Photographing Magnolia Warblers and Thoughts About Camouflaging Your Telephoto Lens

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Camouflage the Camera and Lens

Lately I have been researching online, trying to learn more about the art of stealth. I wish to camouflage my lenses with water resistant neoprene, similar to the stuff that wraps my bird blind and lens pouches.

Photo of Magnolia Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cautiously Taking a Look at the
Photographer and Camera.
ISO800; f/4.5; 1/400 Second

For the longest time, I convinced myself that I did not need to cover these bright white Canon telephoto monsters- that the birds just ignored them and did not need to feel more comfortable to perch a little closer. That’s just not the case.

Why Blend?

In bird photography, you must avail yourself to every advantage to keep the birds coming in close to the camera. Over the years, more and more migrating birds have been stopping off in our yard to rest and replenish. I have posted dozens of photos of these transients on my website and my flickr albums. I’m betting that if I make an effort to camouflage my equipment, more birds will come.

Photo of Magnolia Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
ISO1250; f/5; 1/500 Second

Options To Better Blend

First of all, why doesn’t Canon offer a painted-on camouflage lens option when they sell their professional photography equipment?  It’s true that third party vendors do market simple, pre-made lens wraps (for ridiculously big bucks) specifically designed for each brand and size of telephoto lens.  I just can’t bring myself to pay $100+ dollars for that stuff.

Since Canon will not step up, here are a few options for a photographer and her equipment to blend better into the birds’ natural environment:

  • Break the bank and buy a pre-made, form fitting, no adhesive, sleeve like and waterproof Neoprene lens covers. Lenscoat.com has options to protectively cover all your camera equipment (for $100+). Their website looks like a good place to start.
  • Conceal everything by throwing a green/brown cotton scrim net (with military pattern) over yourself, the camera and long lens. (Sort of like Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility.) Lots of different sizes are available. The 42″ by 78″ costs $12.00 and is available at Amazon. This netting covers head to toe and is the most likely solution to conceal movement of the camera and photographer.
  • Make your own. One particularly ingenious photographer has designed his own home made, cloth camouflage jackets for his lenses. He has shared step-by-step directions at his website at this link.
  • Investigate Camouflage Gaffers Tape: 2 in. x 60 ft. in woodland forest green for $20 at Amazon. This will adhere vigorously to any lens. The manufacturer claims that Gaffers tape will leave no sticky residue when removed.

Working on The Art of Stealth

Billions of diverse species of birds migrate in the Spring and Fall, and we are very close to a major migration corridor along the shores of Lake Michigan. I am convinced that there are many more bird species near our yard that I can not see, birds that are not so approachable; birds who can no doubt see me with their keen eyesight and observation skills and consequently steer clear of the camera. To be a more effective photographer, I’ve got to do more to hide myself and the camera.

To read more about photographing Magnolia Warblers using manual focus, visit this blog posting.

To view the migrating birds that came through our yard last year, visit this post and this post.

 

 

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