Second generation floating hide released
Floating hide designer and manufacturer MrJan Gear has released a new version of his floating hide. In comparison to the older model the new hide is lighter and fits in a smaller space when dismantled. These were few of the main elements to focus on the new design, others being easy to travel with and getting the mounting plate even lower on the water surface. Maintaining stability and sturdiness of the old model was important and a good time and effort went into testing and designing the new product. Using modern methods and materials (such as 3D printing and light weight metal) allowed the whole weight to be only 5,3 kilograms (old one 6,5kg).
Go even lower!
New hide features an even lower shooting angle. Mounting plate, which is for attaching your ball-/video head, is now 5 cm lower than in the first model. This might not sound like much but when you get to the water level, they are the centimeters that matter. Depth of field gets narrower and it’s possible to separate the subject from the backround better.
Lower angle is a good feature but it’s not easy to shoot mainly because it tkaes the photographer deeper in to the water. Ballhead is in contact with the water and anyone who has been photographing near salt water knows what it does. Ballhead needs to be thoroughly rinsed after. Iäm not an expert in this area, so i’m not sure if there are products that are better suited for these kind of conditions and don’t mind a little salt water.
The hide itself is very steady and doesn’t put your camera gear in danger but it’s always important to handle your gear safely and calmly. Front part of the hide is made from metal so it splits oncoming waves better than the big rubber front. This way i think the new version might be a little steadier when hitting some rough waters.
Testing in Latvia
I got to try the new model in Latvia last year, where it was being tested as a prototype. I decide to go in shallow pond where black-headed gulls and some waders were feeding. Calm pond was an ideal place to test the new low angle.
I quickly found out that the warm weather produced so much heat waves on the water surface that it was impossible to shoot from very long distance. I neede to focus on subject relatively close to me and forget about the whooper swans fighting in the far end of the pond. I ended up photographing the gulls as they fed on insects, took baths and i even got to witness a couple mating. I personally like the really low angle altough it makes moving object a little harder to shoot. You can easily build some small adjustment/rig to elevate your camera if it’s feel too low. If it was higher to begin with, it would not be possible to get lower, so it’s better this way. The tent adjusts nicely to changes that size. On a short test period i can’t really say which is better, new or old. I didn’t have to put the new one together from the start so i can’t say anything from the assembling point. It’s not a complicated process, that i know. It’s hard to believe that anyone would be disappointed getting either one.
Link to MrJan Gear webshop
Whooper swans in evening light
Calm night and soft light was a perfect combination for shooting whooper swans in a deeper pond. Moving around is much easier in deeper water as long as your feet touch the bottom of course. This makes it easier for taller photographers as you can submerge your body fully in the water.