Beanbags are great, the only trouble is, many of them can be awkward to carry out in the field. Enter Wildlife Watching Supplies and their great range of beanbags with built in detachable shoulder strap…the ideal solution for beanbag shooters with large telephoto lenses.
The only downside to long lens beanbags, as I mentioned above, is they are a pain to carry. Sure a tripod can get heavy too but at least that lends itself slightly more to being thrown over the shoulder when carrying your gear about. Beanbags on the other hand, well they are just dead weight. Of course you could stick it in your lens bag whilst you’re carrying the lens but if you’re like me, you may not want to carry extra items about and leave the lens bag in the car full stop.
Wildlife Watching Supplies range of bags with detachable shoulder strap!
This simple but great little feature means you can now carry the BB almost like a normal bag freeing up your arms from the extra weight and making the bag quickly accessible when you need it. And when you do not require the strap you can simply unclip it and use the beanbag as normal. It is also fully adjustable and the padding is removable too.
The strap also comes in useful when using the bag in a car, as you can wrap it around the inside door handle and drive around without fear of it falling out. This comes in very handy when driving around the twisty single track roads in the Scottish Highlands and on places such as the Isle of Mull, because the bag stays in place as you manoeuvre the car, then, when you find a subject you want to shoot you just quickly place the lens on the bag and you are ready to go – no fumbling and wasting time (not to mention making noise) trying to position the bag back on the window frame once you’ve stopped! The BB also has a small loop on the underside of it, so that you can purchase an additional retracting cord to attach for the same purpose, which may come in handy depending on your particular model of car.
The bag itself is made to a high standard and can be purchased with or without liners and filled or unfilled. It comes in the familiar ‘H’ shape but with the two sections joined nearer the top rather than the middle. This gives the BB extra grip when used on car doors etc. I have several regular ‘H’ bags and they can be difficult to balance sometimes…well the off centre design of this bag with longer bottoms makes a big difference as they really grip the sides of what they are resting on for extra support which in turn gives you more faith in its ability to support your gear.
Getting Down low
The shape also means if you’re using the bag on the floor you can get three separate heights out of it for low level shooting (you can read my tips on low level shooting here). Firstly resting on the highest point which is useful for shooting over the top of grass etc by having the beanbag the right way up, with the horizontal line of the ‘H’ at the top…
Secondly with the horizontal line of the ‘H’ at the bottom you can get the camera lower to the ground. Note the sides of the beanbag now cradle the lens giving extra support…
Finally, by removing one of the liners I can get the lens as low to the floor as possible whilst still providing solid support….
Bottom line, yep it’s a just beanbag. But like any bit of kit, the easier it is to transport around the more you’ll use it. And for me the inclusion of the padded shoulder strap really makes this BB easier to carry around and therefore, more user friendly out in the field. Of course it is worth mentioning that this particular version I have is a large bag and depending on what you fill it with it is going to potentially be quite heavy!! But the versatility it offers thanks to both that strap and by using two filled liners inside make this the bag I go for first whenever I’m going to be shooting with my big lenses (pictured here with my 600mm f4).
You can find not only this bag, the C14.3, but many others bags and excellent outdoor photography accessories at WIDLIFE WATCHING SUPPLIES.