Many potential wildlife photography subjects, especially large mammals, rely upon their keen sense of sight to detect and avoid danger, pinpoint prey, and navigate their environments. Whether a wildlife photographer is stalking or standing, camouflage is critical to remaining undetected and enabling minimal distance between photographer and subject.
Most hunters utilize some degree of camouflage to establish advantage in the wild. By tailoring their appearance to match the applicable hunting environment, they take distinct advantage from the subjects of their hunts. Even when wearing blaze orange camouflage for safety considerations, hunters gain advantage over large game animals, like deer, that perceive orange as a dull color. Photographers can gain similar advantage in their outings by applying the same camouflage principles in their preparation.
Careful consideration should be taken to camouflage both you and your equipment. Thankfully, sources of camouflage are wide, varied, and inexpensive. I rely heavily on Cabela’s® and Bass Pro Shops® for much of my camouflage, though many other creative sources should be considered. For example, I have picked up unique products from military surplus stores. Used camouflaged military items can be tailored to your specific needs at a fraction of the cost of specialty sources.
I picked up a waterproof rain coat at a thrift store for only $3.00. By cutting the sleeves off and using the elastic cord from the coat’s waste band, I created camouflaged camera and telephoto lens covers. Yard sales are also a source of inexpensive camouflage material and clothing, especially in communities near military installations with a high concentration of retirees. Don’t forget Ebay! Countless camouflage items are available and with a little creativity will lead to distinct advantage in the woods.
For my tripod, I bought foam pipe sleeves from a hardware store. They come in different diameters so I could address the tapering of the leg sections of the tripod. I cut the foam to fit the leg sections, glued woodland camouflage netting over each section, and slid them on by opening the precut slit down each foam length and sliding it over the tripod leg. When complete, the tripod was both difficult to detect in wooded background and comfortable to carry extended on my shoulder with camera mounted. This allows me to be prepared for unforeseen opportunities by only having to spread the tripod legs, point, and shoot. By covering your equipment with camouflage, it serves both to minimize detection as well as protect your gear from the rigors of the field.
Clothing is simple enough and doesn’t need much discussion here. I would like to point out that face netting is essential during summer shooting to keep the bugs from your face and also serves to camouflage your face and neck. Try to tailor your clothing camouflage schemes to the applicable environment. Consider the time of year and its effect on surrounding colors. What’s green in spring may be yellow in summer, orange in fall, and woodland or timber in winter. Even reed intense camouflage is available for swamp settings. If nothing else, break up your appearance to mottle your appearance. An important consideration is that laundry detergents may contain ultraviolet dyes and may make laundered items appear brighter and stand out against natural backgrounds to many animals.
If you’ve extensively scouted an area and plan to stand rather than stalk, you may consider a blind. Portable blinds are available that readily erect without much effort and offer access holes in the sides for camera lenses. They’re designed for hunters but perfectly fit the bill to conceal you and your equipment from wild animals. I emphasize that scouting is critical when operating from a blind and placement of the blind must be carefully planned.
Andrew Beebe is a wildlife photographer and proprietor of ShutterSplash Photography. He teaches animal tracking, sign, and behavior to help photographers locate wild animals and get as close to their subjects as possible. Classroom and field sessions are offered to groups or individuals interested in locating animals for once in a lifetime photo opportunities. His website is [www.shuttersplash.com]
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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