Joe and Mary Ann McDonald's

Wildlife Photography

November 2003

Tip of the Month

Using the Wimberley Gimbal-head
with a camera body.


The Wimberley tripod head is a great head, flat out, hands down. We just returned from leading our two Yellowstone Fall Wildlife Photo Tours and I was amazed, and pleased, to see how many photographers were using the head. In our groups, about 75% of each tour had the Wimberley heads -- either the standard model or the Side-Kick.

Unfortunately, the Wimberley head is designed only for lenses with a tripod collar allowing the lens to be mounted onto the tripod head. Vertical or horizontal formats are obtained by rotating the lens on the tripod collar. While a camera can be mounted to the Wimberley standard head if you have a plate that mounts at a cross axis to the body, thereby fitting into the quick-release clamp of the Wimberley head, most cameras don't have plates mounted in such a way. Instead, quick release plates are attached to a camera to parallel the camera lengthwise. If you mount a camera with a plate in this way, you'll either be blocked by the Gimbal swing or your lens will be facing the Gimbal swing.

Peter Bick, who has offered some Tips in the past, showed me this trick. Simply flip the vertical post of the Wimberley so that is points upward, not downward. Remove the quick release clamp platform and remount it so that the clamp faces upward. If you simply swing the Wimberley so that the post is pointed upward the Q-R clamp will be upside down. Doing this will raise the over-all height of the combination, so you'll probably have to lower your tripod legs to allow you to look through the viewfinder. Leveling the camera can be done by either moving each leg until you achieve the right balance or, if you have a Gitzo or Bogen leveling platform, simply using that.

I love my Wimberley head for long lens work but I've sometimes been frustrated when a scene developed that screamed short lens! Now, with this new technique, I won't be caught short-handed! Thanks, Peter!


Our Past Photo Tips of the Month:


  DIGITAL- Digital Birding

 DIGITAL -Shoot for the Future

DIGITAL-Shoot for the Future, Part II

 DIGITAL Photographing scenes with extreme exposure values

 NPN- Nature Photography Network - a digital forum for nature photography

 Digital Pro Image Management Software

 Protecting your long lens from SAND, the pleasures of beach photography

 How do we protect our gear from dust, and carry our gear when on safari

 The Ultimate Flash Bracket
Padding Your Wimberley
Tripod Head

  Specular highlights and the flashing frog
 Using TTL flash with Hummingbirds  Testing your Flash's Aim
Maximum Depth of Field and Hyperfocal Distance - they're not neccessrily the same thing!  If you see it, it's too late -- a lesson in anticipation  How do you shoot the Moon?
  Low level tripod work  A great depth of field guide  Wimberley 400 and 600mm IS plate
  Take a Workshop First   Luck, what is it?  Don't take in baby wild animals

  Airline Carry-On Luggage -Let your concerns be heard!

 Disconnect -- travel precautions

The Nature Photography Network - a super website for images and information
 Wildlife Portraiture

 Obey the Rules
The Ti Chi Stalk
Photographing Critically Endangered Sites Busnell Night Vision Optics  Adobe Photoshop 7 for $300

 The Sibley Bird Guides

 Removing Cactus Spines

 Drying out boots with newspaper

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