Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waterfowling: Behind the Scenes

 Waterfowl in my area are normally quite wary.  Getting good photographs requires getting close.  Long lenses certainly help but even with the big glass the photographer must still be inside hunted waterfowl's comfort zone. 

This winter has been much milder than normal and with the temp at 37 before dawn this morning, I decided to check out a local wetland in hopes of finding some early migratory ducks.  Walking in through the early morning gloom I spotted a white dot sliding along the surface of the water, the unmistakeable white crest of a male hooded merganser.  As the morning passed I could hear the Canada geese and mallards fly out to feed and the hoodie occasionally calling, but nothing swam by my position.

And then suddenly a female hooded merganser was in front of the blind.  Success!

Now here are the "behind the scenes" views:

Frontal View

View from inside

I sewed the die-cut camo material around the window to break up the hard line of the window edge and to help conceal movement inside the blind.  To break up the outline of the camer & lens I drape a piece of camo die-cut blind material over the camera and tripod.

Rear,interior view

This year I added a pair of decoys to my gear 

I'm hoping that the sight of the decoys will give the real ducks added confidence in aproaching my setup.  I'll let you know later if they are a worthy addition.

The complete rig ready to travel

Camera, tripod, folding chair, camera bag, blind, and decoy bag

With the blind on my back, chair on the right shoulder, camera bag & decoys on the left, and the tripod/camera rig over the shoulder, the entire rig can be carried into the field in one trip.


Bob Shank said...

Coy, thank you so much for sharing your method on photographing waterfowl. I really appreciate it! I was using a homemade system made out of PVC pipe and camp but it was cumbersome and susceptible to the high winds we get up here on the mountain, so last year I purchased a portable blind too. I am hoping to put it into use soon and now that you've shared your tips I have some solid info to help me. Thank you! By the way, I love this first shot of the Merganser. She's beautiful! Great job! And thanks again!

Montanagirl said...

Lovely shot of the Merganser! I really liked seeing what you use to get all your wonderful photos! I might have to invest in a pop-up blind.

Passinthru Outdoors said...

Coy thanks for the behind the scenes look. I used my popup blind in my yard to photograph birds and my wife and daughter were laughing at me, but it works. Those extra tips about using the cargo netting is going to be a help.

Chris said...

Well I guess it is gonna work fine with such material Coy... I've been thinking of getting one, but I love to walk when taking pictures (or between pictures)... The nice thing over here is that we have very high grass around the pound which make it easier to get close without being noticed ;-)

Elaine said...

The merganser shot is fantastic! Thanks for showing what gear you use. It'll be interesting to see if those decoys help you out.

Kenny Isaksson said...

Good story about your hiding place, always fun to see how others are doing to get close to animals. Wish you all the luck with the pictures from this hide.
BR / Kenny Sweden

Dina said...

This is really cool. I kept telling my husband I needed a blind for the backyard. Now I'm going to have to look for one. Now if I could only find one with air conditioning.

Greg (Accessible Hunter) said...

great job, I hunt from a few ground blinds, the conceal my wheelchair well

Unknown said...

I've been shooting for just about 3 years now and despite operating on a downright miserly budget have finally amassed a decent collection of gear including a dependable tripod and some big glass. There's a pop up blind on my wish list and I hope to be sitting in it by the time spring rolls around. Never thought of the extra camo but that is a great idea. Thanks!