Sunday, 19 February 2012

Carrick Roads - Floating Hide

For my final year project at Falmouth University, I am looking at the Carrick Roads, which is a flooded valley on the south coast of Cornwall. Last week I decided to create a floating hide, which enables me to photograph the species at water level.

I wasn't sure if the floating hide was actually going to float, let alone how close I was going to be able to get to the species. So I decided to give it a test run on a Little Grebe. They are known to be fairly skittish, so it was an ideal bird to try it out on.

Little Grebe.
Little Grebe Portrait.

As you can see, the hide has worked really well and got me much closer to the subject and allowed a very low angle which has created a very shallow depth of field.

After this success I was eager to try it out again but the weather had been too windy until today. So today I went to a familiar part of the Carrick Roads allowing me to give the hide a proper try out. My first sighting was of a Cormorant drying off on a buoy. I ended up hovering around the cormorant for about 10 minutes getting so close that my lens couldn't focus at times. As this was a test run I wanted to get close up profile shots of species. Here are a few of the Cormorant.

Cormorant drying off.
Full frame of a cormorants head.

After about 10 minutes a local fishing boat came up behind me, with some very confused people on board. I heard them approaching and questioning what on earth the contraption in front of them was. They thought I was some type of rubbish that had been thrown over board from a boat until they got within 5m of me and realised that I was a person dressed in camouflage inside a floating hide. They were still very confused.

Anyway I carried on with my shoot but sadly the boat had scared off the Cormorant. I moved on looking for the next subject to photograph but was struggling to find anything, until I saw a flash of blue in the distance on the other side. I quickly paddled across and sure enough it was a Kingfisher. These birds too are very skittish when it comes to people, so it was a real test of how well my hide would disguise me . To my amazement I got closer then I have ever been to one of these stunning birds. All of the images shown here are full frame.

Kingfisher sitting on it's perch.
Kingfisher sitting on a pile of seaweed fishing.
Me testing out how close I could get to it.

I followed the Kingfisher around for about 30 minutes, until it suddenly dived about a metre in front of me, caught a fish but then was immediately chased off by another Kingfisher that appeared out of nowhere. Fantastic to witness.

  • Make a floating hide, they can work so well.
  • Don't be scared to try something new.
  • Stay with your subject for as long as possible.
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