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Old Tuesday 7th February 2012, 22:18   #1
Essex Tern
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Camouflage - Effectiveness re UV?

Sorry if it's been discussed before, but I have never been a fan of camo clothing and refuse to wear it out of principle and green for that matter!!

But on a serious note, as birds can see in ultraviolet, is camouflage clothing more of an army thing whereby it is intended to conceal from normal vision, I.e. human, and not the animal kingdom. I imagine our faces must stick out like beacons against our clothing be it camo or not. Also the different colours making up the camo may be more or less visible to uv vision, and I just wondered how effective it all is? Do any birders do the full army face paint? Never seen it but suppose it may happen!

I imagine it may all help a bit, but just wondered if anyone has any more info on the uv spectrum side of things?
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Old Wednesday 8th February 2012, 07:53   #2
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Interesting idea. I've never seen birders with camo paint on their faces but I've seen plenty using camo veils and scrim and camo hats. I find some form of gloves are just as important if more so when holding a camera.

Just tried my UV light on my Jack Pyke jacket - negative results. White trainers and tee-shirts give a good reaction though!

I couldn't never decide whether it's the camo gear that helps or whether simply standing/sitting still with no sudden movements that enables closer views of birds.
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Old Wednesday 8th February 2012, 08:34   #3
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There's no doubt that covering up your face certainly helps birds not see you but I cant see it catching on amomgst birders though i dare say some photographers might do this already.
Birds might not see the colours of the camo as we do but its more to do with breaking up your outline by having patches of different colour or many of the excellent modern 3D camo patterns so that you dont look like the shape of a person.
Not so much in this country but in others especially the USA you'll often see hunters wearing orange camo so I assume the birds dont see the orange as we do but are still fooled by the camo pattern breaking up the persons outline.
Ian is right though the most important thing of all is just staying still.
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Old Wednesday 8th February 2012, 09:12   #4
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i wear camo clothes and even a gillie suite and iv had birds even try to land on me a couple of times so camo does work .
Imho i think that being still with camo gear on gives you just a little longer to get the shot and often its thoes extra few seconds that make either a good shot or a great shot with detail.
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Old Wednesday 8th February 2012, 10:01   #5
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especially the USA you'll often see hunters wearing orange camo so I assume the birds dont see the orange
Deer don't see the orange but unfortunatly birds do, it is great for deerhunting in woods with other hunters around but for birdwatching it would be worse than useless. That said there is a lot more to not being seen than wearing camouflage.
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Old Thursday 9th February 2012, 09:29   #6
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I think wearing camouflage is much more of an "image" statement rather than of real value. On British TV how many of our serious naturalists/birdwatchers wear camouflage?
The military are using camouflage to be "invisible" to human eyes, birdwatchers need to be "invisible" to birds. Field craft is probably the key factor. Having said that I tend to wear olive green usually purchased from "country sports" shops rather than "outdoor" shops. Another advantage? of not wearing "cammo gear" is that one can safely go out shopping with the wife in town. Now there's a plus for camouflaged gear.

Last edited by Robert Wallace : Thursday 9th February 2012 at 09:32. Reason: spelling typo
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Old Thursday 9th February 2012, 11:29   #7
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I think wearing camouflage is much more of an "image" statement rather than of real value. On British TV how many of our serious naturalists/birdwatchers wear camouflage?
.
I wonder though how many of those maybe do wear camo when they arent being told what to wear to be on TV and its not exactly unusual to see people on wildlife programes wearing camo especial camera men.
Its seems to be mainly the likes of springwatch and countryfile where the presenters dont wear camo most likely because they are told not to as its not the image they wont to show.
When it comes to 'proper' ones like Ray Mears,Jonny Kingdom etc camo seems to be seen a lot more often.
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Old Thursday 9th February 2012, 12:43   #8
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In my experience, the camo does work; the important part being the concealment of the 'human form', as well as, hiding the face and hands (including silhouettes, and silhouettes against a skyline- it amuses me how camoed up some arrive to a venue only to stand out in the open or break a clean skyline with their silhouette) Ive been sat in an area not wearing camo, and no birds came into view. Wearing the camo/and or getting under a camo bag hide made such a difference; many birds arrived.

Regarding the UV spectrum idea, whilst interesting, I cannot confirm, but can only speak regarding what I know works for me! :)

Best wishes

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Old Thursday 9th February 2012, 12:52   #9
Robert Wallace
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I wonder though how many of those maybe do wear camo when they arent being told what to wear to be on TV and its not exactly unusual to see people on wildlife programes wearing camo especial camera men.
Its seems to be mainly the likes of springwatch and countryfile where the presenters dont wear camo most likely because they are told not to as its not the image they wont to show.
When it comes to 'proper' ones like Ray Mears,Jonny Kingdom etc camo seems to be seen a lot more often.
I still can't see David Attenborough wearing cammo, nor Simon King, Chris Packam, Bill Oddie and looking at photos of venerable past naturalists/photographers for example Eric Hoskin, Chisslett, Phil Hollom, Ted Eales and the first person to photograph bitterns Miss E.L.Turner, didn't either.
The important points are invisibility to birds and field craft including the ability to remain still. Nothing wrong with wearing camouflage if you feel you need to.
Ray Mears made his name thro' bushcraft (a super boy scout) although to me he seems to wear olive drab more than "cammo". Jonny Kingdom, I'd rather not comment, with or without hat.
I repeat wearing "cammo" is a style statement pure and simple. Please note I am not making any style judgements, simply sticking to function.
Please note my comments refer specifically to coats not to hiding your face behind a veil of some kind or using face paint where appropriate.
Broadly I agree with EssesTern.

Last edited by Robert Wallace : Thursday 9th February 2012 at 12:58.
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Old Thursday 9th February 2012, 17:56   #10
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Originally Posted by Robert Wallace View Post
I still can't see David Attenborough wearing cammo, nor Simon King, Chris Packam, Bill Oddie and looking at photos of venerable past naturalists/photographers for example Eric Hoskin, Chisslett, Phil Hollom, Ted Eales and the first person to photograph bitterns Miss E.L.Turner, didn't either.
The important points are invisibility to birds and field craft including the ability to remain still. Nothing wrong with wearing camouflage if you feel you need to.
Ray Mears made his name thro' bushcraft (a super boy scout) although to me he seems to wear olive drab more than "cammo". Jonny Kingdom, I'd rather not comment, with or without hat.
I repeat wearing "cammo" is a style statement pure and simple. Please note I am not making any style judgements, simply sticking to function.
Please note my comments refer specifically to coats not to hiding your face behind a veil of some kind or using face paint where appropriate.
Broadly I agree with EssesTern.

I agree with you but the point i was making(which you've touched on) is people like David Attenborough,Bill Oddie etc is they are essentially TV celebrities who are also naturalists(obviously they are very passionate and knowledgeable, more than most) but people like Ray Mears,Jonny Kingdom etc are more naturalists who then became TV celebrities because of it and there clothing choices seem to perhaps reflect that a bit. You are right that Ray Mears does more often wear drab greens and browns than poper camo though i guess to an extent that is a kind of camo compared to the reds,Blues and blacks etc we often see other presenters wearing.
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Old Thursday 9th February 2012, 18:46   #11
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Originally Posted by Robert Wallace View Post
I still can't see David Attenborough wearing cammo, nor Simon King, Chris Packam, Bill Oddie and looking at photos of venerable past naturalists/photographers for example Eric Hoskin, Chisslett, Phil Hollom, Ted Eales and the first person to photograph bitterns Miss E.L.Turner, didn't either.
The important points are invisibility to birds and field craft including the ability to remain still. Nothing wrong with wearing camouflage if you feel you need to.
Ray Mears made his name thro' bushcraft (a super boy scout) although to me he seems to wear olive drab more than "cammo". Jonny Kingdom, I'd rather not comment, with or without hat.
I repeat wearing "cammo" is a style statement pure and simple. Please note I am not making any style judgements, simply sticking to function.
Please note my comments refer specifically to coats not to hiding your face behind a veil of some kind or using face paint where appropriate.
Broadly I agree with EssesTern.
In Springwatch Simon King donned a full Ghillie Suit to try and see Wildcats in Scotland and in another one Chris Packham covered up his face quite a bit to see Nightjars whilst in the company of David Tipling who also made the effort. Even bill Oddie went full on camo when he sat on that riverbank and held out a branch for a Kingfisher to perch on, which it duly did. Other examples out there I'm sure. In my experience of wildlife watching and photography it really DOES make a difference and I'm sure if you asked any of those mentioned they'd agree.
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Old Friday 10th February 2012, 22:52   #12
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In my opinion, camo works!! I have no doubt bout it and I will tell you why by givin you a bit of my experience, hoping that will help.

So far I dont have a big telezoom lense, just primes with 7D and the longest is the 100mm.
I always Loved wildlife and birds so I decided to get into birding, knowing that my equipment wasnt the best for it but well, better than nothing!!

I started by wearin the green classic camo thing and went to the mangrove next door my house, I know a spot where white faced heron come very often!!
Been stayin there steady just in front of the spot with the sun behind me, hiding back a little tree...
Some birds came; no herons; but never really close and was very obvious that the oystercatchers knew I was there because when walking searchin on the ground for worms, passing in front of me they always went further in order to avoid me.
I saw the herons flying close but they never landed to their usual spot!!

I did some research on the web, especially on bow hunting website; shame on me I know; and learnt a lot bout "camouflage"!!!
These guys cant get the same reach as the other hunters so they focus on approach and being invisible.
After that, I bought camo face paint and ghillie.
Painted my hands, my face applying the bow hunters rules in order to make it hardly identifiable and been back to the same spot with the ghillie.

Came there very slowly, hiding behind trees, tree by tree, set up my tripod, covered the equipment with the ghillie and been waiting.
The herons landed to their usual spot and the oystercatchers walked 5m in front of me.

From this day, I dont wonder anymore if being invisible is a plus or not because there is simply no doubt.

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Old Tuesday 14th February 2012, 15:38   #13
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Camo probably does work, but the results are exaggerated. I also, like the TS, refuse to wear camo out of principle. It reminds me of wars and hunting. Two things a hate people doing and don't want to be associated with.

I wear a jacket of Laksen which is nice dark green and real silent. And I wear dark green trousers of Fjallraven. I never wear clothes that reflect UV. This is a great combination for me. I have had Roe within a yard. Trushes within 4 yards. Buzzard landing within 10 yards. Badgerscubs sniffing my toes, etc. etc.

I am convinced that observing without any movement and without any noise gives you wonderful experiences in nature.
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Old Wednesday 15th February 2012, 13:59   #14
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I never wear clothes that reflect UV.
How do you know? We can't see UV.

Most laundry detergents seem to contain UV active components -to brighten colors-, thus you can get "special" stuff in hunting stores that doesn't .....

So washing your stuff once with the wrong soap will make you light up like a christmas tree in the woods

Ulli
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Old Wednesday 15th February 2012, 14:03   #15
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Watched a national geographic show recently on harris's hawk's.In order for crew and commentor to closely approach nest in a saguaro cactus all wore gilly suits.Was immediately reminded of an Monty Python routine. Feel it is going far too extreme,sends a very poor message to people.Staying low,moving slow,making as little noise as possible. Then hunkering down quietly in available cover brings many rewards.I am not shrubbery.In geographic setting an example somewhat,feel they did very poorly,lost a lot of respect for them regarding nesting birds.
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Old Wednesday 15th February 2012, 14:12   #16
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I have said it before but I am always amused when I see people in full camo gear sitting inside a hide and I am still waiting for the first 'tongue and groove' camo prints to appear for this purpose. Personally, I couldn't bring myself to wear camo - I am too much of a shrinking violet and couldn't bear to stand out so much.

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Old Wednesday 15th February 2012, 14:35   #17
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On the other hand it made me smile recently when I saw a guy laying flat out somewhere on the Norfolk coast photographing snow buntings and shore birds with a very big lens and a very bright, near-flourescent jacket.

I was also surprised when I visited Trinidad that I saw signs saying anyone entering the country in possession of Camo clothing would face arrest and six months in jail. I felt glad I'd left mine at home at this point.
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Old Wednesday 15th February 2012, 18:50   #18
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Quite a difference between land borne and water borne approach with shore birds,waders,many birds,mammals in general.Having various watersnakes drop in to cockpit of kayak/canoe great way spoil the day for photo's.Do believe camo serves well to break up silhouette if expanse of sky behind one is the only option.Still want to make use of any natural cover.Flat black gaffers tape is made to be non-reflective photographically,handy to have a roll in bag for many things.
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Old Thursday 16th February 2012, 06:12   #19
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A quote from one of our best photographers from 2003 ~ Nigel Blake:~
"I was in 'Realtree' cammo with a Realtree shroud over my 600mm lens which was mounted on a tripod, the bird sat on my lens frequently and I photographed it with a 100-400mm lens with a 25mm extension tube on set at about 220mm, it was less than 2 ft away, that's what cammo can do for you!"

That's when I started wearing cammo and it certainly works for me too.

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Old Thursday 16th February 2012, 18:16   #20
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I think it's important to remember that wildlife does not universally have the same attitude towards man. In some areas and even some countries as a whole wildlife incl. birds is much more approachable and less bothered by the presence of people. Ergo the need for camo is not a universal constant either.

For the most part here in the UK though I still very much think it brings you closer to wildlife than without.
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Old Friday 17th February 2012, 15:12   #21
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Shape Shine Shadow Silhouette Movement (SSSSM)these are the things to mask or avoid trying to break up your shape this is where the camouflage comes in.

From drab clothing which will work most of the time,through too full blown gillie suit originally used for deer stalking(the original tweeds also matched the back ground colours) and then for stalking men.
Cover up the face and hands gloves ,face vail broad soft brimmed bush hat (camo cream streaked for day time full cover night) I like the hat option with a face vail in the pocket just in case raises less eyebrows in the tea room than camo cream.

Be aware of where the sun is casting your shadow.

Do not silhouette your self against the skyline (keep back from river bank edges if you are looking to spot fish).

And the big one movement do every thing slow and deliberate best of all sit still!

Top bit of kit the face vale can break up the Shape and Shine of you or kit make a good scarf to keep you warm too.

Picked this up many years ago from my father(ex Royal Marine)who has an uncanny ability to blend in with his surroundings when out in the countryside fishing, shooting, bird-watching in normal country colours.
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2012, 17:04   #22
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How do you know? We can't see UV.

Most laundry detergents seem to contain UV active components -to brighten colors-, thus you can get "special" stuff in hunting stores that doesn't .....

So washing your stuff once with the wrong soap will make you light up like a christmas tree in the woods

Ulli
Oké I will never be sure. But I test the clothes with an UV light. If it reflects a lot, I stays in the store.

Also we (my wife ) use the right soap for my outdoor clothing.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2012, 16:56   #23
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Seen one again yesterday.Slipping stealthily through understory.Almost but not quite invisable.
Betrayed by movement rather than enviromental contrast, reflected light,or even noise.

Can someone explain to me why mushroom hunters wear camo's?.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2012, 17:05   #24
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Mushrooms can be tricky things to sneek up on with that knife in your hand.
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2012, 21:27   #25
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Can someone explain to me why mushroom hunters wear camo's?.
Must be clever. I don't wear camo and I can never find any edible mushroom. Now I know why.

BTW, those who test things against UV - isn't it that clothing which shine in UV for our eye are usually either violet or shiny (like some synthetic materials?)
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