Camera Shoulder Stock For Nature Photography

Camera Shoulder StockWhen shooting nature there nothing better than a getting just a little bit more stabilization. The stabilized you are the slower you can shoot.

Brian Carey has an awesome way of holding the camera while shooting nature. It’s a stock that allows you to use your shoulder for more stabilization, just like you would have done with a rifle. It’s gonna be all Brian in just a sec, before that make sure you take a peek at his fine art photography site and Flickr stream.

I came across the “Camera Shoulder Stock” more than 20 years ago in John Shaw’s book “The Nature Photographers Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques”. It looked like a great idea to me and being a person who likes to avail of every opportunity to improve my photography I immediately began to make one.

I thought I’d share this with you. Maybe you’d be interested in making one.

Camera Shoulder Stock by Brian P Carey

The stock consists of three pieces of aluminum, bolted together. The aluminum is 2.5 cm (1 inch) by 0.32 cm (1/8 inch).

Camera Shoulder Stock by Brian P Carey

It is measured and contoured to fit my body. If you decide to make one you should adjust the measurements accordingly. The diagram below illustrates the measurements I used. To put these measurements in perspective, I am about 185cm (6 ft, 1 inch) tall and have long arms.

The measurement you use will also depend on the camera and lens you want to use it with. Here I have a Canon 50D and a Sigma 135 – 400mm lens.

Camera Shoulder Stock by Brian P Carey

I used heat shrink tubing and rubberized tape to cover the stock and a heat gun to adhere it. I put the tubing over the pieces before assembling and added the tape last.

Camera Shoulder Stock by Brian P Carey

It is twisted to follow the contour of my body. The good thing about aluminum is that it is malleable and you can work it a little for the final fit!

Camera Shoulder Stock by Brian P Carey

I don’t remember where I got the attachment I used to attach the stock to the camera. I think I got it from a bin of marked down items at a camera store. You can make one, get one from an old tripod or buy a cheap tripod from a discount store and use the attachment from that.

My attachment is a 1/4-20 (1/4″ diameter, 20 threads per inch) and protrudes 0.47cm (3/16inch) from the top of the stock. If you use a bolt make sure that it is not too long or you risk damaging your camera. But it has to be long enough to protrude through the stock far enough to secure your camera tightly.

Here is how you hold it.

Camera Shoulder Stock by Brian P Carey

And with a second hand.

Camera Shoulder Stock by Brian P Carey 

Please be careful and use eye protection and gloves if necessary!