Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review of the Puffin Pad and the Nest Gimbal Head

Today I am going to discuss two products to help your photography. These are items that I personally use and recommend.

The first product is the Puffin Pad. I have been using the Puffin Pad as an alternative to a bean bag. For the first thing it is very light and only weighs 4.8 ounces. I always carry one in the car so if I find a subject that is best photographed from the car I can place the Puffin Pad on the window to support my lens and allows me to get photographs that I would not been able to obtain since if I had to get out of the car it would have spooked the subject that I wanted to photograph. As an aside, I had bought the original Puffin Pad and really liked it. I went on a trip to St. Paul island in the Pribilof's and mentioned to my roommate about the Puffin Pad and come to find out that he and his friend invented it. The Puffin Pad has been upgraded to a Pro model which is a half-inch wider and stronger and comes with a tether. Not only it can be used on the car window but also on your knee and has a cut out to use it on a fencepost. It is very light. I also use it to support my long camera lens while driving. It is available at the Puffin Pad www.puffinpad.com E-shop Store http://s315371441.e-shop.info/shop/catalog/browse?sessid=ursPG9GpZJ1Fbnyc6mkx03zeYmIl4VvsGRukMgjnDY6E0NCMJjEeJilUoyfUIykL&shop_param=
Puffin Pad
Me photographing with the puffin pad
Utilizing the puffin pad to support a camera and lens in the car
Red-tailed hawk in-flight that only could been obtained at the time with the Puffin Pad because there was not enough time to get out of the car and set up the tripod and long lens

Rough-legged hawk soaring, another photograph that there was not enough time to get out of the car and set up everything, because the hawk would be gone by then

Short-billed dowitcher's in the impoundment at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, photographed from the car window utilizing the Puffin Pad
The next item is a new gimbal head. You probably say a new gimbal head "Why?" I started out first using a Wimberley sidekick on a ball head but found I could not get the panning of viewing action that I needed. I then bought a Mongoose and kept upgrading it as the company changed the model and switch from a side mount to a bottom mount, it was good but not great. I then bought a Jobu Junior gimbal head and really like that except with my Nikon 500 mm f/4 + a camera body was a little too heavy. Recently, a friend of mine in Montana found a carbon fiber gimbal head that performed the way I wanted it to. It is lightweight and easily supports my camera and heavy lens. It is extremely easy to balance and has a smooth fluid motion both vertically and horizontally. With my Mongoose, if I wanted to add a converter and unless I push lock buttons in love lens with tilt. With this new gimbal head NEST NT-530H I just have to tighten the knobs in the lens will not move. After using the NEST for over a month I do not have anything bad to say about it. With the NEST QR plate which has a safety groove in the bottom which the safety lock goes into it prevents the lens from sliding out of the head if you forget to tighten the locking knob on the plate. I know it was stupid and forgetful of me I did this once forgot to lock the plate on, picked up my tripod and walked with it and I did not lose my camera and lens. The price is very reasonable right now at $298. It can be ordered from Camera Cottage http://www.cameracottage.com/equipment. If you do decide to order one include the code MS15 so that the owner knows who referred you to him.
Nest on my tripod with the Nikon D3s and the Nikon 500 mm f/4

Snowy owl taken with the above combination

Common loon also taken with the above combination
Also, the photographs in yesterday's blog were obtained with the same combination