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  1. gramps

    gramps

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    An article on Paid-For Photography Hides was linked to in my latest WEX 'buy something from us please' email.
    The article discusses whether or not these hides are "damaging wildlife photography" and makes for an interesting discussion.
    I have used Paid-For Hides once or twice and have found them to be a good day out, though I can't say I would want to use them regularly as (apart from the cost) it would become a bit 'samey' with perches, backdrops etc.
    Having said that, I regularly use the hides at WWT Slimbridge, where I am a member, and enjoy every visit ... but I don't think that's what the photographer, Tom Mason, ("Tom Mason is a wildlife photographer and journalist"), is actually talking about.

    The article is HERE what do you think? (Be nice :) )
     
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  2. troutfisher

    troutfisher

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    Chris
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    I suppose its all relative.
    If for example you live in an area where you have Roe Deer at the bottom of your garden or Kingfishers perching on the pond half a mile away then you are fortunate.
    If you want to photograph Bears in their natural habitat for example and that entails going to Canada then you would be a bit disappointed if you chose not to use a paid for hide and did not get any photos.
    I suppose its no different to going on an African Safari to photograph game and being taken to the area
     
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  3. taxboy

    taxboy

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    It's an interesting article and it appears that it is a matter of end result vs achievement. If you are on commission or need particular shots within a time frame then clearly the hide has a lot of advantages. I would disagree with his view on time poor photographers working a local patch though. To get decent wild shots clearly takes a lot of time not only in the shot but in learning about the wildlife to put you in a position to take the shot.

    I would argue that by going to a paid for hide any wildlife encounters could inspire you to spend more time getting g your own shots
     
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  4. GeeJay57

    GeeJay57

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    Glenn
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    I guess some of it depends on how much of a wildlife photographer one is.

    Full-time professional? Seeking one's own locations to capture those unique refreshing shots would seem to be the best fit. Use of established hides would probably only be useful to put some shots in the bank as insurance for a particular project.

    Part-time shooter? Suspect a mixture of using established hides and finding one's owns locations would be more typical.

    Vacation shooter? Established hides and guides most likely to give best chance of photographing some wildlife within the holiday period. Got to be better than nothing.

    I pretty much fall into the last segment.
     
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  5. Jelster

    Jelster

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    Steve
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    Also it depends on the level of "baiting". Many consider even feeders in your garden as baiting... But I know, with the relatively little time I have to go wildlife watching, and living in London (OK, I get to WWT Barnes regularly) that if I went in search of something in particular, and paid for the privileged, I'd be pretty upset if I didn't at least see my quarry, if not photograph it.

    In wildlife terms, what's the difference between a "paid hide", and somebody who has a been observing an area for a while and understands where the wildlife is likely to be, unless they have been baited?

    I know when we went to Mull, we had 3 days with 3 different guides who all showed us where we should be looking. We just revisited those spots on other days throughout the holiday and observed as much, if not more activity, but we had to pay the guides for their local knowledge in the first place...
     
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  6. gramps

    gramps

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    With my available time I like to be mainly photographing wildlife, not scrubbing around trying to find it and in many instances I would have little hope on my own initiative.
    I find visiting Slimbridge to be a good compromise, I certainly don't bait anything and whatever turns up does so of its own will ... I've photographed many bird species there including a Goshawk, Peregrine Falcons, a Barn Owl, Black-winged Stilts, Cattle Egrets, and a Purple Heron, as well as mammals such as Voles, Foxes and Stoats.
    I have paid for the opportunity to photograph Red Squirrels, Kingfishers and Puffins etc on the Farne Islands and Skomer but for me that was the only way to photograph the species at that time and I enjoyed every experience ... I would regularly pay for the privilege of photographing on The Farne Islands :)
     
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  7. sk66

    sk66

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    Steven
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    Sounds like whining to me... another version of "too much competition."
     
  8. gramps

    gramps

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    Not the worst I've seen though ... he does suggest crediting the site/tog who found the subject, which I suppose has some validity.
     
  9. Hertsman

    Hertsman

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    Mark
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    Im more than happy to pay for hires, particulularly as I dont have the time or cash to buy a 600 f4 and 2xtc and spend all week under a hedge....

    But then I also enjoy shooting Zoo animals as well.....
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  10. BillN_33

    BillN_33

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    I've looked at this one, on the internet, as it is near me in the UK

    http://www.petewhieldonphotography.co.uk

    £150 a day - 3 people hides - there are two of them

    It's seems expensive .... but then you think is it ........you couldn't charge any more .......... still not made my mind up
     
  11. gramps

    gramps

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    You might be surprised!
    Quite like the idea of the Water Vole hide. :)
     
  12. BillN_33

    BillN_33

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    We are back in Winchester all October .. so I may give it a try

    that's £150 per person for the Kingfisher Hide .. the most expensive ....... other hides £50pp and £75pp
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  13. Byker28i

    Byker28i

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    That's interesting. I've shot at Gloucester owl but that was just for fun for me and my son as he was into wildlife photography. Also shot kingfishers at slimbridge etc.

    I suppose these places are an easy place to get good photos and build up skills. I'd suggest most would just appear on sites such as Facebook, forums etc for 'likes'?

    As such, there's a market and these are fulfilling that and to a certain extent looking after the animals involved?
     
  14. gramps

    gramps

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    and the Countryfile Calendar :rolleyes:
     
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  15. Gaz J

    Gaz J

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    Gary
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    I read this a few weeks ago. Theres an element of hypocrisy in it. If finding his own locations etc is half the fun etc the why did he use paid for hides while building a portfolio to establish himself as a photographer.

    If/when you become established as a photographer you start to get opportunities that others don't get because of who you are so perhaps you get more and better opportunities to get what your after than you would have when starting out.

    There have been some well known wildlife photographers who have used and run paid for hides to get the shots. Andy Rouse used hides in Dumfries while testing the 1DX MkII and those shots are still being used to illustrate various adverts etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  16. BillN_33

    BillN_33

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    IMHO - nothing at all wrong with "paid" hides - I take probably 50% of my bird shots, in and around my "garden" where I have set up various "feeding" stations ...... if I chased the birds around all day long I would hardly have got a shot, I know this as I tried it when I first started not knowing any better...................

    paid hides are the next step for me ........ in the UK is logical - but after that I would love to go on a bird specific holiday in central/south America, Africa etc.
     
  17. gramps

    gramps

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    It's actually how many 'pro' wildlife photographers now make their money, as the bottom has fallen out of their selling photographs.
     
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  18. BillN_33

    BillN_33

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    I must admit that when I look at the completion results of (particularly) Bird photography ........... I generally feel that the level is below the many ("better") images that I have seen on the web

    I wonder sometimes it is a matter of "who you know" rather than how good the shots are
     
  19. gramps

    gramps

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    I guess it mostly comes down to one (or a few) peoples interpretation and opinion ... always subjective :)
     
  20. sk66

    sk66

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    IMO, there is almost always "someone else" who found the subject(s)/location. At the very least you go to an area/location where the type of animal is known to be, and you don't do that by wandering around aimlessly doing "research/study." And if you are smart, you get some help from someone local/with more experience and knowledge.

    If you photograph the same subjects/locations enough times, then that is your "research/study" and maybe then you don't need the help... but it's still awfully nice when you get a helpful tip about an active hot spot. Using a hide (paid for or not) doesn't really change anything as far as I can see.
     
  21. gramps

    gramps

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    Maybe ... however with some of the 'rarer' species I can see how the baiting issue raises its head in respect to paid hides.
    For example using a hide where species are free to come and go is one thing, nailing dead stuff to posts to attract raptors on a regular basis is another thing and will 'cross the line' for some.
     
  22. nc_killie

    nc_killie POTY (Joint) 2016

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    John
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    I read the article and have used paid hides and here is my 2p worth:
    The article comes across as somewhat elitist IMHO- it was OK for me to use them to develop my portfolio but....I am sure it wasnot meant that way but to develoopsome discussion (he succeeded).
    Paid hides have their place (IMHO),not everyone has the time,skills or ability toget any imageof some of teh 'target species- this is a great way to 'develop their portfolio', improve their skills and knowledge of teh target so that when they have the time they can go it alone. Many people have tobalance work, familyetc etc such that they cannot hope to d it all themselves.This is a way toincreaseknowledge of wildlife and photography. Iwoudlalso add that many of the photographs taken at these hides are readily identifiable!!
    I would disagree with Tom mason in that it is 'easy'- Yes it is relatively easy to get simple portrait shots of a static bird,the challenge it get something different and with action!Not easy and that can take time even at these hides - Birds/willdife are still wild and do not follow a prescribed agenda.
    I woudl agree with Bills last comments about competitions - many of the photographs may come from readily identifiable hides - the key is to get something different. It is (for me) more enjoyable to get the'shot' fromall of my own work, but unfortunately I have to balance other things in my life and cannot dedicate the time to get the shots I want of certain birds.
    In short I believe that the paid hides have their place to promote wildlife and photography. It is difficult to get a different shot from these hides and it makes it more rewarding when you do it all yourself. I believe that Mr Greenwoods Little Owls are anexcellent exampleof what can be done all by yourself and something that I apsire to!

    PSBill,I was at Pete Whieldons a few weeks ago - give him a call as he is very helpful and passionate about his birds!!
     
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  23. BillN_33

    BillN_33

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    Roger - we have quite a few Buzzards above us most of the time .......... I have a feeding post in the garden that I use to bring birds in - I found a dead mouse one day and decided to nail it to the top of the post - probably sat for 3 hours waiting for the swoop - gave up when it was getting dark - the next day it had gone

    never tried it since
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  24. BillN_33

    BillN_33

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    Hi John

    we live in Twyford, nr Winchester when we are in the UK - back all of October - so I do plan to spend a little of my OAP at the hide ....... my wife will probably pay to get me out of the house for a day
     
  25. nc_killie

    nc_killie POTY (Joint) 2016

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    John
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    I am up the A34 otside Newbury, but house up for sale! I enjoyed Pete Whieldon place.
     
  26. rob-nikon

    rob-nikon

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    Rob
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    This is an interesting subject and one I previously saw come up on WEX's Facebook page a few weeks back. I personally don't think there is anything wrong with paid for hides (barring some ways of baiting), in some ways its both good for the pro trying to may a living and also for animals as there will be less photographers going around disturbing animals (and less out where I am as I like to avoid crowds of wildlife photographers if I can- no offence to anyone on here but one of the reasons I started photography was to get out and enjoy some tranquillity away from crowds not go and join them!!). There are of course some animals where you need to pay to see, say diving ospreys as an example. Part of it for me is having the wildlife experience of seeing something amazing up close you just wouldn't normally be able to see. Part of the photography aspect that puts me off them slightly is the possible similarity of the images that are taken. Ive been to a few paid for site (a few years back) where I've since seen the same images have been taken. Its as if it was a production line churning out the same images week on week. I think to get the most out of them you have to go in with ideas of how to get something different to everyone else. You see it in competitions where someone has this amazing image, but you then find many people have exactly the same image as it was taken at a paid for site (there are probably some competitions where nearly the same images are entered several times. I like the idea of giving the hide or pro a 'thanks', I love reading photography competition captions where you can see which ones are not really telling the truth!

    There will always be an aspect of paying for a location with wildlife unless you can find a nice farmer/land owner willing to give you access. I love going up to the lakes for red squirrels where I stay at a b&b but I can get out to watch and photograph the visiting red squirrels. Im partly paying for the chance to see the red squirrels but also getting the normal night in the b&b that my wife enjoys too. On the photography side its down to me to make my own images. Sometimes its just great to be out and enjoying nature than worrying about the photographs. Part of me likes landscape photography as it feels a little more open as location ideas are easier to come by, but its the research and dedication to getting out and finding the best light that makes the best images.

    Another interesting discussion would be:

    https://www.naturettl.com/travelling-wildlife-photography-justified/

    but thats likely to open another can of worms!
     
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  27. jerry12953

    jerry12953

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    Jeremy Moore
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    i think on the whole I agree with the author. Paid hides sometimes seem like a shortcut for the lazy and unimaginative photographer. I could see myself using one, but only in desperation! IMO there's no substitute for doing the research, (hopefully) chatting to the right people about locations, etc, getting out there, and putting your skills into operation. It is sometimes obvious when a photographer has built a hide, put up feeders and a stage for the bird/mammal to enter - for example those reflection pools which I find very predictable. Paying to use something like this set up by someone else seems like a very poor substitute for the real thing.

    But having said that I've paid my RSPB subs and spent many hours in hides on RSPB reserves just waiting for birds to turn up, so there are grey areas involved.
     
  28. Gaz J

    Gaz J

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    Gary
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    I've used paid hides several times and probably will again. Last time I went I went looking for my own perches in one hide because I saw so many images from different photographers all sitting on the same perch.

    When I left I took them with me to make sure that I wouldn't see another one.
     
  29. sk66

    sk66

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    I didn't see anything about baiting in the article...
     
  30. Byker28i

    Byker28i

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    I was at Rhayader a couple of weekends ago. I guess from the number of kites around at 4pm they are still feeding them every afternoon. Stunning site of the numbers as we drove past.
     
  31. gramps

    gramps

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    There wasn't, I'm just expanding the issue to 'when/if'.
     
  32. Gaz J

    Gaz J

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    It's 1500 hrs at the moment. Changes to 1400 hrs end of October.
     
  33. sk66

    sk66

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    IMO, anything done to excess is probably "bad," and anything done with consideration/moderation is probably ok (with few exceptions)... and any blanket statement/classification is probably wrong. The problem with these types of discussions is they tend to be viewed from extreme perspectives... like all baiting is done consistently enough to be habituating, draw the animals into a "vulnerable position," and acclimate the animals to people (even if all of that were true, it's debatable if it would be detrimental/beneficial to the species as such).
     
  34. gramps

    gramps

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    It's an interesting case, very popular with photographers and tourists alike ... some say it's wrong as it affects their behaviour whilst others say it's just a 'supplement' and doesn't change their natural feeding process. I don't know how they are affected, the RSPB seems to approve according to statements on Gigrin's website and it is certainly a very entertaining spectacle, copied to some degree in other areas with varying success.
     
  35. The W

    The W

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    Paul
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    I don't think there's anything wrong with the principle of using paid hides, but it's hard to argue against the view they result in a glut of samey photos. I won't look down at anyone for using them but if someone more-or-less relies on them for the vast majority of their portfolio, then they're unlikely to be somebody who is going to push the boundaries of the art and my regard for them is going to reflect that compared to somebody out there doing their own thing.

    The only paid hide I've used so far is the bears in Finland. It was worth it for the experience of seeing an apex predator irrespect of the photos I took. For brilliant bear photos, I really want to hit Alaska at the salmon run.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  36. Byker28i

    Byker28i

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    Personal anecdote is that it affects their behaviour. My parents used to live very near so I'm very aware of the increase in numbers of birds because of this, the commercial activity and at the time it started, with low numbers of birds and a way of encouraging them, was probably the right approach. However the kite is making a significant comeback. They seem to have regular patterns, so we always see a family (3 birds) over our industrial estate in Chippenham at the same time every day, we've even got several birds flying over West Swindon now.

    Having said all that, as a spectacle it's astonishing to see especially if you're a non-birder. For the area it's good for the tourism, certainly Rhayder seems to be surviving as a small town in mid wales, also helped by the dams etc.
     
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  37. jerry12953

    jerry12953

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    I think it is accepted that the quantity of food put out at the various kite feeding stations is miniscule in comparison with the amount that that many kites need to survive. Gigrin may have had genuine survival value for the birds when it first started but as you say it has become an attraction for people now. I suppose in a very hard winter feeding stations might once again come into their own for the birds themselves. Red kites are sociable birds and I have heard it said that the feeding stations are where young kites now go to meet other young kites. so in that sense they serve a useful purpose.

    It was noticeable, I thought, when I last went to Gigrin, that there was a separate hide for photographers. The charge for entry to this was several times the charge for normal hides. I suspect this is indicative of the whole "paid-for hides" phenomenon. Photographers are easy prey.
     
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  38. GordonM

    GordonM

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    I was going to ask what people thought about 'paid for hides' against Red Kite feeding stations such as Bellymack Farm in Galloway. In my opinion as a way of spreading awareness of birds of prey and encouraging interest in the whole subject of the countryside, conservation and protection feeding stations are par excellence. As photography locations, to me, attracting dozens of Red Kites actually makes them less attractive, simply because so many birds makes getting good shots harder (or that might be my lack of skill)
    Years ago birdwatching advice always started with 'work and learn your local patch' - difficult if you live in the Fens and want to photograph (say) Red Grouse. Personally to me paid for hides enable a chance to narrow the odds of taking photographs of species I'd otherwise struggle to achieve until I can retire and hopefully be able to spend considerably more time just watching and waiting
     
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  39. gramps

    gramps

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    Or perhaps makes the photographer like a kid in a sweet shot ;)
     
  40. GordonM

    GordonM

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    To be fair I felt the same on the Farne Islands - initially it's 'oh look a Puffin' followed by twenty more while you swing the camera round like a machine gun trying to photograph them all!
     
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