Birding Gadgets - Home Made Support for Telephoto Lens

by David Lilly
December 27, 2014



Every once in a while bird photographers need a piece of equipment that cannot be found in our favorite camera store. So, what do we do? I my case the piece of equipment I needed, I made it myself.


Mule deer bucks in winter by David Lilly ©


Two mule-deer bucks photographed out of my van window


I use my vehicle as a blind for some of my bird photography. In many situations the bird is on the passenger side of the vehicle. Now this is not a  problem when I am using my Nikon 300mm F4. However, when try to use the Nikon 500mm F4 it is a problem. The problem is I cannot rest the lens on the passenger door because it is to far away, so I try to hand hold the lens. Anyone who has tried to handhold this lens knows it can be done for a short time.


Photographing out of Van window with home made window mount by David Lilly ©


I had to find a solution. In my mind it was a simple solution – Make a support to rest my lens. I needed a support strong enough to support the lens and something I could fold and put away when not needed.


Photographing from Van Window by David Lilly ©


Photographing our van window with home-made telephoto window support


Mountain blue bird by David Lilly ©


Mountain blue bird from Van window



Home made telephoto lens support for Van by David Lilly ©


Below are some photographs of the support I built. I went to a local hardware store and bought my supplies for about $20.00.



Materials I bought:


2 X 8 ft 3/4 in by 2 in by 8 feet stripping.
1 6 ft by 3/4 in doling
3ft by 3/8 in doling.
6ft X Pipe insulation for padding on the support.

Tools you will need:

Electric drill
3/8 in drill bit


Measuring tape


van telephoto lens mount by David Lilly © Lens on lens mount by David Lilly


I made my support adjustable in height if needed, but this is not necessary.


Jack rabbit by David Lilly ©


Jack rabbit photographed with my home made window support


David Lilly portrait


David Lilly is a professional nature photographer living and working in Calgary, AB he also teaches photo workshops. His photos have been published in PhotoLife, Calgary's Natural Parks, Alberta Nature Magazine and Fine Scale Military Modeler. Dave shoots with Nikon equipment. This is Dave's 10th article for the Canadian Nature photographer. David is also founder of the Calgary Camera Club.

David Lilly
Web site:

Phone: 403 236-8587 (Cell)

This is David Lilly's 12th article for the Canadian Nature photographer.


See David's other Bird Photography articles on the Canadian Nature photographer

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