Any tips on heavy lens/birds in flight?

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Lynn876
Lynn876 Contributing Member • Posts: 681
Any tips on heavy lens/birds in flight?
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I spent yesterday shooting an immature bald eagle in an almost perfect environment. Sun at my back, ducks below, slow flights out to the ducks, fairly close considering. The bird flew above me 2 or 3 times. Also a couple of hawks hunting the area. Missed most shots.. I now so appreciate the skill it takes to get any BIF..

My problem- or one of them, is I have a heavy lens. I feel awkward. I cannot get the jist of handholding over my head. I'm not so good over my head with the tripod either- I smash into the legs all the time. Are there techniques for this? Yesterday I shot handheld and was not so happy with the results. Last time I tried this with the tripod I had a hard time squatting down fast and far enough to get over my head without feeling like I was going to knock over the tripod. I think at one point I just picked up the whole tripod and balanced it on one leg while shooting.

I have a manfrotto 393 or 395. The "U joint" looking gimbal. Is this all that much less efficient than a gimbal with a free side? I don't really have a problem placing my hands- just shooting overhead.

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