Build a better beanbag
Make yourself a piece of essential wildlife photography kit – it’s so easy!
We all know that pros rely on tripods for sharper images, but they aren’t always a good choice. They can be tricky to use in tight spaces or when you need to be flexible with shooting positions.
Luckily there’s a great alternative that can save your photos from the dreaded camera shake: a simple beanbag. Prop it and your D-SLR against a post, tree or car window and it’ll help to steady your shots, even for longer exposures. Alternatively, you can rest your Nikon on a beanbag on the ground for added protection when taking low-level shots – it’s a lot easier than getting a tripod down to ground level.
A beanbag is an essential part of any wildlife photographer’s kit, but there’s no need to go out and buy one; it’s really easy to make your own, and you probably have all the things you need lying around the house to whip up your own DIY bag in minutes.
To start with, you’ll need two large rectangles of material. Anything relatively thick is great – we used felt as it’s easy to cut and sew, but denim or waxed material is great too. (Chop
Prop it and your D-SLR against a post, tree or car window and it’ll help to steady your shots, even for longer exposures… You can rest your Nikon on a beanbag on the ground
the lower leg off an old pair of trousers and the side seam will be ready-sewn!) You’ll also need scissors, a needle and thread. If your sewing is a bit rusty, there are lots of easy-tofollow tutorials on YouTube.
When it comes to choosing a filling for your beanbag, any dried beans and grains will work well. Smaller pulses such as lentils and rice are great as they’ll make your bag more malleable. Beans can go musty, so never put your beanbag away while damp.
We headed to Cotswold Wildlife Park to have a go at making our own beanbag, then got busy testing our finished masterpiece out on fences and walls, shooting the wildlife park’s resident meerkats, red pandas and exotic birds.
Your beanbag needs to have enough ‘give’ to enable your camera to sit securely