still as I can by pressing it against my nose/forehead, my arms next to my body. Holding it out and using the LCD screen has got to be the worst way to shoot. And, I use as fast a shutter speed as possible, and, I use lenses/cameras that have "image stabilization".
regards - tom
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Mar 26th, 2006, 01:10 PM
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lbj
I have a Canon Eos Rebel 300D with a Tamron 28-300 zoom.
I will be going on a 10 day mobile tent safari in Botswana with Game Trails. The only photo I've seen of one of their vehicles was open on the sides with a top.
I'm tempted to just hand hold but I'm afraid I'll be disappointed with the results. I like close ups which means less light and longer exposure times. I still have a lot to learn about my camera. I'm just beginning to play with it without having it on automatic all the time. I don't think it has image stabilization.
Thanks!
Lily
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Mar 26th, 2006, 02:51 PM
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DJE
 
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Lillipets,

Have you thought of looking into a good compact shoulder harness which has multiple functions for video or still camera. I believe a monopod ( with a quick release ) is also another good option and can be used for your still camera and also for binoculars. It shouldn't be a problem in a vehicle and could also be used as a walking stick if need be.

We use a Gitzo carbon fibre with a Manfrotto ballhead and quick release which is very compact and lightweight.

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Mar 26th, 2006, 03:27 PM
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Whenever you use the superstructure of the vehicle to act as a base for your camera, any vehicle movement effects the camera. So if you are the only passeneger and your guides is sensitive your needs an bean bag is perfect.

I doubt that that utopian situation exists, take a telescoping monopod ensuring that you enjoy one of the "window" seats, which allows you to drop the leg of the mono pod to mother earth instead of the vehicle.
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Mar 26th, 2006, 03:31 PM
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Lily: I usually find a way based on the angle to brace with my legs and put my elbows on my knees to stabilize or rest my elbows on the vehicle itself or as another said just use my arms on my body. I definitely have images that suffer but get many good ones for each mess up. I'm sure my pics would be better with a monopod or clamp but when I am sharing a vehicle it seems like a lot of hassle -- I like that clamp idea though, might try that in the future.

Everyone cannot hold their camera that steady. I would recommend that you bring a monopod or clamp just in case as back up. Then you can shoot away and see on your digital how you are doing. If you are having trouble getting clear images break out the gear.
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Mar 26th, 2006, 10:29 PM
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Another tip (sorry if it's already been said, I just skimmed) is to ask your driver to switch off the engine when he stops.

Engine vibrations can definitely have an impact at some speeds which would be OK otherwise.
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Mar 27th, 2006, 01:05 AM
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Hi lily,

Is this the picture of the vehicle that you are basing your question on?
http://www.gametrailsbotswana.com/Ne...0Trails08.html

These vehicles tend not to offer lots of opportunity to use the super clamp. Maybe the bar across the front, but then you will have to stand, which will probably not be permitted.

I would definitely say take a bean bag. For this setup I would also take a monopod, the freestanding one from Manfrotto is pretty useful. As far as i can see, you would need to have the seat in front of you free to rest the beanbag. Based on the camera and lens that you have, I cant see weight being too much of an issue. Therefore, handholding will be easier than using a big lens. Though you will need some support for early morning and late afernoon

Enjoy
john

 
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Mar 27th, 2006, 06:09 AM
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We used the bean bags on the backs of the seats. We all knew each other so we used the back of the seat in front of us. Or we braced on the vertical pole that holds up the framework for the canopy. I also braced like PredatorBiologist said - put my feet on the side of the vehicle and braced my camera on my knees. The people in the front seat did stand and brace on the cab of the truck.

Here is a picture of the vehicle we used with Game Trails. http://www.pbase.com/cjw/image/51468781 We were having difficulty bracing the big lenses we were using so we had them bring us some boards. You can see them tied along the side of the truck. They worked well to brace the cameras on. It made it harder for short-legged people (me) to get in and out of the truck but it was worth it to get better pictures.

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Mar 27th, 2006, 09:58 AM
  #11
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Thanks for all the good tips! I knew I could count on you for some good ideas.

lbj-that is the vheicle we will be using.

Sundowner - the boards across the sides is a great idea. I'll be sure to suggest that ahead of time!

Sundowner - were you allowed to go "off road" at all? And that "artsy fartsy" image of the baobob is wonderful! I'm assuming you did that with a long exposure and zooming as you took the picture? I love doing stuff like that but I don't know how to override my camera's auto focus yet. Sometimes I feel like I'm working with "HAL" from the movie 2001!

Thanks again for all the ideas!

Lily

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Mar 27th, 2006, 10:15 AM
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Lillipets, we went off road in some places and not in others. Our guide, Nick, also let us get out of the vehicle in a couple of spots. One was at a hippo pool. He let us get out and we were on the ground to get good shots of the hippos yawning (here they are http://www.pbase.com/cjw/image/52196724 and the "next" picture also).

The baobab shot is as you described. I don't think you need to override the autofocus. Just reach up and twist the lens while the shutter is open (I used the 16-35mm lens). I'm not familiar with your lens but the Canon lenses I use have an on/off switch for autofocus on the lens itself.
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