Saturday, June 11, 2011

Makeshift Backyard Bird Photography Blind

I'm still working with only a 150mm lens and I've been frustrated that all these beautiful birds were visiting my backyard and I was unable to get any crisp quality photos of them.  I'd love to have a professional camo photo blind, but I'm too cheap to spend the hundred bucks.  Why not use what I already have?

1. 6' Step Ladder - the rung makes for a nice camera platform
2. A few yards of camo material my wife had given me for Christmas
3. My camo print gators.
4. My camo Army surplus jacket
5. My light-weight camo folding stool

Doing this I am able to sit within about 10' of the feeders and the birds don't seem to mind.  My hands and head are mostly shaded so my movements are less detectable, especially if I move slowly.  Sound doesn't seem to bother the birds at all.  I've been able to yell at my kids to do their chores carry on loud conversations with my kids from the patio while I sat in the blind.  It is sudden movement that seems to spook the birds.

By inserting the shepherd's hooks at an angle I would have a better vantage point for photos as the feeders were significantly lower than normal.  I position the sun to my back to hopefully get that eye-glint in the photo which seems to give the bird "life", but careful not to put my shadow right on the perch areas. As the sun moves around the sky, I move the blind.  I've also been leaving the blind out in the yard so that birds get used to it.

I also later added a tree branch between the two feeders hoping that I can get some quality images that don't show the feeders.  I'm okay with good feeder shots of wild birds, but I definitely like the setting to at least "appear" more natural.

Using this makeshift blind last weekend was a lot of fun.  Do you have any goofy makeshift photo or viewing blinds?  Send me your pics and I'll post them here!


  1. Your homemade blind looks like it would work just fine Robert. Ihave yet to try a blind like this, I may just buy some camoflauged netting material and try that.

  2. Pretty impressive Robert - I think you should patent it, LOL. Hey if it works why not? Excuse me now I have to go to the garage and sort through some old household stuff and old jackets of mine.

  3. Lol! Love the creativity! You would make a good Yankee for there is an old Yankee saying, "Use it up or wear it out, make it do or do without!"

  4. You are definitely onto something with your setup. You might want to check out how the master does it. Alan Murphy produces some of the best bird photos anyone has ever seen. Quite a few magazine covers are made by Alan Murphy.

  5. Ha ha! I love this...your poor kids probably didn't know you'd still be able to get at them to do chores while occupied in the back yard!