Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

October 30, 2010

Working at the edge

Filed under: Birds, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, Non Birds, technique — richditch @ 3:57 pm
James Jerome at pond's edge

James Jerome at pond's edge

One of the best ways to create eye-catching photos of birds is to work low, putting the camera (and the viewer) at the bird’s own level. For a lot of us (especially as we get older) that often means working with the tripod at a very low level as we sit behind it. That’s about all I can manage these days.

But friend and fellow bird photographer James Jerome goes the extra distance and gets his camera gear a lot lower, as seen in this candid catch from across one of the ponds at the Gilbert Water Ranch. James gets his mega lens off the tripod entirely and uses a ground hugging plate on the foot of the lens that lets it swivel side-to-side. Since that puts the viewfinder very close to the ground as well James adds a right angle finder to the eyepiece so he can view the screen by looking down into the RAF.

Earlier this week I had a chance to view this equipment up close when James joined me to shoot the Eared Grebe at pond 6. I was fascinated (and frightened!) by how close James gets to water level, as seen in this image taken with the short end of a 55-200 on my “point and shoot” D70.

Working at the edge

Working at the edge

This got me thinking: what’s the real value of expensive gear if you don’t use it to its full potential in the field on the subjects you like?



  1. Really interesting to see this technique Rich – especially with the right angle finder. My bad back would never let me stay in that position for long so that’s one piece of expensive equipment I won’t have to spring for.

    Comment by rondudley — October 31, 2010 @ 5:30 am

  2. Interesting to see how James would use the right angle view finder. The low angle shots certainly do look much better but unfortunately not always possible depending on where you photograph.

    Comment by Jim Hackley — November 4, 2010 @ 7:55 am

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