Solutions: BushHawk Shoulder Mount

If tripods and monopods don’t work for you when photographing fast-flying wildlife, try a BushHawk
This Article Features Photo Zoom

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,