Recently, I acquired a Wimberely Tripod head tripodhead.com that is great for sports and moving wildlife such as birds, The head is gimballed, and it is possible to level the base of the head so that it jibes with the horizon (If you do not have this feature, when the horizon is in the picture it can appear at a 30 degree angle or worse).
I first tried it out with kiteboarders in Pompano Beach, Florida, but because the tripod was sunk in the sand (I don’t recommend it, but what can you do?), I was re-leveling the head over and over. The pictures were much easier to take, however, as I could follow the action with my 500mm lens with no problem.
A week later, I visited the Conowingo Dam in Maryland to try my hand with the new head with wildlife – bald eagles specifically. The day was so-so, but I was able to follow the birds easily with the Wimberely. My verdict is that the head is expensive, but worth it for long-lens photography.
Better yet, I met Bruce DeBonis, a dedicated amateur whose site is TravelThroughPictures. Check out his blog for some photo tips. The blog is written in a self-deprecating style, which allows us to deal with our own photographic issues and be open to his suggestions.
This spring, I attended a lecture at Look3 by Eugene Richards, one of the best photojournalists in the world. There he said, “I like to attend these types of events where I see what other photographers are doing. It reaffirms the doubts that I have about my own vision.” Certainly a healthy attitude for a photographer to have.