Taking my own photos

I’ve always really wanted to take my own photographs of wildlife to use for reference photos for my paintings. Unfortunately I’m rather constrained by time and, as I would have limited opportunities to use it, I cannot presently justify the cost of a good camera with a decent zoom lens! I need extra hours in the day then I could choose to be a photographer and a painter. 😉 Occasionally however, I do get the time and this is what I do and how I built up to this way of taking photos…..

Whilst there are of course some fantastic photographers who allow me to use their amazing photographs for my paintings, being able to take your own photo and create a painting from it is just a really nice thing to do.
So for a sum of £250 (a few years ago) I decided to buy myself a bridge camera. I went for a Fuji FinePix HS20 EXR with a cracking little zoom. OK, on an overcast and dull day it simply won’t compare to a professional camera, but it does take some cracking close ups and I just choose a nice day for taking my wildlife photos! 📸

So what else do I need to be able to do this? A tripod and a portable bird hide! Well a tripod wasn’t a problem and not too expensive but the bird hide! Well, let’s just say a purpose made popup bird hide was sooo expensive, so what else can I use? Well……..here goes…..

Now we have the ideal kit and I have my first bird hide set up in the garden! I know you are thinking ‘that’s a clothes drying rack and an old bedspread!’ Well, yes it is, but beggars can’t be choosers! I simply set up the clothes rack in the garden, opened it up, draped the old cover over the top and cut a few camera holes into it. I even had cushions 🤣 I sat behind with my camera and tripod and got some really nice photos of our garden birds!

The Mark II featured seating, more head room, some waterproof trousers, some pegs and even a bit of ‘carpet’!!

But then came the Mark III. Made with a garden cane framework and a bespoke cover made by Jo on the sewing machine, it featured various window slots, which were covered, when not in use, with net curtaining!! The whole thing was easier to set up, taller and very nice to sit inside, I even made a little table for my cup of coffee and biscuit!

Now the final bird hide is actually bought, are you ready for this, are you sure………..it’s a portaloo tent! Yes, it really is! This is tall and ideal to fit a chair and tripod inside and it’s even in a camouflage material! Unlike purpose made bird hides, this retails at a lot less and folds up into a small, lightweight bag.

You had better not be giggling to yourself, but remember it works and it goes to show you don’t need much to be able to take some nice photos of your garden birds. Just using you mobile phone through a tent hole (moving your hand very slowly) will get some nice photos too.

So if you take photos of birds or wildlife, do you have a homemade hide you can tuck yourself inside?

Until my next blog, bye for now,
Paul 🤓

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8 thoughts on “Taking my own photos”

  1. Great blog…really enjoyed it…I have tried taking pictures of so many birds and I get right to where I need to be to take the picture and they fly off…we have many games of hide and seek…my favorite one is the Red Winged Black Bird and I think I will try harder this year to get some good shots of him!!

  2. I’m interested to see that you have a bridge camera. I’ve got a Nikon coolpix B700 which is a bridge camera, but it won’t bridge! I’ve tried many many times, following all the instructions, but no joy. However, it’s a lovely camera with a brilliant zoom lens and I love using it for bird pics. My son has a hide which I’m going to borrow this spring.

    1. I feel I answered this question recently Sue, but I can’t quite remember where. I must be going daft or something.
      A bridge camera is really the type of camera that is in between the usually point and shoot, pop in your pocket palm camera and the professional very expensive cameras. So for me a £250 bridge camera ‘bridges’ the gap between the two types and gives you the large body size of the expensive cameras and some of the settings (certainly not all) for a much cheaper price.
      I do find that dull light is not my friend though, after all the sensor in a bridge camera doesn’t compare to the qualities of the expensive camera sensors, where they can take cracking photos in very dull settings.
      However all said a good weathered day, nice and bright and the photos are really good. 🙂

  3. Oh that cracked me up. It’s amazing what you can come up with when needs must. Such a brilliant idea Paul. Superb photos. I’ve heard the term “bridge camera” before but wasn’t sure exactly what it meant. I have a Panasonic Lumix TZ15 which I play around with but haven’t read the booklet or used all of the settings. It serves my purpose. Many of the garden birds are English species brought over with the settlers in the 1850s such as Blackbirds, Sparrows, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Thrushes and Starlings. I think they tried with Bluetits and Robins but unfortunately they didn’t survive. The Blackbirds seem a bit more “bolshi” and thuglike over here. Guess they have to put up with more extremes and harsh weather. It may be imagination but their faces don’t seem so gentle as English ones.

    1. Hi Carol, firstly thank you for coming along to my blog! I never thought that you would have some of the same birds over there. As you say though with the hotter environment they much have different competition over there.
      The bridge camera is simply a way of saying bridging the gap between the usual pocket affordable cameras say in UK pounds up to £300 and the more professional SLR cameras for a couple of thousand and much more! So the bridge camera is the idea between the two prices and has a similar size body of one of the DSLR cameras, not the pocket type. All said it’s got a great zoom but when the weather is dull that’s where the expensive cameras come into effect. 🙂

      1. Hi Paul, thank you for your quick reply. Think you should be in bed by now as we’re twelve hours ahead of you until our clocks change next month.
        I’m not sure what catagory my camera falls into. My late husband bought it over seven years ago and I just “fiddle”. The zoom is good when needed and is great to have when wandering along the river Maitai watching the Pied Shags and other cormorants. Once I saw the seal which had come up and was sunbathing on the rocks. It’s very interesting as it’s where the river joins the sea.
        The weather here is amazing and blindingly bright and stable each done. We’ll have a shock when the normal rains come.

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