The Tablet As Viewer, Storage And All-Around Photo-Processing Device
The iPad changed the way we can view photographs, and for a lot of photographers, it's not only an excellent viewing device, but it's also a viable storage device when you're in the field. And while the iPad is the leading tablet, there are plenty of other options from the likes of Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Acer and others. (For a brief rundown of tablets for nature photographers, see the recent Gadget Bag article at outdoorphotographer.com.) The great thing about all tablets is the way photos positively jump off their bright, vibrant screens. Using a simple camera connect kit, you can attach your DSLR directly to a tablet and download the memory card.
Sony 32 9.4-inch
On a road trip, you can enjoy hands-free use of your tablet with the Valet Seat Bolt Mount from The Joy Factory. The simple, sturdy mount gives you hands-free use of your tablet, and it's fully adjustable. The carbon-fiber construction resists shaking and looks good. In addition to the Valet Seat Bolt Mount, The Joy Factory makes a number of other auto tablet mounts, including a suction cup device that attaches to the inside of the windshield or other car window. Contact: The Joy Factory, www.thejoyfactory.com.
Nik Software Snapseed
As we said, the consensus among pros is that a tablet makes a great tool for viewing photos, but it's not necessarily a great tool for storing photos on the road. That's because many pros shoot constantly, and they shoot uncompressed RAW files. On a given excursion, it's not unheard of for a professional nature photographer to shoot upward of 100 GB worth of images. However, if you're like many OP readers, your capacity needs are probably considerably less, and a tablet may be a perfect choice for you. Once in the tablet, you also can view and edit the photos with a variety of apps. Snapseed from Nik Software has become one of the most popular apps for nature photographers who want to have some sophisticated imaging tools on hand in a simple interface. Contact: Nik Software, www.niksoftware.com.
Kirk Enterprises Multi-Purpose Window Mount
Shooting from a car can work out great, especially for wildlife photography. The car is like a blind in a lot of situations. Using a window mount like Kirk's Multi-Purpose Window Mount gives you a sturdy platform that can handle a large telephoto lens and a heavy DSLR. It's designed to be used inside the car window, but it also can be used as a "low pod" on the car roof. Contact: Kirk Enterprises, www.kirkphoto.com.
The Puffin Pad
A lower-tech window support for your camera and lens is the Puffin Pad. It's made of what the company calls automotive foam and topped with memory foam to conform to the contour of your gear. The Puffin Pad is lightweight at 3.4 ounces, and it slips right over the car window. Contact: Puffin Pad, www.puffinpad.com.
THE pod has been a popular nature photography tool for many shooters because of its versatility and simplicity. You can use it as a window mount in the car, or you can mount it on the roof, or really any other mostly horizontal surface. It's a beanbag that's available in different sizes and configurations to match your gear, whether it's a DSLR and telephoto lens, a camcorder or a point-and-shoot camera. Contact: THE pod, www.thepod.ca.