Lots of you email to ask how I get so close to birds in particular and wildlife in general. There are two secrets…

1. I have really long lenses (Sigma 300-800 f/5.6) and Canon 800 f/5.6
2. I use my car as a blind

For whatever reason, most wildlife (birds included) won’t spook or flush when they see a car. Open the car door, step out of the car, now that’s a totally different situation. But as long as you stay in the car, your chances of getting close enough to wildlife to get the shot are improved by 90%.

You have two options for shooting from the car. One is to use a bean bag. This is the least expensive. There are many different brands around. I like large ones that provide the most support. You simply lay your long lens across the bag which is forked over the car door. I use the Kirk Khaki Fat Bag FILLED – found here at $42.95.

The other option is to use a window mount. Kirk makes my favorite called the Kirk Window Mount found here at $249.95.

The window mount provides a steadier base, but takes longer to set up.

Both can be used when shooting prone to offer more support for long lenses outside the car.

If you’re trying for wildlife, give this set up a chance. It will get you closer than you’ve ever gotten before and with practice, you’ll be surprised at how easy it becomes to work with these tools.

One caveat to note is not all cars work well with either a bag or a window mount. The window mount in particular works better in cars with very wide door/window openings like an SUV. In my Jaguar XK convertible, neither is much help :)

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