'Premium' hides for exclusive use by photographers??

  • In reply to RoyW:

    THOMO said:

    And that's why there should not be an extra charge for any of the hides. It's like having first and second class on train and similar on plaines.

    You've lost me a bit on that one, the whole world is made up of differing prices for differing products, whether it's first class on a train or posh nosh at the supermarket.  Photography for me is not about getting THE shot at any cost, so I'm not convinced I'd be tempted by a particular hide at £30-£40 for the morning, though I'd probably give it a go just for the novelty at £5-£10.

    Part of the enjoyment to me is meeting others in a hide, having a chat about the wildlife, pointing stuff out to enthusiastic youngsters and the like.  I've answered questions about photography, helped people with their cameras and lent my lens to people to let them get up close to the action.  So for me, being shut away in a small hide by myself would be a bit dull :-)


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  • In reply to zooomer:

    zooomer said:

     should my local site introduce this then I would forget the RSPB altogether, after all where does all our subscriptions go

    Unlikely to as it would be unworkable at many sites. Most sites within 100 miles of me are free to everyone, members and non members alike. That's a discussion for another thread, but ultimately, people are protesting that as members they have a right to everywhere non members go, and yet in most reserve's cases anywhere near me, it works the other way around!

    Regarding where all our subscriptions go, 'not very far' is the answer. From what I've read, the Old Moor hide was purpose built, and wouldn't have been if there hadn't been a plan to pay for it via extra fees. i.e. no one would have had access to it without fees as it wouldn't exist. Nothing to do with two tier.

    Yes, people should tolerate each other inside hides, and behave 'appropriately'. However, due to popular demand, as well as an inconsiderate minority (that grows every year and every generation imo), there will continue to be intolerance and 'clashes of personalities', plus competition for space.

    Regarding the annual subs, they are tiny. I don't understand why people think they should get so much benefit out of it plus more.

  • In reply to THOMO:

    THOMO said:

    And that's why there should not be an extra charge for any of the hides. It's like having first and second class on train and similar on plaines.

    How? Airlines are commercial organisations, in existence to make profits and pay shareholders. People can choose which airline to fly with and how they do so.

    Besides, it works. For all parties.

    One point that no one has pointed out yet is this. How much is annual membership? How much is access to Old Moor + access to restricted hides for non member photographers or other visitors? Who is paying more just for that day, let alone the whole year? i.e. members are getting a far better deal than anyone using those hides if you're worried about hide access.

  • In reply to aiki:

    The public/members have waited for a long time to get a decent hide installed at Lakenheath, we now have one.  I visit numerous reserves and where there is a hide with access to colourful or rare species the photographers are ensconced for hours and hours.  Often visitors cannot fit or get into the hides because of the large amounts of photography equipment and rucksacks taking up the space.  Photography is the conversation not birds or nature.  There is no peace and quiet.  Go to Minsmere and you will find certain hides full of photographers.  It's the modern world of digital photography.  We must all show consideration for one another and get on.

  • In reply to neighbourhoodjim:

    Thanks for all your comments so far regarding hide etiquette which is of course a really important subject as we clearly want as many people to enjoy their experiences on our reserves as possible.

    Please keep the discussion on topic and be respectful of everyone on here and their opinions.

    In terms of Lakenheath I know David Rogers (Senior Sites Manager) is a keen birdwatcher, photographer and nature lover and will do all he can to balance the needs of everyone, he is keen to install a photographic screen on the reserve which may help this particular situation and wont be something we see people having to pay for.

    As a wildlife photographer myself (in my free time) and a birder I can completely understand both sides of the story. I tend to do most of my wildlife photography away from hides these days as most of the time they are not geared up for the style I want (getting eye level with a subject, working alone and being quiet etc) but from my experiences of the past both photographers, birders and other more general wildlife watchers can all be as friendly and helpful in hides as they can be annoying and loud, unfortunately that's just people for you, we are all different!

    One idea that I really have loved is the lower section of the Island Mere hide at Minsmere. I made use of this section this year to get water level shots of Bittern, this section is completely free of charge so whilst being a specialist photography hide isn't an exclusive one, anyone can go down there. However, during the 7 hours I was in it only 3 other photographers made use of it whereas the upper section of the hide was probably visited by over 200 different people.

    This meant that I could work in relative peace, I didn't take up any room in the hide above and my camera shutter didn't annoy any of the birdwatchers. What is more, my view was no better or worse than those above me so photographers are not getting a better "view" of the wildlife, if anything my view was worse most of the time because I could rarely see what else was going on out there, but it did mean that when a Bittern walked out of the reeds my photographic view was greatly improved as I was on the same level of the bird, those above me would have had exactly the same excellent view of the bird fishing, booming, walking etc.

    As it stands I don't think premium photography hides are something that are going to be springing up on every reserve. It is down to the site manager and warden of each individual reserve to explore what options they have depending on the site itself and the species on the site. Minsmere for example have thought about photographers and birdwatchers and worked out a way to cater for both their needs with no extra charge and at no risk to the wildlife.

    Of course site managers will always explore ways and means of enhancing the wildlife experience on a site, whether this be a guided walk, a pro wildlife photographer coming in to undertake a photography course or the creation of a photographic hide. The creation of a photographic hide will in no way be at the determent of those wanting to view wildlife, as with Island Mere the aim is to put photographers in the position they need to be in to get the shot that is photographically what they are after and usually this just means getting a bit lower or a tiny bit closer, in no way would it mean everyone else does not get a similar or equal view.

    In terms of payment, I guess the RSPB will always do its best to make any extra "services" free or as cheap as possible. If there is room to charge a bit extra then that is down to the discretion of the site manager/warden, based on understanding if there will be much uptake from those likely to use it.

    Like anything in life, sometimes extra services need funding and payment would reflect that and any extra work that has gone into creating the opportunity but I must reiterate that this is very much "early days" in terms of this. Every reserve clearly spends time thinking about ways of increasing visitors, making the site better for people to see wildlife (as well as making it better FOR the wildlife) and ways of increasing support for us - whether that be making new members, running events/activities that can generate income extra and this photography hide idea is just another way of doing that.

    I hope that helps!

    Kind Regards,


  • In reply to Ben A:

    A very reasonable response Ben, and I fully agree with everything that you have said. Personally I fully support the RSPB providing any services for which there is a charge if they feel that there is a market for it - as long as there is no negative effect on the wildlife and it does not reduce what is already available to members.

  • In reply to RoyW:

    My apologies. The text I'd read suggested that the additional hides were A) closer to the birds; and B) for exclusive use by photographers. The description of Island Mere hide sounds exactly like the compromise I was trying to describe above, where photographers and birders both enjoy the same level of access, but are segregated to accommodate different patterns of behaviour. I'd be perfectly happy with that arrangement, but I'm much less happy with the idea of 'premium' hides where members would have to pay an additional fee for 'even better' access. That would make me feel a lot more like a customer being exploited, and a lot less like a member and contributor to one of the wealthiest and most influential conservation organisations in the world.