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Gear & Apps

Pop-up Hunting Blinds Also Double as a Great Wildlife Photo Tool!

By Anthony Thurston on January 26th 2014

One of the keys to getting those stunning wildlife images that you see in the magazines is being able to get the shots without the animal knowing you are there, or at least minimizing your impact on the area. A great way to do this is by using a blind to conceal your position from the animals.

A blind is basically a spot for hunters, or in this case photographers, to hide and be concealed from the wildlife in the area. They can be made out of actual brush and foliage from the surrounding area, or in many cases they are tent-like structures that can be setup and taken down when not in use. 

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Some wildlife refuges, or state parks, have pre-built blinds that you can use, but these are fairly rare. If you want to take advantage of a blind, chances are you will need to make one yourself or buy one.

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Hunting blinds can actually be used for less deadly purposes, and the best part is that you can pick one up for around $50. The blind actually works a lot like those 5-in-1 reflectors that wedding and portrait photographers use all the time. It comes in this nice little carrying case, you take it out and it “pops out” much like those reflectors, except, instead of silver, white or gold, the blind is camouflage and helps you blend in with the wildlife. They even have zippered holes and windows which you can use to stick your lens out.

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Here is a review done by wildlife photographer Kirk Norbury, who works out of Scotland. As you can see, the product is big enough for you and your gear, and roomy enough that you can be comfortable. That particular brand is not available here in the States, but a similar branded pop up blind is available on Amazon called the “Gear Guide Pop Up Ground Blind”.

When I go out photographing wildlife, I usually have to take my 4 (almost 5) year old son, and sometimes my 6 month old. So, walking around and finding animals to photograph is basically impossible, if it’s not one kid, it’s the other and it can make for a frustrating time. A blind like this, on the other hand, allows me to setup in a spot where I know that the wildlife will come and then hide myself and my kid(s) to give me a better chance at capturing the sort of images I want to capture.

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These blinds are not some magic solution that will make you take better wildlife images. You still have to know where to set them up (places the animals will congregate), and they are not sound proof. But, if you are like me, and walking around is not really a good option most of the time, but you still want to have the chance to photograph some wildlife images, then these can be a portable, lightweight, and an overall great solution.

What are your thoughts on using a popup blind such as this for your wildlife photography? Have you tried it, has this post inspired you to try it? Let us know in the comments below!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mike Anderson

    A great article. I use a blind like this quite often esp. for my bird photography. I like one that’s roomy and quiet.

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  2. Hanssie

    I’ve never ever even heard of anything like this. Haha. Shows how much “nature” I get in contact with…

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