Archive for the ‘Camera Trapping’ Category

Canon 400D waiting on a tiger…!

Saturday, April 5, 2014 posted by Bruce 8:35 PM

DSLR catches sambar and elephant

After downloading the card on my Canon 400D DSLR trail cam, there was no tiger but this sambar doe and a young tusker had showed up tripping the sensor just past the log. The 50mm lens seems to be OK if a leopard or tiger were to come through…I’m still waiting patiently…! The first shot is a crop to see what is possible at this location..

sambar doe - Canon 400D

sambar doe - Canon 400D

Tusker crossing log at Canon 400D

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Sony A500 trail cam catches a wild elephant in ‘musth’

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 posted by Bruce 7:48 PM

You never know what might show-up at a DSLR but when in elephant country, it’s pretty certain the big herbivore will pass the cam. However, this middle-aged wild male elephant was in a state of ‘musth’, a serious natural affliction. It would be a disaster if you bumped into this guy in the forest. Better to catch him with a trail cam…much safer..!

Wild male elephant in musth 1

Wild male elephant in musth 2

Wild male elephant in musth

Wild male elephant in musth

Wild male elephant in musth

‘Musth’ is known to affect both wild and domestic elephants. It is an extremely dangerous time to be around one when it occurs characterized by highly aggressive behavior and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones. A smelly liquid seeps from the temporal gland and sometimes into the mouth. These males have headaches causing severe pain. Needless to say, it was a great catch, something that is not documented to often, specially in the wild…! Enjoy..!!

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Canon 400D DSLR catches an elephant’s trunk

Sunday, March 23, 2014 posted by Bruce 6:46 PM

A new location waiting on tiger…!

Elephant crossing log - Canon 400D

Elephant’s trunk right next to the SSII sensor hidden at the base of a tree.

It has taken awhile to get this trail cam working but it’s finally tripping well at a well-known tiger trail with plenty of battery life left in the cam and flashes after some two weeks in the field. This elephant was the first creature to cross in front of the external sensor set close to the log, and the Canon with two hard-wired SB-28s seems to be right on. I think the 400D with a Nikon 50mm ƒ1.4 manual lens looks perfect for tiger  (settings: ISO 400 – ƒ8 @ 1/125). I have since added a third flash to help reduce any more shadows but that will have to wait till my next field trip next week. I look forward to checking this cam and evaluate if the third flash is really needed, and to readjust composition up a tad. Enjoy.

Canon 400D hard-wired flash retrofit

Canon 400D in an ‘elephant proof’ aluminum box with three Nikon SB-28 hard-wired flashes.

Me at Canon 400D setup

LBK testing the sensor and focus..!

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Sony A-500 traIl cam catches Asian deer

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 posted by Bruce 11:26 PM

Some first images of a sambar stag and doe off-trail

Sambar stag -Sony A500 DSLR

A sambar stag in mid-stride.

Sambar doe -Sony A500 DSLR

A sambar doe with the tell-tale lesion on the neck.

A couple months ago, I finished my Sony A-500 trail cam housed in a Pelican 1120 and mounted horizontally. There is no battery grip but two 18650 4.2 volt lithium batteries are used as externals. The camera is fitted with a Sony 28mm lens and a Snapshotsniper SSII sensor is hooked-up. At first, I tried a radio trigger for the two flashes but they did not work efficiently so I hard-wired the two Nikon SB-28s, and they have worked great ever since. I have also hard-wired the sensor with a 10 meter cable and set it on the side of the trail. I also use the sensor in the box in case the trail sensor does not pick-up an animal, and both work in tandem. It seems to be very sensitive and these sambar were both off-trail along a stream that is quite far away. I’m hoping to catch a black leopard that frequents this area plus tiger and other exotic species such as tapir. The 28mm lens is perfect for the large giants like elephants and gaur. The cam was working real well when I left it a couple days ago…!!

 

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Nikon D700 captures ‘big foot’

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 posted by Bruce 9:26 PM

A wild elephant passing the log…!

Last month was a quiet one for my Nikon D700 trail cam…all I got was a big elephant going over the log…these are the two shots….I think the second one is unique and a bit abstract…!

Elephant crossing log - D700

Elephant crossing log - D700

The D700 is at a new location where I previously got tapir, tiger, gaur and elephant plus sambar and barking deer. Enjoy….more to follow.

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Indochinese tigers in Thailand’s Western Forest Complex

Friday, February 21, 2014 posted by Bruce 7:45 PM

Tigers’ reaction to camera traps and red LEDs

The following videos are a collection gathered over the last 6 months of tigers in the Western Forest Complex. Some of these wild cats showed reaction to red LEDs and the cams, but others did not seem bothered. What ever happens with some animals depends on the individual. Needless to say, there are quite a few tigers in this forest. I am trying to improve the quality of the videos with better cams that are in the process of being built…Enjoy…!!

http://youtu.be/L-caxUgdFbE

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Nikon D700 captures two civet species

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 posted by Bruce 9:04 PM

My full frame DSLR trail cam still working well…!

Large Indian civet Nikon D700

Large Indian civet up on the log…!

Just returned from the Western Forest Complex in Thailand where I checked out my Nikon D700 on the log. It continues to capture some amazing creatures that thrive in this biosphere and the ‘log’ has proven to be a goldmine for me…!

Large Indian civet Nikon D700

Large Indian civet up-closer…!

A large Indian civet Viverra sibetha jumped up on the log and the D700 fired off two shots. This large civet is nocturnal and common in this forest. This critter came up close but then jumped off after the flashes fired again.

Masked palm civet

Masked palm civet a few days later….!

A few days later, a masked palm civet Paguma larvata also got up on the log and came right up to the cam. Largely arboreal, they also hunt on the ground.

Masked palm civet

Up-close…!

I did use some ‘coon bait’ by Marsyada’s Lures from Hazei Township, PA which worked real well to lure these carnivores. It was a nice catch and I’m sure they will return.

Masked palm civet

Up real close…!

Unfortunately, a tiger came up to the log but saw the red LEDs on a Bushnell setup across from the D700 and did not cross over but went around and so I missed the big cat but got him on video. Hopefully, it’ll pass over next time..Enjoy…!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nikon D700 captures Indochinese tiger

Saturday, January 25, 2014 posted by Bruce 4:39 PM

My first good catch with a DSLR trail cam..!

D700 capture Indochinese tiger 1

D700 capture Indochinese tiger 2

It has taken me long enough. When I first set-up my Nikon D700 and after months of frustration using wireless flash triggers (two different makes), I have come to the conclusion that the only way to capture elusive wildlife with a DSLR and get that first shot; hard-wire the flashes with a TTL sync cord is the only way to go. These two shots of an Indochinese tiger shown here was captured in January 2014 using my D700 and a Nikon 10mm fixed lens in conjunction with a Nikon ML-3 remote trigger and one SB-28 and one SB-600 Speedlight.

I have cropped these two photos. While at the cam, I replaced the 10mm with a 24mm manual lens and refocused to take in the tighter crop. The 10mm was too wide for this location. On my next visit in a week or so, I will put a 35mm lens to get an even tighter frame. Also need to add one more flash above the cam as the shadow of the log on the right is not too good. Needless to say, the hard-wired flashes are still going and burn very little power on standby. I will also hard wire my other cams one at a time to do away with the useless wireless triggers. Enjoy…!!

 

 

 

 

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Wild Thailand Part One and Two

Saturday, January 4, 2014 posted by Bruce 10:59 AM

For the first time, a snarling tiger shows what their reaction is to a video cam with red LEDs when actuated at night. This male tiger is a resident at this location in the ‘Western Forest Complex’…a black leopard also passed the cam several times but did not actually look at the LEDs and so no reaction was recorded.

At the second location, the tigers did not seem too bothered by the red blob…! I now have a few cams including my Nikon D700 set-up here and hopefully will catch a tiger with my DSLR trail cam…!! Please enjoy these videos and even though they are a bit fuzzy, still show Thailand’s amazing natural heritage at its best.

http://youtu.be/xCMIGk6HsfQ

http://youtu.be/NZZRCoaIO-g

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Sony A500 Trail Cam

Friday, January 3, 2014 posted by Bruce 2:09 PM

My smallest DSLR camera trap yet…!

Before my trip to the States in October 2013, I started working on a Sony DSLR trail cam using a Model A500 body with a Sony 28mm ƒ2.8 lens. I prefer prime lenses (24, 28, 35 or 50mm) over zooms for camera traps (for the most part) due to better quality images.

Sony A500 trail cam 1

Sony A500/Pelican 1120/SSII/18650 externals/YongNuo CTR-301P/S.

A Pelican 1120 case has just enough room for the A500 body without a battery pack and a SSII with a #5 chip is used for control. A generic shutter release cable was cut and hooked-up to the SSII. NOTE: Make sure your SSII is up-graded to ‘no refresh’ as this can actuate the camera every couple of hours and drain the battery…!

flash and externals-Sony A500

Close-up modified YongNuo CTR-301P/S wireless flash trigger plus two 18650 externals.

Most people are not aware that Sony bought all the copyrights from Konica-Minolta (K-M) DSLR and SLR programs on the lens mount and other equipment and hence, many lenses and accessories are interchangeable between K-M and Sony. I have a few leftover Minolta lenses from my old film days for future Sony DSLR trail cams. Minolta made some of the finest lenses on the market on par with German Zeiss and Leica. However, the first K-M (Digital Dynax D7 and D5 bodies) were power hogs and a fully charged Lithium battery lasts about two-days on stand-by…!

Sony A500 trail cam 2

Sony A500 in the case.

After Sony took over, power saving was improved and the A500 can last for several weeks. I decided to hack the A500 to take two 18650 – 4.2v Lithium batteries for 8.4v output as externals to increase battery life plus there was enough room in the case for them. However, the original Sony 7.2v battery must be in place for the cam to work with externals..!

SB-28 Flash-Sony A500

Nikon SB-28 and YongNuo CTR-301P/S flash trigger reciever in Tupperware box.

For flash, a YongNuo CTR-301P/S wireless flash trigger for Sony is used along with a Nikon SB-28. The flash trigger transmitter was modified so the body fits in the case as shown. The flash system works very well and the flash, transmitter and two extra 4-AA battery packs all fit in a Tupperware type box. The SB-28 is modified to take regular battery packs putting out 6 volts. I also made up an extra slave flash with a light sensor.

LBK ele' boxes-Sony A500

LBK elephant proof boxes for Sony A500 and Nikon SB-28/YongNuo CTR-301P/S.

The cam and flashes of course have my ‘elephant proof’ aluminum boxes to protect them from the marauding giants and possible theft. I hope to set this cam soon and any photos will be forthcoming…Also, a Sony A700 and a A55 trail cams are one the way…!

Hope this helps anyone with a Sony or Minolta digital camera. A Minolta D7 or D5 would probably need a fairly large SLA battery. However, both make neat trail cams….!!

 

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