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The New Toy

January 5, 2016
Perched female Red-winged Blackbird near a creek in South Texas.

© – Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

I mentioned a few weeks back that I had gotten a new toy.  And of course it took a couple of weeks for me to actually use it.  Same sort of effect as a kid who receives a bicycle for Christmas and his hometown gets hit with a blizzard.

A few weeks ago I sent a message to a group of photographers who I know and trust asking for a recommendation for a gimbal head for my tripod.  I plan on buying a longer lens this year than my current standard gear.  And while my tripod/head combination will handle my current lens just fine, this new lens will be far too big and heavy to be used safely on the traditional head.  If you’ve never dealt with a gimbal head, this YouTube video does a great job showing its function.

One of the the folks I requested a recommendation from instead offered to sell me his gimbal head that he was no longer using.   I jumped at the offer.  Christmas present purchased & wrapped.  There is a longer story that goes with it, but I may share that at another time in another blog post.

Female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

© – Female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

I get possession of the thing about three weeks ago, but of course the day after I get the gimbal head the weather is horrible.  Christmas weekend the weather is horrible.  So I keep watching the weather forecast and I see a break in the weather on Wednesday.  First it looked like morning was going to be good.  Later it looked like afternoon.  So I bit the bullet, took a day of vacation from work, and went out for a test shoot at Crescent Bend Nature Park in eastern Bexar County, Texas.

The results?  I think I’m in love.

So much easier to use than my trigger-activated ball head.  My wrist did not feel horrible after I was done shooting.   The images… well, the light was really good but out of a little 0ver 300 images made I have 26 that I want to spend some additional quality time with to try to drop into the portfolio.  1 in 11 shots is way over the average.  I think I found a winner.

About the Images:
Two shots from the same perch.  Same great background.  Same great light.  The Standard Gear was employed off of a Wimberley gimbal head and Manfrotto tripod.  The camera settings for the female Red-winged Blackbird were ISO 400, 1/125 sec at f/9.  For the light improved significantly for the lady Northern Cardinal image–those settings were ISO 400, 1/500 sec at f/10.  Very little Lightroom or Photoshop work needed.  Reset the black point and added some saturation.




2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2016 2:37 pm

    Jim, I am glad you are enjoying the Gimbal. I always loved the way you could get the lens balanced and to be able to move it with just a light finger touch.

    • January 5, 2016 6:24 pm

      It is nothing short of incredible, Bob. Thank you again very much and can’t wait to get together with you and Ann here in a few weeks.

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