Hidden in Plain Sight

We’ve been hiking down Bear Trap Canyon for a couple of hours now, and I’m more than ready for lunch.  I stop by a big log, turn to Bill and suggest that this would be a good stopping place.

“Well, maybe not.”

“Why not?  I’m starving.  It’s a good place to sit.”

“Ummm…the guy right behind you thinks so too.”

What?? I turn to my right, and about jump out of my skin.   There’s a big dude sitting not three feet from me, totally decked out in camouflage.  Holy crow…that stuff works!    He laughs, we laugh, and we move on to find our own lunch spot.

We learned this nifty hiding trick from the animals, of course.

How about this example?  Not the bear, he doesn’t need camouflage.  But do you see anyone else in this photo?


Is it easier if you look where the bear is looking?


Sometimes we can be distracted by one critter and not see everyone in the frame.  I bet if you just take a quick look at these photos who won’t see everyone…




Pretty cool, eh?

Standing still works pretty well, too.  I saw a couple of these herons at first, but didn’t realize there were so many of them until I looked at the photo!


And I was so distracted by the lovely forms these two herons were creating that I totally missed that there were two babies in the nest:


Sandhill cranes can hide themselves incredibly well…except for that silly red spot on the top of their heads.


The system works much better if the light isn’t on them:


Owls have this camouflage thing nailed.  I bet I’ve walked within feet of hundreds of owls without a clue that they’re there.  Even when you know they’re there, it can be a challenge.



Of course, the old stand-by technique of putting a lot of brush around you is always a good choice.  Do you see anything in this tangle of branches?

moose 1

How about now?


Or closer?  Now you see the moose, I bet!


She was so well hidden, I just about walked into her.   What a shock that would have been!


About westerner54

Hello. I'm Cindy, and I love to hike, bike and explore the outdoors - particularly the western U.S.
This entry was posted in Hiking, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Wildlife and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Hidden in Plain Sight

  1. Lyle Krahn says:

    You certainly proved the point. I hate the fact that I’ve walked by all these great opportunities.

  2. So cool! I had fun trying to find everything…

  3. Love your pics! Recently my husband and I completed a four day backpack in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I told my husband that even tho we saw no bear, I’m sure they were there. We were so busy watching our step no telling what we passed by!

  4. Absolutely brilliant! Like a game. Only not a game in real life if you run into a moose! My favorite is the owl behind the twig screen. As for the first photo, I had to blow it up to see the little guy in the bottom right. I hope he wasn’t lunch for the bear! Great post!

  5. Sue says:

    These are great! I think I found all the animals in camo, but you’re right, it’s so easy to overlook them.

  6. Janet says:

    Wow! You are so lucky to see all that you see. I had to look hard to see the little guy near the bear. You should work for National Geographic!

    • westerner54 says:

      Nice. The coyote was hard to see in real life, too. He came up when I wasn’t looking and just hunkered down, waiting for his turn at the carcass. I didn’t notice him until I saw that the bear was looking at him!

  7. Mandy says:

    Great post. I too would have liked a photo of the guy in camo; or was he there and I just didn’t see him?

  8. oopsjohn says:

    I didn’t see the deer carcass until you mentioned it. That could be a tricky situation if the bear thought you were too close. 🙂

  9. What an interesting post. I’d never really thought about this much since I’m not an outdoors adventurer like you. As always, this is a great lesson in not just looking, but truly seeing.

  10. Rama's Mama says:

    Oh man, I kept looking for a photo of the guy in his camo outfit! LOL

  11. TedG says:

    Wow! Nice collection of photos. It is a fascinating world out there when we take the time to look.

  12. Great proofreading test! That’s part of what I do for a living, and looking for creatures is more fun than hunting for typos. I especially love the sandhill cranes, and the textures and colors of the grasses. And the moose, of course . . .

  13. brickthomas says:

    Very interesting shots. While hiking I occasionally wonder how many animals see me that I have no clue of. Thanks for the reminder to look a little closer.

  14. Jet Eliot says:

    That was a fun and well-demonstrated exercise. Amazing how a very big moose can be hidden like that. 🙂

  15. MJF Images says:

    Very interesting post, and so many good photos to illustrate the point! I followed a huge buck up an alpine ridge once and just lost him, that is until I stared at the only clump of low trees long enough from just 10 feet away, then I saw an eye staring out, then the antlers. I don’t know how he fit his huge body in there but he did.

  16. Pingback: Sneaky Critters | Off the Beaten Path: Hikes, Backpacks, and Travels

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