When you walk around in fields or go up some hills, holding a camera, a 3D camouflage poncho and a camouflage hat (which I already told you about) are irreplaceable “accessories” for a fast disguise.
Translated by Maya Golemanova
This type of rapid “hiding” has its flaws – you can’t stand for hours without moving and in some cases this is simply not a relevant option. The best choice for a planned shooting and photography requiring waiting for a long time, is a temporary shelter.
The best choice for that purpose would be a camouflage tent, which has dozens of versions – single and double, low and high, conical or cuboid, and ultra-compact tent-type chairs.
No matter how long you plan to shoot, it is desirable to cover the tent with some twigs or grass from the place where you intend to shoot. Although tents can hide your silhouette, for the birds and the animals that live in the area, these are suspicious new objects and are easier to perceive if they have some familiar elements from the environment.
Unfortunately, professional photo tents are still not imported to Bulgaria, unless they are pre-ordered. However, a cheap alternative is sold at the price of 20-40 lv for double conical camouflage tourist tent, which is easily adapted for shooting.
They are high enough, but inside you can only sit right on the ground, not on a chair. You cut slot, like lids, at a height proper for shooting, with the foot of the lid up so that the cut fabric can hang around the lens.
You should make some low cuts as well, for shooting in a lying position in the tent. Shooting small birds from the lowest possible angle is pretty much compulsory if you want to make a powerful image.
Tents themselves are light and don’t need to be set up in advance – since they have quite elastic and thick wires, all you have to do is to take the tent out of the case and to drop it – because of the tension built up while it was folded, it immediately unfolds to its final position. You just need to put it in the desired location for shooting.
If you have time I recommend you to go to the “film set” to set up the equipment before dawn, when it is still dark. If you want to set up the tent during the day, do this in advance in a place, far from the shooting place, then slouch it on your head and carry it to the desired place with smooth movements.
The best would be if you could put the camouflage tent in the place, where you will shoot from, 1-2 days in advance, so that the birds become accustomed to the new object. Go there at dark, enter the tent and then the birds are yours :). But remember – the tent is not an excuse to bother nesting birds!
Note that some birds see ultraviolet light and if your camouflage tent reflects this spectrum, to certain species you will be “glittering” like a Christmas tree, even if you are dressed with seemingly perfect camouflage clothing or other equipment.
Therefore, most countries sell special sprays for camouflage which prevent it from reflecting rays from the ultraviolet spectrum. It would be a good idea to check whether your tent reflects ultraviolet light with a special ultraviolet lamp – if possible, buy a bigger one and check your clothing and accessories in a dark place.
The price of the camouflage and the accessories for the shooting is not always a guarantee for the quality. If possible, always check with an ultraviolet lamp before you buy.
Here are the other tents that deserve your full attention.
I’ve tried a friend’s large double professional photo tent. Although it is very expensive, heavy and takes time to be set up, it is indispensable for comfortable shooting by two and even three people. There are many different holes for shooting, slots for the tripod legs, openings on the top to capture birds in flight, etc. It’s made of a coated and resistant to drizzle fabric.
I’ve seen a tent-type chair in action – it’s surprisingly small and yet with plenty of room inside. There is a wide viewing angle and provides enough space for a tripod and a backpack.
The disadvantage of a camouflage tent-type chair is that it doesn’t reach the ground and the twitching of your shoes may possibly attract birds. Another thing – once you sit there, you can’t get up until you stop shooting.
One of the first tents I’ve used was a high hunting camouflage tent, very suitable for shooting in a standing position. It’s nearly 2 m high but is much narrower than the others that I mentioned above. It unfolds itself thanks to the flexible thick wire. There are holes on the sides which are very handy for shooting birds in flight, because they provide better visibility. The disadvantage is that if there is moderate or strong wind, the tent folds in two, right on my head.
Recently, a colleague of mine showed me my dream photo tent – a cube, but low and compact with the necessary holes in it and still suitable for shooting by two people. On the top of that it is coated and resistant to drizzle, unlike the cheap Bulgarian tents, which I mentioned above.
No matter which tent you choose, you still need to behave properly – it’s good to reduce the sounds. It is important to move the lens that sticks outside the tent, slowly and smoothly. If you do not have good visibility outside the tent, you can make small holes or thin slots from which to peek. Do not move the lens from left to right in search of a suitable frame but move it only if you see through the hole something interesting to shoot.