Solutions: BushHawk Shoulder Mount

If tripods and monopods don’t work for you when photographing fast-flying wildlife, try a BushHawk
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As an avid bird photographer, I’ve tried to photograph birds with big telephoto lenses. When I used film, I shot lots of pictures, but didn’t get many keepers. After I purchased my first digital SLR camera and had taken lots of travel pictures, I decided to try it out on the birds. I visited our local lake and found that I could catch a few birds in flight. The real benefit was that I could trash my bad images without the cost of developing them, so I kept at it and seemed to get better. I tried different tripod and ballhead combinations, but I still wasn’t satisfied with the images.

Then I came across the BushHawk, which reminded me of a shotgun, except instead of a gun barrel, it had a camera lens attached to a camera. It looked intriguing, so I bought one and attached my Canon EOS 10D to a Sigma 400mm. I headed off to the zoo, and the images I captured surprised me—they were beautiful, crisp and clear, and tack-sharp.

I’ve since used the BushHawk for both bird photography and sports photography. On my wall, I have an image that I can see from my desk of a windsurfer with the board’s mast parallel to the horizon as he surfs a wave in Maui. For my long-lens photography, the BushHawk has been a revelation.

I’ve been photographing at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Arizona for a number of years. There are thousands of birds there, and I spend most every Saturday morning searching for them. I use a Canon EOS-1D Mark II N and an EF 400mm ƒ/5.6L USM lens. My photography of birds in flight has become fun and rewarding. I get more keepers, and I enjoy the process of photography much more than I ever did using a tripod setup. Bird-flight photography is an integral part of my life, and the BushHawk has been a big part of my success. I don’t go anywhere where birds are flying without it.

Here’s my setup for working with the BushHawk:
solutions1 Set the white balance to Sunshine or Cloudy
2 Open the lens to the maximum ƒ-stop
3 Set the minimum ISO for the light of the day
4 Set the camera to AV; then go looking for birds. As I see a bird flying, I raise my BushHawk and aim my camera on the bird, with the image within the small circle in my viewfinder centered on the bird. I follow the bird, holding down my trigger and take several images.

The gunstock-style BushHawk lets you photograph with a long lens that you can keep steady. For fans of the device, there’s no substitute for getting dramatic, on-the-wing images.

BushHawk, (800) 325-8542,


    Before I invested in a bush hawk, I did my homework. I found endorsements by professionals I trusted, professionals who said the bush hawk was great, rugged and lasted for years. So I got one. Within moments of setting my bush hawk up, it was broken. I had carefully set my bush hawk down in my living room, but my common standard of care was not enough to keep the fragile shutter-release cord from breaking irrevocable. But I gave bush hawk the benefit of the doubt. I blamed myself, and coughed up another 45 bucks to get a replacement cord, one touted to be stronger. But again, within moments of setting up my bush hawk and treating with the utmost care, some telltale bump had broken my brand new cord! Also, the plug-in for the cord had become loose, so even if I bought a third cord, the bush hawk still would not take pictures. All this damage to the ???rugged?۝ bush hawk, before I had even gotten it outdoors!

    But even if none of this had happened, I still would have returned the bush hawk. You can?۪t autofocus your camera by holding the trigger halfway down, meaning you have to hand focus it while following birds. Also, when the shutter release cord is plugged in the pictures won?۪t display on the lcd screen of the camera, meaning your settings could be all whacked out and you wouldn?۪t know it until the shoot is over. And despite numerous calls on numerous days at different times of the day, I still have not been able to talk to a single person at bush hawk about my problems. I have been disgusted by the quality, design and customer service of Bush Hawk, and would advise you to steer clear of their products.

    In reply to Matt, bummer you had a difficult time, I own a bush-hawk kit and it has served me well, but most of the faults you seem to be highlighting are of your camera, I use an Olympus system with mine and I get half-press focusing through the trigger, it doesn’t interfere with camera operation or hide the image settings, If your camera operates that way with a shutter release system then its a fault of your camera, or wrong cable, the bush-hawk simply triggers the camera the same as any release cable. I made my own cable to use with my camera and bush-hawk for $10, so I cannot comment on the quality of their cables, but the unit itself for holding the camera is well made and solid. Talking to them personally I got replies to my emails about questions the next day.
    Take care!

    I have used the BushHawk for a few years now . Started of using it for my Nikon 35mm w/ the Tammaron 200-400 zoom lens. Worked good, but was on the heavy side. Now I use it for my Kodak digital camera . A match made in heaven ! I also added a Bogen ball head to it too give me some more flexibility. Works great !

    One of favorite ways too use the BushHawk is inside my truck, shooting out the window, using my pickup truck as portable blind. When I need to move down the road I set the BushHawk W/ camera on the seat beside me. Also using the B.H. gives me more freedom then the other window mount tri-pods do.

    All in all, I am very pleased with the BushHawk !

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