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Painting Tips, Issue #006 -- The Art of Hiding
July 17, 2008
Hello again!


We call them hides but in America they are called blinds. They do the same thing which is to ‘hide’ observers from the wildlife they want to view, photograph or paint. The beauty of the hides is that almost anything can turn up. Hides are normally located at gathering spots such as waterholes, pans or on rivers. Patience is required as sometimes, when one arrives at a hide, it appears as if there is nothing there but sitting patiently for a few minutes can reveal a steady stream of activity.

I was once totally surprised when watching a waterhole where nothing was moving to suddenly realise that the elephants were coming for a dip. Not one but about 20! I hadn't heard them and only saw them once they moved away from the trees! I couldn't believe such huge animals could be so invisible nor me so blind. So people who sit in a hide all day long may often see much more than those who drive around searching for game.

You can also ‘hide’ in your vehicle. Animals see a vehicle as a solid object and cannot distinguish people within it. There are many spots in reserves where sitting patiently brings all sorts of birds and animals close enough to sketch or photograph for a winning painting later!

On a A South African Painting Holiday you too can sit out in the bush and feel the freedom of real plein-air painting with the wild animals but a breath away!

Courtesy of

If you want a more pleasing photo shot, you will rarely have your subject in the center of your photo. Using the ‘Rule of Thirds‘ your subject should be on the left or right side of the photo, not the middle.

One technique to get in focus pictures is called a “Focus then Recompose”. This is where you take these steps before you take the shot:

  1. First point your camera towards your subject
  2. Depress the shutter button half way down to force the camera to lock focus on your subject
  3. Now move the camera so your subject is on the left or right of the photo
  4. Fully press the shutter button to take the photo.

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