12 Best Wildlife Photography Hides You Should Visit in 2021

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Things have come along way in nature photography since brothers Richard and Cherry Kearton we’re making photography hides out of a hollowed-out Ox.

DSLR Cam traps, Drones, and other quirky devices have all helped wildlife photographers to achieve some amazing and different perspectives on nature.

Yet still, many award-winning images are still arriving from photography hides.

Ok, so there are some amazing award-winning images taken by such devices, you just have to look at the amazing work of photographers across social media to see how effective the results can be.

Even the world-renown Nick Brandt used the DSLR Cam trap technique on his recent ‘This Empty World‘ project.

Yet, on the whole, photography hides are still pulling some awesome strings in the competition world.

Images were taken by those willing to endure all day in hides, and sometimes all night, for beautiful photos.

Wildlife Photography Hides in the UK alone have come a long way in the last 5 years.

More and more amazing field-craft skills are been imploded into set-ups and many have fantastic conservation benefits too.

When I first started leading photography tours and workshops, I used hides across the world to my benefit to achieve some beautiful images.

Wildlife Photography hides that every nature photographer should be visiting

Ok, so confession time.

Today, I don’t use photography hides much.

Some of you maybe are aware that, I actually used to run photography hides in Staffordshire.

However, I closed them all down now.

That’s due to the fact that, since the launch of Conservation Now, my direction in photography changed, and the need for photography hides in my work lowered.

I prefer to document grassroots conservation projects and tell their stories.

That generally means a safari or on foot approach to my wildlife photography.

However, I still see wildlife hides as a great experience and tool to help photographers.

I’ve been lucky to be able to have access to some amazing photo shelters across the globe and will take away some incredible life experiences.

I wanted to share some of those photography hides with you, so you can also share some special moments.

So let’s explore which photography hides, I think (in no particular order), every nature photographer and wildlife lover should be visiting.

1. Cuckoo hide

Kirkcudbright, Scotland
When to visit: April-May

Cuckoo wildlife photography hides

Photographer and hide owner, Alan McFadyen, has been running this cuckoo hide for 6 years with a 100% success rate.

This cuckoo is an often heard, yet seldom seen, bird that migrates from Africa to breed here in the UK each spring around late April. They hang around until mid-late summer after they lay eggs in other bird species nests. Lazy parents, yet amazing species which is the highlight for many UK wildlife photographers.

Booking and more information is available here.

2. Sparrowhawk hide

Kirkcudbright, Scotland
When to visit: All year round

wildlife photography hides

Another hide run by Alan McFadyen, this Sparrowhawk hide was featured on BBC’s Autumnwatch.

Described by Chris Packham as not only as of the best bird on the planet as a species, but the best bird in the world as an individual, The male who visits, known as ‘MAD MAX’, is supported by his female friend and the youngsters they have raised over the years.

Booking and more information is available here.

3. Golden Eagle Photography Hide

Skelleftea, Sweden
When to visit: October – March

wildlife photography hides in Sweden

Run by Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner, Conny Lundstrom, the Golden Eagle hides is Sweden’s snow-covered Lapland is a truly special experience.

Golden Eagles are such an amazing species which is the highlight for many wildlife photographers. Conny’s work to help save the species has taken over 30 years along with other conservationists.

Booking and more information is available here.

4. Little Owl hide

Buckinghamshire
When to visit: April-August

wildlife photography hides in Buckinghamshire

Photographer Neil Neville has been running this hide for 6 years with a huge success rate.

Set on a rural farm in South Buckinghamshire, in the heart of resident breeding pair of wild Little Owl territory. The hide offers a comfortable session available for either evening or morning bookings.

Booking and more information is available here.

5. Aviemore Ospreys

Aviemore, Scotland
When to visit: April-August

wildlife photography hides in Scotland

Born in Aviemore and working outdoors since leaving school, Gordon has worked as guide on the River Spey for 13 years, before spending more than 15 years at Rothiemurchus Estate, helping develop the fishery and wildlife photography there from its concept.

The Osprey hides at Aviemore are the best available in the UK, with huge success rates. The hides has been positions perfectly for stunning images of this amazing species.

Booking and more information is available here.

6. Kingfisher hide

Kirkcudbright, Scotland
When to visit: All Year Round

Perched, Diving and Underwater photography of kingfishers are all available at this superb hide.

The kingfisher hide has been widely featured and acts as a fantastic conservation project for protecting and increasing the species population along the west coast of Scotland. This photo hide was recently featured on ITV’s Border Life, which you can watch here.

Booking and more information is available here.

7. Red Squirrel hide

Aviemore, Scotland
When to visit: Year-Round

Set within the ancient Caledonian pine forest this hide is located in prime red squirrel habitat. Surrounded by towering old pine trees and glorious silver birch all set amongst a carpet of heather, there is an endless array of images for you to challenge yourself to achieve.

Choose from intimate portraits, sitting on gnarled stump perches, jumping, running & chasing, behavioural, feeding, the list goes on as there are many other spontaneous opportunities for you to try and capture.

Booking and more information is available here.

8. Bee-eater hide

Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria
When to visit: May-August

Run by multi-award-winning photographer, Bogdan Boev, the bee-eater photography hides are set within one of the most biodiverse locations in Bulgaria.

Bogdan also offers several other hides in the locations for a huge range of species such as European Roller and wading birds. In Europe, that is genuinely one of my favourite locations to go photograph.

Booking and more information is available here.

9. Daytime Badger hide

Kirkcudbright, Scotland
When to visit: April-Aug

Coming face to face with the UK’s favourite mammal is not something people get to witness often.

Seeing Badgers is a rare experience, but to be able to see and photograph them in daylight is something really special. This hide offers you a unique and precious memory that’ll last a life time.

Booking and more information is available here.

10. East Rhodope hide

Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria
When to visit: October-March

Madzharovo is the only one place in Bulgaria where you have a chance to photograph three vulture species – Griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture and black vulture, Golden eagle, White-tailed eagle and Black kite, possibilities for jackal, wolf and fox.

These hides also play an important role in the Life and Rewilding Europe projects, to help regenerate the vulture populations throughout the Rhodope Mountains and beyond. I was first introduced to this incredible set up by Bogdan Boev, who has been working with the guys over at the Rewilding Rhodopes project to document the incredible species which reside in the highest mountains.

Booking and more information is available here.

11. Pine Marten hide

Kirkcudbright, Scotland
When to visit: Year-Round

One of the most elusive mammals in the UK the Pine Marten is making a fantastic comeback around the Dumfries and Galloway region.

This photography hide has been set up in prime Pine Marten territory and receives visits from the whole family, including the young. LED lighting is used to illuminate the area so flash is not needed for the use of this shelter. Nothing quite beats seeing your first wild UK Pine Marten.

Booking and more information is available here.

12. Nitehawk Pop-up Hide

Take it anywhere.

Ok, so this last one is a bit of a bonus.

As I noted earlier, photography hides are an incredible way to get images without having to disturb a species and allow it to continue it’s daily busy.

This brilliant NITEHAWK large pop-up hide is the top choice for wildlife photographers.

I’ve used on myself a few times and found it very easy to set up with a carry bag, pegs and guylines, and it only weighs 6.4kg.

A handy little pop-up photography hide that you can take anywhere.

More information is available here.

Final Thoughts

Basically, whatever species you want to add to your portfolio there will be photography hides for you to capture so new favourite images.

These are just some of our favourites. One’s we know are most reliable and set up by professionals. The UK photography market is ever-growing, yet, people are having to work more hours, meaning less hobby time is available.

The use of photography hides is not a way of cheating. It’s a way to enjoy your hobby, create stunning images, and hopefully pick up some award winners.