Jim Winters with his TRIAXEZ rig. Photo by Pete Boden

The AF-S Nikkor 800mm F5.6 VR is an absolute beast of a lens. Shooting handheld with it for more than a few seconds is pretty much unbearable unless you're a champion bodybuilder. Wanting it utilize it for aviation photography, Jim Winters built a rig to accommodate the lens and a camera body that he can use for hours.

His 'triple axis' TRIAXEZ rig includes a counterweight and 12V battery. The battery provides additional counterweight to balance the rig – an earlier evolution used lead pellets as counterweights – and also provides charge to the camera for long shooting sessions. Winters says he can even use it to charge his phone. The whole thing is easily transported to and from shooting locations thanks to a pair of wheels.

It's a pretty clever piece of engineering, and the proof is in the images below, shot at the National Salute to America's Heroes in Miami Beach over Memorial weekend.

Photo by Jim Winters
Photo by Jim Winters
Photo by Jim Winters

It looks like the rig is working well for Winters, but he's envisioning ways to improve it. 'Due to the weight of the rig assembled with lens and counterweight, I was experimenting with a single shoulder mounted rig. You would look through a POV set of glasses so that you don't have to look through the camera body, nullifying the need for a counterweight.' That's a pretty enticing solution, but in the meantime, we think he's done an excellent job of adapting his equipment to his needs.

See all of his photos from the Miami Beach show at his Team Nikon Miami website.