As every wildlife photographer will very quickly work out, getting close to their subjects is not all about having the biggest and longest telephoto lenses! I have always been a photographer who likes to get up close and personal with his subjects and one way I have been able to do this is through the use of hides.
Personally I have always used Wildlife Watching Supplies hides as they are so well constructed and tailored to the photographers needs. I own two Wildlife Watching Supplies Domes hides (one a standard dome and the other a long and low dome for ground level work) and they have been used by myself on a range of photographic assignments.
The Standard Dome Hide –
The Standard Dome hide is perfect for most wildlife photography where you want to get close to your subjects possibly at a controlled or planned location.The standard Dome allows you to conceal yourself from your subjects whilst sitting comfortably on a chair. The hide has enough space inside for you to have a decent amount of room to move and store gear (And food!) for those extended photographic sessions.
The Standard Dome hide is perfectly built for photography with three windows to allow you to have a wide angle of view, Each window has a fold down rain flap as well as a piece of scrim netting to help conceal the photographer. The hide also has a front slit for a tripod meaning you can position your camera on a solid support whilst using the hide (perfect for long periods of time) with it sitting perfectly in the forward position of the hide.
The Standard Dome hide is perfect for use in locations where a photographer has scouted out or for areas where a feeding station has been created for your intended subject. The Dome hide allows you to work for a far greater length of time because you are far more comfortable than if you were just standing with your camera. The hides are made from proofed canvas material that protects the photographer from heavy rain, hail or snow and keep you out of the wind (I have been in mine in very harsh weather and been very comfy!). Below is one of my images taken using the Standard Dome Hide….
Long and Low Dome Hide –
The long and Low dome hide is made out of the same material as the Standard dome hide but instead of being built for use with a chair it is optimised for laying on the ground. To make sure that you don’t get soaked from the floor there is an inbuilt waterproof groundsheet making it very comfortable for long periods of time (personally I add my own camping matt and sleeping bag). The idea behind the Long and Low dome hide is that you are able to get eye level with ground dwelling species for more flattering images.
As you can see in the above image the Long and Low dome hide can be used in conjunction with a tripod for a stable support. Another alternative to the tripod with the low level window is that of a beanbag that can give an equally stable working platform ( see my wildlife watching supplies Doorstop Beanbag review here).
The Long and Low dome hide is perfectly built for ground level photography, the front low level window is large enough for professional telephotos used in conjunction with a tripod allowing photographers to get frame filling images of ground level species. Here is one of my images taken using the Long and Low dome hide below…
All of the Wildlife Watching Supplies Dome hides are very easy to put up and only need two lightweight aluminium poles to be threaded through the sleeves in order for them to be erected. The hides can then be pegged down to the ground using the supplied high quality aluminium pegs to keep the hide firmly in position. I have left my hides out in some harsh conditions and have always come back to them in one piece! The hides pack down into a simple duffel sack that is very easy to transport and store when not in use. The hides are pretty lightweight but that is pretty irrelevant as generally they will be positioned and left…not carried for miles and miles!
In conclusion –
Personally I love the hides from Wildlife Watching Supplies as they are so useful in getting closer to my subjects. They are well built and have lasted so well even through my constant use and abuse! The best thing about hides it they allow you to remain so comfortable when waiting for long periods of time (I spent 15 hours waiting for the kestrel!) meaning that you are more likely to get that perfect shot! The hides cost from around £200 that might seem expensive but when compared to a 500/f4 at £6000 its a pretty darn good bargain!
If you want some more information or want to purchase head over to the Wildlife Watching Supplies website for details.
Standard Dome Hide here
Long and Low Dome Hide here
Wildlife Watching Supplies is owned and run by Kevin Keatley and all of there products are produced in the UK. They have a wonderful sales team who are always happy to help so if you have any questions just ask!
If you have any questions just drop me a comment below i’m always happy to help,