Can you see me!?!
DIY gear for photography (part 2)
While photographing wildlife there is always a chance to come across very shy animals. One day when going through my gear I stumble upon a tarp I made many years ago. The colour was perfect to turn it into a DIY wildlife blind. The tarp measures 2 by 2 meters and has eyelets on each corner and halfway down the side to attach it to branches, etc.
To turn it into a usable blind, all I needed to buy was some mesh, a bit of black fabric, some string and fabric dye and I was set. The mesh and fabric can be purchased from a hobby and craft store for a couple of dollars a meter. The string and fabric dye cost under $10 as well.
The photo above: First tests without opening cover and camouflage.
The tarp measures about 2 x 2 meters. I have taken all sides about 4cm in to strengthen it and to prevent fraying of the cloth edge. The eyelets are easily attached with the included hole cutter. I have attached a piece of string through each eyelet for easier attachment to branches etc. While crafting the blind I hung the tarp up to measure the correct height for the camera hole and the window. Depending on your seat/stool and size of camera and tripod the opening needs to be adjusted accordingly. I used a polyester mesh to disguise the person behind the blind a bit and to make the blind a bit sturdier. The cut out from the window was used as a lens and hole disguise. Then I used a piece of black fabric to cover up the opening with a few strings sown into it (see photo below). The string is so the fabric can be lifted in place to only show the opening in a small section.
Opening cover with strings.To cover the opening I have attached a piece of black fabric which can be lowered in place to cover the whole opening. With the help of the strings I can open sections of the cover as I need to.
The photo above: Opening with black cover and string system.
Once I finished the alteration, I placed the tarp on the ground and squirted black dye in a random pattern on it and smeared bigger blobs of dye with a paint brush to create a camouflage kind of look to it.
Wildlife blind with camouflaged patterns.Wildlife blind with camouflaged patterns on it. The pattern will help to disguise the blind a bit better.
The photo above: Finished blind with all the bells and whistles.
I have used the blind successfully for example to capture the elusive female satin bowerbird, a very shy creature.
Satin Bowerbird (f)- Ptilinorhynchus violaceusSatin Bowerbirds are renowned for decorating their bowers with all manner of blue objects collected from the vicinity of the bower and sometimes from farther afield. These odds and ends may comprise feathers from parrots, flowers, seed-pods and fruits, butterfly wings and artificial items such as ball-point pens, matchboxes, string, marbles and pieces of glass. Occasionally objects of different colours, especially greenish-yellow, are also used where blue items are difficult to procure. These are carefully arranged around the bower to assist the male to attract a mate.
(Text Source: BirdLife Australia)
Most blinds bought commercially are built like tents. An advantage of these blinds is, that the person inside will be a bit more disguised as the blind is dark inside. The disadvantage is that the blind gets really hot inside, especially in summer in the sub-tropics of Queensland. Another drawback is the size of the tent blinds. My model is compact (see 'carry me' blog) and not bigger than 20 x 10 x 10 cm. You may now say, but tent blinds have tent poles to set up. That might be correct, but why carry tent poles when you are in the bush and you can use sticks, branches, trees, etc. That is one thing less to carry with you. Also, keep in mind that this is for short-term use and not meant to stay out for weeks.
Disclaimer: All links in this blog are only used to show examples of the products mentioned. I am not an affiliate or getting paid from the companies linked.