Hello Bird Photographers,
The Wimberley Sidekick.
When I first saw this head at NANPA 1999, I
just didn't get it, and I still don't. Why? 1- Having the lens mounted
with the lens mounting plate perpendicular (rather than parallel) to the
ground makes it difficult to move the lens forward and back in the
quick-release jaws to balance your outfit each time that you add or
remove a tele-converter, an extension tube, or your flash (as I do
dozens of times during a full day of shooting). This same problem makes
it very easy for you to drop your heavy, expensive telephoto lens to the
ground while mounting it. 2-You are in effect, carrying two tripod
heads at one time, the ballhead and the Wimberley Sidekick (which is
mounted atop the ballhead). Note that you are also PAYING for two
tripod heads. 3-This arrangement introduces extra play into the
system, thereby reducing image sharpness. 4-If you want to make scenic
images, make them with a short lens and and your camera mounted on an
Arca-Swiss B-1 (with the proper Really Right Stuff mounting plate for
your camera body). If you want to photograph birds, photograph birds!
(If you are working from your car, simply buy a smaller, lighter,
cheaper tripod for your scenic photography.)
Recommendations: With 600 f/4s and 400 f/2.8s, the (regular) Wimberley
is the only way to go. Best atop the Gitzo Carbon Fiber 1548. Pretty
much the same for 500 f/4s, though those looking to save weight may
prefer the Arca-Swiss B-1. (If you are shooting a 500 f/4 with a
Sidekick, go to the back of the class.) For 300 f/2.8s, the Wimberley
is probably overkill, but might work for those doing lots of flight
shooing with 2X TCs. All lenses lighter than those mentioned above
belong on Arca-Swiss B-1 heads (and Gitzo Carbon Fiber 1325 tripods).
I have spoken to some folks who profess great love for the Sidekick, but
I just don't get it. I told Clay and David Wimberley, both good
friends, that they should get a Nobel Prize for marketing the Sidekick
successfully! But remember, this is just one man's opinion.....
FILE NUMBERS ON SLIDES?
I am constantly asked which data base system that I use. The truth is
that not a single BIRDS AS ART image has a file number or bar code of
any kind on it. Our images are filed by bird family or species. Each
sheet of slides that leaves the office is photographed on the lightbox
so that we have "record slides" of each submission. It's that simple.
Best, and great picture making,
P.S. I'm headed for SW FLA with lots of Velvia and Provia F in the