Photography

Fred Hurteau's Flying Saucer Ballhead

Several years back, Fred Hurteau mentioned this ballhead on the Birdforum.net forum. At that stage I thought it would be a really good idea to have such a gadget for taking pictures with a long lens from a vehicle. I had tried several gadgets with very little success.

One such gadget was the Ergorest.



The Ergorest mounted on the door of my pickup.

The Ergorest construction, together with a Kirk B3 ballhead, make the contraption very top heavy.

The biggest problem that I had with the Ergorest was that the window flexed ever so slightly, which made it very difficult to get the subject postioned where you wanted it in the viewfinder.

So, when I saw the flying saucer ballhead, I asked my good friend Jan Meyer if he could make something like this. He loves a challenge, and produced one in a couple of days.


The Bigma on the Flying Saucer Ballhead.

The really nice thing about this combination is that the Bigma, together with the 40d, is very nicely balanced, as you can see from the pic. I tried it with a 500mm F/4, but the weight of the front glass on that moves the centre of gravity so far forward that it becomes very tricky to balance.

Check out Fred's page for the specs of the ballhead. On that page, he also give the design for a beanbag suitable for use from a vehicle. The Badger Beanbag that I use was obtained from Outdoorphoto, but I don't see this particular bag in their shop at the moment.

I have taken thousands of pics with this combination, but what makes it really nice is that you can use it anywhere that you can use a beanbag! Here a couple of samples.


Malachite Kingfisher. Taken from the Bathlako Dam hide in Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

Little Bee-eater. Taken from my car in Mapungubwe Game Reserve.