Lot’s to Learn

Last week, one of the best of the best camera trappers in existence released an e book full of tips and techniques for this very niche form of photography. It’s almost 200 pages and I’ve already read it … maybe a record for me. I will forever be using it as a reference guide.

I have lots of room for improvement. I still struggle with lighting. Flashes misfiring or not firing at all is my single biggest issue. He addresses this apparently common issue with a whole chapter on flashes. I’ve read and reread it. In a couple of hours, I’ll be making some additional adjustments and hope for the best.

Here I am trying to dial in the flash (along with focus/compostion) on a 105 degree day last week. By this point, I was soaked with sweat and maybe a little delirious. You wouldn’t know it by the smile, but the heat, mosquitoes and poison oak do take a toll on me.

Tuesday, I checked this camera and even though I’m still having issues with flashes, they worked perfect at a critical moment!

A massive win! Coyotes are extremely wary of unusual sounds, smells and sights and they’ve repeatedly outsmarted me. I love the look of photographing wildlife with a wide angle lens. I have the deepest love and respect for coyotes.

As for the other trap site I’ve been very excited about, . a huge limb broke from a tree during a recent storm. It knocked over a flash and the motion sensor, so I got exactly nothing. Big letdown! I was ready to blame the bears until I took a step back and saw what really happened.

That’s camera trapping. Lots of ups and downs. But one great image a week works for me!

Connection

I used to wonder if I’d lose the sense of connection with my subjects by using trail cameras and camera traps. I mean, being in the presence of wild animals in one of the best parts of being a wildlife photographer! Would all of that be lost with these cameras and techniques?

The answer is no. It’s made the connection deeper. Especially with this family of Black Bears. I’ve been “working” with this mother bear and her two cubs all spring and summer. While I’ve only met them ‘face to face’ three times, I’ve completely fallen for them. Just being in the same woods, walking the same trails and knowing only a few hours ago, they were on the same trail is kind of a cool feeling. I think I can even smell them. I’m sure they know my scent by now too. Constantly fixing/adjusting the cameras they abuse has almost become a game. I don’t get the least bit annoyed. I love it. And then to see a video like this. Just wow. Magical.

I’ve never been more connected.