Hide Plates



First a Little History

Generally speaking, the traditional method of supporting a camera and lens, especially a long, heavy, telephoto lens in a fixed, permanent hide, is usually achieved either by using a tripod with some form of tripod head, typically a ball type head or a gimbal type head or, alternatively, by using a beanbag deployed on a sturdy shelf to create a stable support for the weight of the lens.

However, back in 2013 when I first opened my new Little Owl hide for customers and realised that the dynamics of the site were perfect for capturing the Owls in flight, I was faced with a dilemma - I needed to be able to use a gimbal type head to make these images possible but the problem I had was that the hide was too small to cope with two sets of tripod legs plus, on top of that, using a beanbag for this type of shot was also out of the question because of the need to track and pan with the Owls smoothly. So I had to come up with a way of being able to use a gimbal-type head in the hide to support my telephoto lens without the need to use a tripod!

The answer to the problem - ideally a solid metal plate with a standard 3/8th threaded stud that would sit happily on a sturdy shelf in the hide, on which I would then be able to mount my gimbal head.


Hide Plate shown here with my gimbal head mounted (gimbal head not included).


Now, this method of supporting a camera and lens combination is by no means a new idea and I definitely don't profess to have been the first to invent it, as photographers and hide operators, particularly those in Europe and Scandinavia, have been using this method in hides for years, but are usually found using an incredibly large and heavy metal base which is difficult to move.
Something of that size would be of no use to me, I wished to have something lighter, something more portable, something that could be moved easily left or right a touch to help with a better background to my images if needed, yet still being strong and supportive enough to take the weight of my camera and lens. So I set about designing a plate that would not only be lighter and easier to use but, more importantly, be easily capable of handling even the heaviest of camera and lens combinations.

Armed with my design, I took it to a friend who runs his own engineering and fabrication business and set about creating the plate. A prototype was quickly manufactured and to my surprise the size and weight of the plate seemed perfect and, more importantly, once I added my Wimberley gimbal head, my Canon 1DX and 500mm F4 lens on to the plate, I was astounded as to how well the whole rig was supported and balanced with the weight being evenly distributed to the four corners of the plate.....it was perfect! Not only was I now able to track the owls in flight smoothly and more accurately, it was also a breeze to effortlessly switch from landscape to portrait format if needed, for perched portrait shots, which was exactly what I set out to achieve.


Wild Little Owl in flight, Canon 1DX, Canon 500mm F4L IS, 1/4000 sec, F5.6, ISO 800, Wimberley gimbal head, Hide Plate.


The plates were put into the hide straight away and customers immediately noticed the differences and advantages of using the plate as opposed to using a traditional tripod, with many commenting on what a great idea they were. Very soon I began to receive enquiries as to whether the plates were available to purchase, which has now led me to be able to offer the plates for sale and to date many units have been sold.

Since then, the design has been tweaked a little here, refined a little there and I now produce for sale a very high quality alternative to using a tripod in a hide, a stylish plate incorporating high functionality at an affordable price and a great piece of kit for photographers who use many of the commercially available hides in the UK or further afield. However, do please note that it is important to ensure that the hide in which you are planning to use your Hide Plate has a sufficiently strong and sturdy shelf to handle the weight of the plate, head, camera and lens combination mounted on it.

The Plates can also be used outside; in the past I have successfully used them to mount a camera and lens for a very low angle, fixed position perspective, also for mounting trail cameras and camera trapping, plus using the Plate to mount flashguns on etc - the uses are endless.
Please note that if you were thinking of buying a Plate to use outdoors, you would need to order a Plate with a rubber base to it as opposed to the felt base normally fitted to a Plate for use inside a hide.


Hide Plate with my trail camera mounted, a good example of the Hide Plate's many other uses.

Hide Plate Specification:

* A fantastic, alternative method of supporting even the heaviest of camera and lens combinations, perfect for hide work.

* Incredibly well balanced, stable enough to support a camera and lens combination of up to and including 800mm lenses.

* Compatible with all types of tripod heads with a standard 3/8th thread, this includes most types of ball heads, gimbal style heads and the Uniqball head.

* Machined and constructed in the UK from the highest quality UK sourced materials.

* A stylish, hard-wearing, black anodised finish including a high grade, non rusting, stainless steel threaded stud, plus a durable, custom fit felt pad to absorb and eliminate noise caused by grit friction on any surface the plate is mounted on.

* Weighing in at around 1kg the Plate is easily portable.

* Can also be used outside as a base plate to mount cameras and lenses for low angle, fixed position photography, also ideal for trail cameras and flashguns for low angle photography or low angle camera trapping....the possibilities are endless.

* Optional rubber base for outside use. Please request this to be fitted when ordering.

* Spare parts available: Felt and rubber bases, countersunk stainless steel studs, 7/32nd Allen key.

* A unique and very handy accessory for any photographer's kit bag, making it an ideal gift for any occasion.

* Cost of the Hide Plate is £60 plus £7.95 postage and packing to any mainland UK postal address, non mainland UK addresses and Europe are POA.

* Discounts available on two or more units purchased but please note that due to the weight of the package the postage will be higher and therefore POA.

The Hide Plate design and specification are the sole copyright of Neil Neville and Neil Neville Photography and are ONLY available to purchase by contacting Neil here.

Thank you for browsing and I look forward to hearing from you soon.