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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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Wednesday, 25 June 2008 07:16

Skimmer II – ground pod for wildlife photography


The common rule in the photography about the need to make pictures of live subjects from the level of their sight forces us to go as low as possible with the camera – especially in the case of birds, which move down on the ground or float on the water. There is no major problem to be down and shoot without using tripod or to crawling with the lens attached to sturdy tripod when the lens is relatively light – let`s say up to 1 kg. The problems appear with heavier lenses, when creeping on the ground and holding the big lens steady becomes literally penance not mentioning possible problems with your back.


During the search for suitable ground pod for photographing the birds I have found several types of support described on internet – besides the mini-tripods and home-made supports there exists several commercially produced ground pods. in some cases very useful „beanbag“ can be bought e.g. at http://omni-pod.com/promodels.html but the crawling with this type of support seems to me very cumbersome when using big lenses as are 500 or 600mm lenses.

The ground pod „Panning Ground Pod“ described on http://www.birdsasart.com/bn85.htm is currently out of stock and it seems to be a bit clumsy and not so versatile for moving on the ground. skimmerbFollowing the needs of wildlife photographers the new SKIMMER II Ground Pod has been designed, which is suitable for easy crawling with heavy telephoto lenses. in fact, Skimmer II is a big pan with rounded edge and diameter of ca. 25 cm, made of reinforced plastic for heavy duty performance. The hole in the center of the Skimmer allows to mount on the tripod head or just the quick release so the edge of the lens is only a few cm above the ground level (see the picture on left). A big flat bottom of Skimmer makes the photogear safe even on very soft ground (mud) and the room inside the Skimmer can easily be used as a stacker plate for memory cards or battery. Skimmer II Ground Pod can be purchased either on the producer websites http://www.naturescapes.net or in the popular photo-shop at http://www.bhphotovideo.com


The price of the groud ppod is about 100 USD. Who finds this price too high but wants to have the ground pod in his bag, there is a good news – the nground pod can easily be made from frying pan – the tutorial can be found e.g. here:


A big advantage of the commericially produced ground pod is that it is apoproximately half of the weight (ca. 400 g) of the home-made ground pod. With its dimensions it also fits easily into the pocket of larger photobags and can be put into the proper luggage for plane journeys – you dont need to be worried that it would get destroyed, it is made from really durable material.

The use of Skimmer II Ground Pod is very comfortable – with the lens very close to the ground we are able to crawl and move with the lens in any direction. In order not to broke your neck when staring into the viewfinder close to the ground it is convenient to put the angle viewfinder on the camera.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 February 2011 08:45
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