During the 2013/14 observation period at the first Little Owl site, Elliott tested the WWS® Large Dome Hide for several weeks. Unfortunately, a combination of highly inquisitive cattle (eating the guy lines), an exposed location and the fact that it was on a platform meant that is was regularly battered and broken – basically the wind would get up underneath the canvas and parachute it into the path of the beef herd! For safety reasons, a rethink was obviously required. So, Elliott went back to the drawing board and developed the PhotoHut Mini™.
Elliott’s philosophy was simple: “Comfort equals focus“. If you are comfortable, you can focus more intently on your photography. Tales of woe and hardship make great stories for workshops and presentations, but do not necessarily translate into better images. If you backside is numb from sitting on a wooden bench and your neck cramping because of an ill-conceived shooting height, you’re certainly not going to be enjoying the experience as much as you could, or indeed should. Simply put, some thoughtful planning, quality engineering and height adjustable comfortable chairs make a huge difference.
“The hide is very comfortable, the only thing that could make it better is coffee machine, oh and a fridge. Only joking, it’s the best hide I have sat in and could not think of anything that could improve it.” (A. Bradley)
“The most comfortable hide I’ve been in…” (J. Gregory)
“…I had a great time and enjoyed the comfort of the hide. I spent 14 hours in there but it didn’t feel like it as the chair was so comfy! (A. Swinbank
“The hide is very comfortable, waterproof and adaptable… The office style chair is very comfortable for a long day. The plate for the gimbal head work very well and allow easy movement – no tripod is needed and would get in the way. The shelves on 3 sides are very handy for a laptop etc.. The front shelf is wide enough to set up 2 cameras and lenses as I did.” (J. Evans)
This 1.5m² ‘single photographer’ timber hide is built to the same exacting standards as its bigger brother: using heavy duty tanalised 4×2″ timbers, fully-lined with (inside and out) with exterior grade plywood, packed with Celotex 50mm insulation boards and fitted ventilation ducts to keep the interior more comfortable for the summer months. The exterior shutters are opened via pulleys and cords from inside. WWS® scrim nets or snoots cover the windows. Inside, the interior is blacked out and there are no bright or reflective surfaces. Finishing touches include an extremely comfortable height-adjustable swivel chair, sturdy integrated shelf and solid metal tripod-head plates (for use on the shelf).
PhotoHut Mini™ is also semi portable. The timber construction has been over-engineered so the entire hide can be picked up with the farm’s JCB fork-lift and relocated. The PhotoHut Mini™ has shooting apertures on all four sides for a greater range of shots with the available sunlight. The hide has been built to work with 500mm timber platforms if a higher shooting height is needed.