Wildlife Photographers Australia
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USING HIDES FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY
All of us use hides for most of our shots of animals and birds in the wild.
It is almost impossible to take good pictures of creatures in the wild without a hide. Stalking using a long telephoto lens is usually uncomfortable and unsuccessful.
The use of a suitable hide ensures that the subject can be photogpraphed at closer ranges and without disturbing the subject. This then means that lenses with a focal length of between 135mm and 400mm can be used.
It is most important to remember that any animal or bird photographed under these conditions may be put at risk by the presence of the photographer, his/her equipment and/or a hide. Photography under these conditions should only be undertaken by those with an detailed knowledge of the animal or birds behaviour and after careful observation of the specific individual in order to ensure the animal or bird is not placed under stress.
Any need to move vegetation should be minimal and at most only to tie back intruding foliage. Foliage is often a protection against predators, sun, rain and wind. Removing foliage reduces the protection and so chance of survival. Any foliage tied back must be returned immediately at the end of each photographic session.
The use of a hide should only be in areas where they are out of the general publics view. No hide should be left unattended in a place with any potential public access.
It is important to check out the normal tracks taken by the subject before erecting a hide so as not to position it in the normal path of the animal.
It takes time for animals and birds to get used to hides .Hides therefore, should either be built over a period of time or erected some distance away and moved closer each day. After each change to the hide the photographer should retire to a safe distance and watch with binoculars. If any stage of the hide construction or its movement creates stress in the subject then the procedure should be reversed one stage or the hide should be removed completely.
Erecting hides close to nests that are being constructed, or when there are eggs in a nest should be avoided, as the chance of the bird abandoning its nest is greater than when there are chicks present.
The time for acceptance of a hide is usually about one week.
Approaches to the hide should be devious and varied. It is important to minimise the chance of creating a track or scent trail to the hide. Not only does this encourage other people, but human scent may attract feral animals such as cats and foxes.
The nest, nesting hollow, eggs, chicks or other young should never be touched.
The use of electronic flash needs careful consideration.The flash heads usually need to be well camouflaged and if when used the flash causes distraction to the animals, their use must be abandoned.
The use of recorded tapes, stuffed predators or other animals as baits of any kind is not acceptable. The use of any other bait is undesirable and should be restricted to situations where it does not put the subject at any risk.
- HIDES by Jim Thomson
- HIDES FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY by John Cooper
- HIDES by Tim Newbery
- NATURE ON MASTHEAD ISLAND by Ray Channells