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- About Lewis
Every once in a while a new product comes along that makes taking pictures much easier. I don’t know if you have ever photographed in any of the wildlife refuges in the Central Valley of California where you must remain in your vehicle while photographing the birds, or been to a park photographing a big mammal or predator at close range and you have been unable to leave the vehicle to set up a tripod, but if you have you know it makes picture taking difficult. Up until now your only alternatives were an expensive, clunky window mount or a beanbag support system. Each of these items are limiting it what they can do. Enter the Vacu-Pod, developed by a friend of mine after we went to a wildlife refuge and were told we could not leave the car. At the time I was testing a 600mm lens and we quickly found that even with image stabilization and resting the lens on the window or roof of the car that this was not a good alternative. So Michael Corlew spent a year refining the Vacu-Pod so that it is a versatile camera/lens/spotting scope support system. Besides just mounting your camera with a big lens you can use it to mount remote flashes too!
With the Vacu-Pod you can mount any tripod head you choose for support. The new Vacu-pod II has a tilt top that works equally as well from a sunroof or a side window (see images below!). One of my favorite ways to use the Vacu-Pod II is with a ball head and Wimberley Sidekick (although a full blown Gimbel head will work too), and an extension rail from Kirk Enterprises (to lower the camera), mounted from my sunroof. This way I can sit in the driver seat and shoot out the passenger window with full camera movements. When I have to shoot out the driver side window I just tilt the top 90 degrees on the Vacu-Pod II and I am ready to go, once again having full camera movements! The Vacu-Pod IIis so strong; I have mounted it to my sunroof and driven around Yellowstone for hours with the camera and 500mm lens in place! While the maker does definitely not recommend this, it does show you how strong the Vacu-Pod II’s suction can be!
Below are some images of the Vacu-Pod in use and some images I have made using the product in a metal pan on the beach, on my sunroof, mounted to the roof of my car (while I stood out the sunroof) and mounted to the driver side window.
If you use long lenses and need to shoot from your car this product is a must!