Whenever I go into the woods with a camera, I usually wear camouflage. Through years of photographing wild animals and birds, I’ve learned to do whatever it takes to improve my chances for success, and camo works for me. Most mammals can’t perceive colors the way we do but birds can. An eagle, hawk, heron, or wild turkey can spot you from a quarter-mile away. If I’m going to gamble my success in getting that prized wildlife photo based on what I’m wearing, it will be camo every time.
I also use a variety of photo blinds to conceal myself from wary wildlife. A photo blind can be something as comfortable as your own strategically-parked vehicle or it can be an enclosure that ranges from simple to sophisticated and from portable to permanent. Portable pop-up tent-style blinds are easy to set up and help to conceal your movements and contain your scent. If you can leave your blind in place for a few days before using it, wildlife will become accustomed to its presence. Be sure to slip into and out of your blind with a minimum of disturbance. Propping a few sticks and twigs against your blind will break up its outline.
You can also build a ground blind from natural materials that you find in the woods using branches, limbs, twigs or whatever else you can find. A ground blind is something that you can leave in place, use often, and improve upon from time to time. I have an assortment of ground blinds situated in several state forests and wildlife management areas. Remember to pay attention to prevailing wind directions when placing your blind. You won’t see any wild animals downwind from your position.
I have often used a canoe, a kayak, or a rubber raft to access marshes and wetlands. I’ve found that waterfowl, and even wary birds like herons and ospreys, will tolerate a slow-moving low-profile watercraft to a certain extent. I’ve also been able to get close to beavers and muskrats using the same approach.
You can read more about some of the techniques that I use to photograph wild animals and birds in the second installment of my three-part series of articles for Life in the Finger Lakes magazine at this link: