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Product Review: Wildlife Watching Supplies C30 Dome Hide

by Charles Glatzer | November 1, 2003

© Charles GlatzerBlending into the surroundings is often key to successful wildlife photography, and choosing the right blind can be an arduous task. Hides or blinds can offer the best means of getting close to an animal within its fear circle. Ease of set-up, weight, camouflage pattern, breathable material (comfort range), and versatility in use are important factors. Portability when erected allows for slow easy movement relative to the subject, background and light. For this reason, I prefer a hide/blind without flooring material. I highly recommend a lightweight chair or stool; as you wait patiently for your subject to appear, comfort becomes a factor not to be ignored.

Kingfisher © Charles Glatzer

The Kingfisher’s distinctive chatter may be more often heard than the bird is seen, as it is notoriously skittish. Use of a blind can make image opportunities with this bird, and other shy subjects, a reality.

Finding the right place to set up a blind can often take many hours of careful observation. I find it best to set up the blind when the animal is not on site, or at night. Do not place the blind so close to den/nest sites as to impede the normal behavior of the subject. Tolerance to the blind will vary with the subject, and it is often best to leave the blind unattended for a number of days before shooting. I often find it beneficial to enhance the camouflage of my blind with natural material from the surrounding habitat.

In practice, I have found the Wildlife Watching Supplies C30 Dome Hide design to be all of the above and more. Because each is custom manufactured, alterations in design can be implemented (at additional cost) to suit your specific needs.

Camera flash and blind © Charles Glatzer

This hide takes roughly five minutes to set up; simply thread the two aluminum flexipoles through and hook the ends into the brass eyelets at the corners. The interior provides plenty of room for photographer and gear. (The larger dome hide, C30.1, can accommodate two people.) Because the hide has no floor, it can be moved while you’re inside allowing you to get closer to your subject or alter your position for a better vantage point. In windy conditions you can secure the hide with pegs provided using guy rope loops on the inside; the blind could then still be moved if needed, just with a little more effort.

A main front window and two side windows are all large enough to accommodate a telephoto lens. There is also a tripod flap in the front, placing the front tripod leg outside frees up more room on the interior. Should you need to shoot from a lower angle, a long lens can fit through this tripod opening.

The hide is shown here in the Advantage Timber Pattern with an optional “snoot” which can be affixed with Velcro to the main window. The snoot provides protection from the elements as well as further camouflage for your lens, and utilizes two Velcro flaps to accommodate off-shoe flash brackets. The image through the side window illustrates the excellent visibility one gets from within the blind. The special camouflage netting on all windows provides excellent outward visibility, while limiting the subject’s view inward.

Blind folded up © Charles Glatzer

When compressed in its included stuff-sack, the blind is light and small enough to fit in a rucksack or suitcase. It can also easily be carried over your shoulder.

Using a blind can provide many opportunities that might not otherwise be possible and is a great addition to a nature photographer’s accessories. For more information or to purchase the Wildlife Watching Supplies C30 Dome Hide, please visit the manufacturer’s website at www.wildlifewatchingsupplies.co.uk, or email me at info@charlesglatzer.net.

About the Author

Charles Glatzer, a full-time professional photographer and teacher for more than 20 years, owns and hosts “Shoot the Light” Instructional Photographic Workshops throughout the USA and abroad. For more information go to www.shootthelight.com. No text or images may be reproduced for any purpose whatsoever without written consent from the author.

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