Saturday 12 November 2011

New Hides are horrible for Photographers

As a reasonably regular visitor to various wildlife reserves across the country, I continue to be amazed at the lack of decent facilities for photographers or consideration for the very different requirements for photogaphers compared to birders.

Some of the new designs and incarnations are truly awful as can be seen at the monster hide at RSPB Titchwell and the latest 'thing' at RSPB Minsmere.

Massive windows, strange mechanisms to operate the glass, and really high view points. Now for birders, I understand that this is fine - get up high, have a massive vista in front of you, and with your 60X scope, you can watch Wrens and Goldcrest from 50 miles away.

Now photography is not that unpopular a pastime, and judging by the numbers I see at these locations lugging their 500 and 600's around, there are a lot of us, but sometimes, it feels like we might as well be a bunch of lepers.

Where are the low viewpointrs, sympathetic positioning with light and habitat management? These things are not mutually exclusive to wildlife, so go on you lot at WWT, RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts please try thinking about us the next time you build hides.

Now I know there was a great little photographers hide at Snettisham, tha required the photographers to go in and out at certain times, and this got abused by some, and so it was spoiled for all. I know as I tried to book this a couple of years back when it was taken out of service.

I dont think we are asking for that. General access is fine, but get us down low please. One of the best for this that I have used is the South Lake at Slimbridge, when the water levels are up.

Here is an image from South Lake at Slimbridge to show what I mean, plus a Marsh Harrier in flight at the Bittern Hide at Minsmere. Which other than this type of in flight is hopeless for photography.

So you reserve people, feel free to give us your thoughts. We will even let you have a right to reply blog spot post if you want it, and to our regular readers, let us know what you think or the good hides around the country.



  1. HI Martin, I was at some sporting good and hunting/fishing stores here in the USA. Some of the blinds do not even have fold down screens. They are called shoot throughs. Now I am not sure why I would want to spend over $100 US Dollars on a blind to shoot an arrow through it. Not only would you ruin your blind, hitting the screen could deflect your arrow. I saw a few hunters scratching their heads at the idea. It was a definite no-go for photography.

  2. Well the RSPB won't cater for photographers, however when it comes to wanting images for nothing!!! they are only to happy to see one. On the whole though I think it would be beneficial all round if they did think about photographers when building new hides. There are some good hides around ie Walmsley nice big opening windows, up high though. RSPB hides narrow window openings or solid glass in most cases I suspect.

  3. THanks for the comments Scott and Bob.

    Scott in terms of this post, I was thinking more about the permanenet structure hides that we have at wildlife reserves here in the UK and at some places I have been throughout Europe. For the sorts of hides/blinds that we have for personal use - well they are as good or rubbish as we tend to make them. But the control then is in our hands.

    Cheers again