Eric Hosking – An Eye for a Bird

Eric Hosking was an English photographer back in the 1900’s who was mostly known for his bird photography.
‘To see without being seen is the best way to observe wildlfe.’
It has been great to come across Hosking as he was both a dedicated bird watcher and also photographer. After visiting the library I was able to discover his autobiography in which he named ‘An Eye for a Bird.’ Within this autobiography I found chapter eleven titled ‘Hides’. To begin this chapter Hoskings writes about his experiences and steps when man making his hides, explaining the equipment needed which would consequently produce a small tent using poles, opaque materials and safety pins, adding extras like stones or sand in order to provide extra weight in case of strong winds. For Hosking to use his camera he would make a hole around nine inches long across the front of the hide, following this he would also make another four, if not more, peeping holes each around an inches long with flaps to close them when not in use, he’d also make pockets on the inside to hold notepads, binoculars etc. They are made so they can be easily dismantled without too much disturbance towards the birds.
When finally Hoskings had set up his hide, he would then focus on his photography. It seemed a long process for him to ensure he gained the right shot, whilst he would observe the birds coming and going so he would be able to set up his camera confidently knowing that the bird will land in his frame. Hosking admits that he usually had as many as ten hides ready for use, seeming a lot, but he explained that the way to gain the most natural photograph is when the birds are at their very peak of relaxation, meaning they must be accustomed to the hide.
‘The hides peep hole is a window on the birds world.’
Hoskings would create his hides near cattle or other animals, and when doing so would create a fence made of barbed wire, ensuring no animal could disturb, within the fencing he would always try to include the nest. It could take Hoskings weeks up to months just to create one single hide because he’d be so determined to photograph a certain species of bird.
‘Bird photography can indeed be a hazardous occupation’ As Hoskings explains through this chapter, the times when after so much effort his hides have caught fire, or been destructed by other humans, yet he’d continue to re-build time after time. Throughout this chapter the enthusiasm and dedication Hoskings presents towards his passion for photographing birds is phenomenal. It was his life and I feel like he gained pleasure and pride from creating his own hides, the control he was able to gain, the patience he held is all so very inspiring, that if you really strive for that perfect shot, truth is, you’ll probably (eventually) get it.
‘Photographing the hobbies so absorbed my attention that I never thought of my danger at the top of a steel tower, taller than the surrounding trees, with lightening flashing all around. But I dare not leave for fear of scaring the hobby and causing her to desert. My hair was literally standing on end. Was is the electricity? I don’t know. I do know that all the scheming, worrying, work and fear were forgotten in the wonder of watching and photographing such a rare falcon.’

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