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Wildlife Photography Hides

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Getting close to non-habituated wildlife in natural surroundings requires an intimate knowledge of the subject, extensive field craft skills and lots and lots of patience, often in changeable weather.

Of course this is all part of the challenge of being a wildlife photographer and when all the elements come together, it’s extremely rewarding.

However, in recent years, a number of photographers have committed themselves to providing the rest of us with additional opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with wildlife by providing purpose built professional hides for hire in a number of UK locations and with a variety of subjects.

Nature Photography Hides is one such company and is my preferred choice. The company was set up by Danny Green and Mark Hancox about four years ago and has become extremely popular.

I recently spent a day at their female kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) hide in Worchestershire and below are some of the results.

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel using moss to preen.Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female Kestrel using moss to preen. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel preening. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female Kestrel preening. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

And then in typical UK style the weather changed from nice bright white clouds to rain and at one point, hail. This is where hides really come in to their own, providing a steady and sturdy platform to continue to work from, as long as you have a willing subject of course.

Female Kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female kestrel with field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel in driving rain feeding on a field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female Kestrel in driving rain feeding on a field mouse. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Female Kestrel using wet post to preen. Canon 1DMKIV with Canon 500mm f4 L IS USM. Click to visit Kestrel gallery

Female Kestrel using wet post to preen. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

The majority of us would love to have our own permanent hides set up, especially to ensure a element of originality, but the reality is that it takes a lot of investment, in time more then anything, to coax a subject to the point that it makes an appearance on daily basis. It can take a couple of years or more to get to the stage where you have a workable and reliable site.

For those of us that are not full-time professionals, and have limited free time, professionally run solutions such as Nature Photography Hides are a viable option for getting our wildlife photography fix.

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