Saturday, April 21, 2007

Going Camo: My New Photo Blind!

For Christmas Santa Zickefoose brought me a new portable photo blind. One of the advantages of being married to a Science Chimp is that she does lots of research before making an equipment purchase. She consulted many websites and several of our professional photographer friends for info on a portable starter blind--one that I could use here on the farm to photograph feeder birds. All the data pointed to the Doghouse Blind by Ameristep.

For one reason or another, I had not used the new blind until today--a mere four months after it dropped down our chimney and nestled under the tree. And I've got to say that this blind totally ROCKS!

The blind popped up quick as a flash--instant camouflage.

I pulled it out of the bag, and like many of the lightweight, high-tech camping tents in this modern era, it practically sprang into fully set-up form by itself. Since there was no wind this morning I did not stake it down or use the internal struts that help solidify its shape. Instead, I stuck a lawn chair inside, along with my tripod, camera, binocs, and coffee and I was ready to go.

Oh wait!

Forgot to fill the feeders and put up a few handy snags with perfect backgrounds.


OK, bring on the birds!

During the winter, I sat outside in many layers of outerwear, trying to get some feeder bird photos. I got a few, but the birds were slow to return to their relaxed feeding activity no matter how still I was sitting there. With the Doghouse (which I am strangely accustomed to being in) the birds resumed their activity almost immediately.

Wow! Now I wish I had used this blind much sooner!

Taking it down was only a little more difficult than setting it up. But once I get used to it, I'm sure it'll be a snap. From my own search of the Internet, it appears that the Doghouse is available in many retail stores, including hunting/camping/outdoor stores like Cabela's and even the big box stores, if you're so inclined.

The blind fits into this Boston-terrier--sized bag (and it comes with shoulder straps for hauling--the blind, not the dog).

Here are a few of the morning's keeper shots.

The male American goldfinches are nearly ready for spring.

Male eastern towhee at the suet dough.

Male northern cardinal wondering what that clicking sound is inside that giant pile of leaves.

Boo! Hiss! The female brown-headed cowbirds are back.

I'm proudest of this male eastern bluebird image.

This blind also works for photographing other wildlife besides birds.