Saturday, 24 March 2018
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Some thoughts about the use of nature-photo watch-tent tarns .


Wildlife, Photography, Bird Watching, Ultimate Nature Gear, Nature Gear, Nature,  outdoor photography, wildlife watching hide, Wildlife Watching, Wildlife Photography Tent, photography tent,Watch-tent tarns are wonderfully good things to use. Crouching there one can get richer with amazing experiences; but only those who are not idle to lie in wait, to keep watching in patience for long hours and to react to all breath of air with full intentness. I have never been bored during the time spent in tent-tarns, although full-day, sometimes day-and-night film or snap-shootings occur quite often and even so sometimes the set aim of the shooting fails to be captured. Sitting about in the tent and continuous concentration is tiring but if anything happens outside one forgets the numb legs and stiff neck and focuses on the exposure of the picture dreamt beforehand.

Once it happened to me that the picked bird landed on the top of the tent where I was sitting, and a colleague also told me that once, on a freezing winter day a philanthropist white-tailed eagle enjoyed a rest on the top of his watch-tent, at only half a meter distance from his head. In our rushing and output-oriented world we might be annoyed at such lost time but in the meantime let’s not forget about the respect of nature. Let’s appreciate that we had the opportunity to get closer to a wonder and let’s take a positive approach that next time we’ll obtain the snapshot too.

In the development of the watch-tent tarns I have taken advantage from my 25 year experience in the field of nature filming and nature photo making.


A professional tarn has to meet the following requirements:

It should be easy to handle and easy to set up quickly

It must have a stable shell-structure

It has to be fixed firmly to ground (spiral fixing stakes that can be twisted into the ground)

Camouflage impregnated linen canopy (Artificial material does not let the air coming through. In the summer it means that we are sitting inA professional nature-photo watch-tent tarn. Its should be easy to handle and easy to set up quickly. Multiplie camera stalls. a plastic foil-tent, ripening just like tomatoes. Another disadvantage is that tents made of artificial material give a susurrant sound if we touch them and the light coming from behind us transilluminates the tent thus our movements come into sight from the outside.)

Multiple camera stalls (The tents have three főcsőrös camera-stalls, but other camera-stalls can be fixed close to the ground, too. At the igloo-form the main camera-stall has been developed in a way that there is a feasibility to follow even a flying bird in the possible longest range without the lens bumping against the shell-structure.)

Peepholes, each of which can be closed from the inside. (The fly-screen covered peepholes do not serve as a protection against mosquitos, instead they break the incident light. Very important! Let’s open only as many peepholes as is absolutely necessary. All the light getting into the tent decreases our chances at the birds, mainly at those with good eyesight.)


Further information

In strong wind the igloo shaped tent has more advantages then the cube-shaped one, since the wind cannot fill the canopy so easily.

Some more advice based on personal experience: It is useful to put additional disguise on top of the camouflage pattern of the tent using dry branches of trees, reed and grass but without making any serious damage to the environment. The covering bits can be fixed –carefully but firmly – to the stretching strings so that they will not disturb the view but at the same time a wind springing up quickly would not knock over them in front of the lenses (optics). The protection of the living environment is advisable because fresh branches start withering quickly and according to experience such a pile might even have an alarming effect.

In case if due to familiarization reasons we place out the tent for a longer period let’s insert a plastic bottle to the main camera-stall and let’s fix it firmly by tightening it with the dragging cord. The wind will make the bottle move and shine a bit and this way it will replace the optics for the time of familiarization and the birds will get used to the phenomenon.

When we use high-speed lenses the front lens might cause a lot of troubles since the birds quickly catch sight of it, they perceive it as a huge eye and they start feeling suspicious about it. No solution has been found to this problem so far, but the use of a longer compendium might help since it reduces the glimmering of the lens. It is advisable to use a camera stand in the tent, but if we have more then one camera we might attempt to make some additional shots from other, mainly lower camera positions too. If we want to sit in the tent we can choose from different folding chairs. I myself use an angler-chair but there exists such rucksack, which is also convenient for a chair.

Before the protagonist arrives in front of the tent let’s bring all the lenses in focus, let’s put all the equipment, complementary gadgets and spare battery at hand, so that no unwrapping, rattling or searching about would disturb the situation. If the bird arrives we can see through the peephole that it is very cautious; some time have to be passed until it calms down. It is worthwhile to wait in patience for some minutes and to hold back from the peephole. Let’s even breathe slowly and cautiously. If the objective had been focused in a different direction because we had expected the bird to descend somewhere else after some minutes of patience let’s try to turn over the camera millimetre by millimetre. No rush, no haste!

Written and unwritten laws. We can find a lot of information about the rules and ethics of the nature-photo making in specialized textbooks, newspapers and on the net. Those who would like to pursue this wonderful activity have to look up all sources of information so that they would not get involved in a conflict situation with professional nature guards or with other photographer colleagues.

I would be more than happy to receive any experiences or comments on watch-tent tarn activities and if they have any professional value we are ready to share them with others in this column.

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© Tommy Szommer





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