I built the first hide quickly in the spring of 2016. It was more of a raft with a camouflage net. It worked, and I got one of my favorite pictures of the great crested grebes lekking on the first shoots.
Hunger grew while eating…
New floating hide
In February 2017, I built a better floating hide with time. It was designed to fit in my car and is big enough to move and turn inside without the fabric or netting swinging. I made it using water proof plywood and empty plastic containers. In the test, the bow dipped too much, so I added a longer bow to the hide This hide is still in the basement, which I lend to friends.
The first tests with the hide I built myself in spring 2017. The target was a Red-necked grebe, which made a nest in a nearby bay.
I was very pleased with hide. It weighs about 10 kilos and is sturdy. The camera mount “tree” could be more sturdy.
Wildlife in focus
We were filming material for the nature photography documentary WILDLIFE IN FOCUS, when the snowfall surprised us and the Great Crested grebes.
The videographer was in the car hiding from the rain.
The video can be found on Youtube and on my website.
Then I met MrJan in Latvia (first picture) – later spring 2017.
In the village of Nagli, we were able to photographing e.g. geese. There were a lot of birds in the pond next to the lodge.
This was my first time using MrJan floating hide version 1 aka classic.
A muddy day in a mud pond. I spent many hours in shallow water of 20-30 centimeters with MrJan gear floating hide 2. The lowest viewing angle was good, but the heat flicker hindered the shots. Also, the pond was so shallow that my ass came out of the hide.
Cold beer was good after that trip!
More mud in Finland. Let’s jump to spring 2019 and great Crested grebes lekking time. Spring varies a lot, if you’re lucky the decisive week will have good shooting weather.
In 2022, the best days fell within one week. If they don’t have calm and good lights – you can wait until next year or settle for portraits.
Floating hide II
Hide changed to spring 2021. MrJan gear version 1 changed to 2, which is a little bit lower. I have been using this version ever since and have been very satisfied. At certain points, a slightly higher viewing angle is better, but often quite low is best. The differences are not many centimetres, but they can be crucial to get exactly the image you want.
Floating hide 2 is now upgraded Floating hide 3
Dreams come true
When dreams come true and many things fall into place. A beautiful foggy morning and the light was wonderfully soft. I’ve only been able to shoot in this kind of conditions this one time.
And then the heart. A symbol of love formed by Great crested grebes.
Behind the scenes
In the last part, pictures of other photographers in the bay photographing birds. I conclude this series with this post. Spring is almost here and there is soon opportunity to photograph birds here in the north as well.