Sunday, August 16, 2009

Testing the hide out in the field ...

The pvc pipe frame.

The frame draped with a camo net.

After about three hours shooting with just the camo net draped over the Gitzo sitting quietly on a high vantage point, I decided to go and test the pvc hide on the flats. I've got all the photos I needed for the day anyway.

Good points:
1. The set-up was light : camo net, 3 metal rod stakes, 4 pvc pipes ... easy enough to carry in addition to the camera, 300/4 lens, Gitzo and scope. I got used to the stares already anyway.

2. Setting up wasn't to difficult. Early morning on th ebeach would not be a problem. A nite a the rainforest would also not be to tough, it has few enough components.

3. Breeze blows into the hide. Comfy and cool. The net also provided enough shade from the sun.

Not so good points:
1. Pretty cramped in there with the Gitzo spread and scope footprint. Need some for the other gear.

2. It's mighty breezy out there on the flats, whatever you put up tend to flap just like a sail. Without the long metal rod as stakes, the pvc would've flown easily for sure. Mighty glad I didn't use the G10-Grizzky Camo tent out here, it be an oversize kite in two seconds.

3. Great frontal views of the quarry from inside the hide ... but they also do tend to fly above, wander to the left, right and behind you. Maneuvering inside this hide is not possible without much difficulty.

It'd work very well in the bush or in the trails out of the mudflats ... will try this for the ducks at Curtin Lakes.

For use on the mudflats by the seashore, a few extra modifcations are needed : create extra room with additional t-joints and pipes (more things to carry!) , metal clips to hold the camo net together and perhaps a modified plastic chair to sit on ... a small fridge with cool drinks . The sand also gets mighty wet after you've sit on it for a few minutes, it's not a comfy feeling.

In general, this homemade hide is definitely usable on the mudflats with some minor modifications. With key objective of keeping the get-up lightweight and portable achieved, you loose a little bit on comfort and some shooting flexibility.

It's evident here of the very limited space available inside the frame.

It's shady and breezy inside the get-up, a coastal gust will blow the net away without some clips.

Shots like this would likely be possible:

Pacific Reef Egret, grey morph.

Great Crested Tern.

Lesser Sandplover.

Would definitely be tough getting these:

Gull-billed Tern.

Little Tern.

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