There’s plenty to ‘hide’
I’ve always found it interesting to see what’s just out of shot in a photograph. The simplicity of an image often belies the messy set-up that has enticed the subject there in the first place. Having finally copied off the images from my iPhone; I found some snaps I’d taken of just such a set-up. Firstly, the hide won’t win any awards, but it’s just enough to keep the rain off, although shyer birds would require greater concealment.
The height of the bird table means I can shoot low as if I’m on the floor, without actually lying on it. Food is placed in the centre of a plant tray, which I then filled with leaves I’d collected. The bramble is attached to a cheap microphone stand (see below) I bought on Amazon, these are great for positioning a perch just where you want it and for pretending you’re a rock star in front of the mirror. I often set up more than one shot next to each other for variety. So the intention was to capture birds among the leaves as if on a woodland floor and a simple shot of a bird on a bramble stem.
The hide and tables are situated close to a hedge that provides cover for the birds whilst feeding, and is also another great place to capture shots as the birds are more relaxed when in cover. The hide faces north so I get nice side lighting as the sunrises. This is a great set-up for a back garden, as long as you keep your feeders permanently stocked, birds will keep visiting.
If you don’t want to build an eyesore like mine, cheap pop-up hides are available, that is if you need one at all, many birds will feed even when you’re stood in plain sight, it’s a case of trial and error. Most of the shots were taken at a focal length of around 500mm; with the aperture wide open (a lower number as possible) this helps to make the background blurred and put emphasis on the subject.
The images below were all taken using the above set-up, it’s surprising what nice light, a long lens and a different angle can achieve compared to a camera phone snap.