NATURE

All images ©ericweight 2015

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There is a line in one of the Bourne movies where the CIA guy announces, “get the cars, we’re going mobul!” (mobile in English). I have my own version; “grab the bag hide I’m going mobul”

For years I have had a hate - hate relationship with my bag hide. There’s nothing wrong with it as camouflage, it’s just so damn claustrophobic. It hangs in the wrong places, gets between the eye and the camera, is always trapped when I need it to give me some slack and the mice have eaten large parts of it when I left it in a hedge for a fortnight.

Just lately however, I have begun to get to grips with it. So much so that I can see me having to buy a new one soon as I keep getting my wellies caught in the mouseholes,tearing it up even more.

The two factors that transformed its usefulness to me were 1) abandoning any camera support in favour of hand-held, knee-steadied approach and 2) clipping the top of the viewing aperture to the peak of my cap with bulldogs clips. The first allows more manoeuvrability within the cover, weighs less and takes up less space. The second means that I can always see what is going on and the material doesn’t fall over my eyes at critical moments. Now, I like my bag hide and I have been putting it to good use.

In effect all that it does is obscure the wildlife-frightening human shape, melting it into an amorphous blob and unlike any other hide, it can fit into any space that the photographer can. More importantly, it is packed away in an instant and I can be off into the distance to a more favoured area or wherever I have seen anything interesting happening.

The hares did come fairly close today but the two pairs in my field were not very active due to the cold wind. They preferred to hunker down and watch between blades of grass for trouble. After three hours of watching them watching me, I slid out of my hidey hole and stalked another pair that I could see in a more sheltered area. That versatility got me a few nice opportunities that would not have come my way in my fixed hides.

Its so nice not to have to pack loads of stuff. A tiny rucksack with a spare card and battery, the bag hide, foam seat, flask and biscuits, and that is all it requires. Oh and a camera of course. With such a small bag, weighing nothing, it is easy to carry the camera around my neck, always ready when  pheasant bursts out of the hedge on my way back to the car.

 

That combination gives me a light grabbing aperture of f4, and enough range to crop a close up out of the frame without destroying the image and a wide enough field to catch landscape and action shots. The whole set up both allows and requires me to get close to my subjects which is the most satisfying thing  of all.

My nature