Posts Tagged ‘infrared camera-trapping’
A series of images captured with a Sony S600 camera trap
A black leopard in mid-afternoon on a trail to a hotspring in Huai Kha Khaeng (cropped).
It is now late April in the forest of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, my favorite-place in Thailand. The first rains have come and doused the dangerous forest fires that spread through the sanctuary during the dry hot season starting in March.
Full frame shot of the leopard.
As usual, I’m setting-up camera traps at various mineral deposits (natural seeps) around a ranger station deep in the interior accessible only by a dirt road. These waterholes are visited by all the large mammals including tiger and leopard, and provide excellent opportunities for some great animal shots.
An Asian tapir passes by.
As I was going through a few of my old camera traps changing out cards and batteries, I decided to have a quick look at a 2GB card that was in my Sony S600/SSI/1020, one of my first cams using a Pelican box.
A young ‘tusker’ on the trail showing off.
Imagine my surprise to see a shot of a ‘black leopard’ in mid-afternoon walking on the trail. Other denizens caught include elephant, tapir, sambar, wild pig and muntjac (barking deer) over a month period back in February to early March of this year. The cam recorded some 400 images mostly elephants and sambar. It truly was a bonus and I actually closed out the program with this cam.
Sambar stag on the trail.
I actually forgot to download the card and if I had formatted it, only a recovery program could have got them back as long as I had not filled the card with other images. Been there done that…!
Another sambar stag checking out my cam.
The black leopard brought back fond memories of this place more than 15 years ago. I was sitting in a tree blind up by the hot springs when a black leopard walked in about 4pm and posed for me at several places for over an hour.
My first black leopard in the late afternoon sun showing its spots.
The mature cat up at the hot springs.
My leopard posing on a fallen tree.
These were in the old days of slide film, and I did not know how good the shots were until the film was processed. Here are a few images from that lucky sequence many years ago.
The morel of this story: Make sure you double-check and download all your cards before formatting, or you may loose some valuable images like I almost did…!
Some other images from this set:
A very young elephant checking out the cam.
Looks like the bigger elephant lost part of its tail.
A youngish elephant on the trail.
Same elephant checking out the cam.
A sambar stag feeding on grass.
A mature sambar stag.
A young sambar stag.
Another spike stag with blotches.
And yet another spike stag.
A sambar doe.
Sambar doe close-up.
A wild pig in the late afternoon.
A muntjac (barking deer) early in the morning.
The ‘tiger hunter’ after setting the cam.
Indochinese tiger in Huai Kha Khaeng
Last year in March 2012, I did a post on a DSLR Canon 400D with three wireless Canon 270 flashes (http://camtrapper.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5369). After months of failure, wrong settings and bad luck, I was at wit’s end. I set the cam in the forest but it would only work for a day or two and go dead. After consultations with TRLcam, I finally got the settings right. Then an elephant bashed in the snorkel and rainwater destroyed the cam, board and flash trigger. It was a mess and that Canon is now in my camera graveyard…!
Elephants on the trail
Fortunately, I had another Canon, a 350D that was working well with a Yeticam board with an EOS chip I got from Mark at Yeticam.com. As both cameras are about the same size, the slightly smaller one fits perfectly in the aluminum box with a Canon 18-55mm lens. All new components were replaced and I finally set the cam on my ‘new trail’ on Feb.3 and got back to it on March 31st.
Imagine my surprise when I viewed the files and saw a tiger had passed and two flashes worked. I also got elephant, gaur and black bear but not before an elephant bashed the snorkel again. Fortunately, it did not rain this time and the cam and components are fine. Amazingly, the cam took some 500 images but most are black because of no flash power that had run out about two weeks into the stint.
It’s back to the drawing board on the snorkel and increased battery packs (2 ‘C’ or ‘D’ cells) for the flashes. Due to the extremely dry season and forest fire, I have just pulled all my cams until the first rains arrive.
Busted camera damaged by elephants
I agree with TRLcam and a few others that a new forum should be set-up for DSLR camera traps as they are truly in a class of their own. Enjoy.
DSLR Canon 350D set-up
A neat trail cam: Sony P41/Snapshotsniper SS board/Pelican 1040/2 AA externals by Trails End
Last week, I visited my old buddy Suthad Sappu, a forest ranger in Kaeng Krachan National Park down in southwest Thailand along the border with Burma. We worked together along the Phetchaburi River deep in the interior of the park for some 10 years back during the 90s, and we got many tigers and leopards on camera trap plus loads of other cryptic creatures like elephant, tapir, gaur, bear (both species), fishing cat, banded palm civet, banded linsang and many more.
As we were chit chatting over dinner and drinks about our favorite subject, camera trapping, Suthad pulled out a very nice camera trap from his bag. It is a homebrew that was made up by ‘Trails End’ using a Sony P41/Snapshotsniper SS board/Pelican 1040/2 AA externals. It is very well built and looks new, and is unused. The case and eyebolts are dipped in a woodland type camouflage.
He says I can have it if I can get it working. Took me a few minutes with some fresh batteries and reset the date on the Sony. Flipped the toggle switch down and it fired up, and was working normally in a few minutes. I said thank you very much and smiled.
He has two more and I said I could get them going too. Does anybody know who ‘Trails End’ is and are they still in business? They certainly do very good work. I’ll be taking this cam along with a Bushnell Trophy Cam to India on April 3rd after tiger. The lodge I’m staying is reported to have leopards walking through the camp. Can’t wait to get there.
Some days are better than others….especially when a nice trail cam comes your way for free…!
Odd-toed ungulates and other fauna in Western Thailand
Some 40 million years ago, the tapir evolved and was found on many continents including North America. These creatures are now thriving in only two areas of the world: Southeast Asia has one species and South America three. The Asian tapir is the largest and have a very distinct two-tone black and white color pattern that acts like natural camouflage, especially at night where the black breaks up its outline. These odd-toed ungulates are now becoming quite rare due to poaching for their meat, and encroachment in tapir habitat.
A young tapir with a distinct ear marking on a wildlife trail
Another more mature tapir a week later
A female tapir at another cam
Other animals caught in this series include elephants, gaur, sambar stag and doe, wild pig, sun bear, porcupine and red jungle fowl.
Elephants pose for the cam
These creatures were camera trapped using three homebrew cams: a Sony P43/BFOutdoors/1040/C externals, a Sony S600/BFOutdoors/1040/C externals and a Sony S600/Yeticam/alloy box.
Gaur also came through
These cams were setup by a wildlife trail and a waterhole deep in the interior of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary and left for one month during January to February 2013.
Sambar stag and doe
This place is simply amazing with Asian forest ecosystems thriving today that once almost completely covered most of Thailand. In one century, humans have overcome most of the country except for a few places.
Asiatic sun bear
Throughout the Kingdom, the once large tracts of forests are now sliced-up and wildlife has disappeared. Huai Kha Khaeng remains the shinning star of Thailand’s natural legacy going back to the dinosaurs and before…!
Sambar at a waterhole
Red jungle fowl
I now have setup my Canon 350D DSLR with three flashes on this trail. I’m hoping for some good shots with this rig and will be posting these sometime at the end of March.
A camera trap’s final stint at a fox den in Amboseli National Park, southern Kenya
Bat-eared fox cub in its den
I took a Sony S40/Plano 1449/SSII/4 double AA externals to southern Kenya in December 2012 to be used in quick set-ups with minimum security (no Python locking cable) mainly to be used by the side of the road. The first location was Amboseli National Park near Mount Kilimanjaro where I captured a rare carnivore: a whole den of bat-eared foxes.
Bat-eared fox adult just outside its den
As me and my driver/guide Patrick Njoroge were on game drive, we noticed two adult foxes running away from their den that was about 10 feet from the road. I got some nice shots of the adults in great light. I decided to leave the cam overnight in some rocks near the ground as the site looked promising.
The other mature fox in the afternoon
While setting up the cam, I heard the pups in the den and one of them actually barked at me. I sat in the truck and waited, and in a few minutes a young one popped its head out shown in the lead photo. I had a great time shooting the little carnivore with my Nikon D3s/600mm.
Fox family checking out the S40
We left shortly thereafter so as not to disturb them and let the home-brew do its work. That night, two adults and four cubs were caught by the S40. The next morning I was elated to see that this family was surviving in Amboseli. I downloaded everything from the card immediately. It’s a good thing I did too…!
Getting closer and not afraid of the flash
Later that day we moved to Tsavo West National Park situated east where I previously had set-up a Bushnell Trophy Cam at a waterhole deep in the park. With no cable, the S40 attached with tape was vulnerable but I thought who would steal a cam way out here. Boy, was that ever a big mistake. That night, a hyena came and took the S40, and the Bushnell recorded it all as seen on my previous post ‘Bad Hyena Night’.
Even the cubs are not afraid
It’s hard to believe an African hyena would actually take my cam. Somehow, the creature must have been attracted to the salt residue left by my hands is the only explanation I have. The next morning on our way out, we looked around but could not find it. We left but I accepted the fact the S40 was gone but it had done a brilliant job of catching the foxes and that was that…!
My favorite S40 shot
I wonder where the S40 is now? Could it be down the hyenas den still tripping? Is it a chew-thing for the hyena cubs? I will never know.
Sony S40 camera trap set in rocks by the road at bat-eared fox den
The moral of this story; whenever you can, always download your card or you could loose a lot….!
This is what happens when you get lax….or was it just an oversight…? Needless to say, I lost my great little Sony S40 cam in a Plano 1449 and SSII with double AA externals to some tenacious hyenas. It was a great little cam and took good photos. And yes, it was the S40 hacked by Joe 12-Ringer I won in last year’s camera trap competition held by Camtrapper.com. I took this homebrew to Kenya as a quick-setup cam mainly to be used by the side of the road and hence, there was no ‘Python’ locking cable. Unfortunately, I also lost a whole bunch of photos that the cam took because I used some sticky tape to hold it in position above a Bushnell Trophy Cam. The rest is history.
PS: I do have two spare S40s with boxes and sensor boards that will be built some time in the near future. They are great little cams…!
A Bushnell Trophy Cam set to video (IR capture at night) catches mega-fauna at night (wild elephant, gaur, banteng, sambar and Indochinese tiger) walking up a game trail in the heart of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, a World Heritage Site situated in Western Thailand. Interestingly, a female tiger fitted with a radio collar is caught twice during the one month stint. All these animals are thriving very well in this amazing protected area, and is a tribute to Thailand’s natural heritage.
Homebrew video trail camera and commercial back-up:
Early this year, I acquired a Go Pro Hero 2 wanting to build a daytime HD video cam for a certain tree and a long soak at my favorite workplace; Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Thailand.
I also had a 2011 Bushnell Trophy Cam ‘Bone Collector’ that takes quite decent IR clips, and would set it up next to the Go Pro. The Bushnell could also be used as a security cam set to video watching over the Go Pro from a hidden position.
Visited by tiger and leopard, a huge tree at a mineral deposit deep in the forest is perfect for these cams. A myriad of other species also come down to this waterhole during the daytime like wild cattle, bears and deer, and is a sure bet for some good videos, specially during the dry season coming up.
The first order of business was what case would I use. While shopping at an outdoor supply company, I found a unique Pelican i1015 meant for an iPhone or iPod with a stereo plug inside the case with an external jack. The Go Pro and SSII board fit with room to spare. A 40.5mm UV filter and HPWA lens are attached to the case with ‘Goop’.
I also wanted an external power source and picked up a 12v SLA #UB1208p battery that fits perfectly in an Otter 1000 case. Being modular would allow different external power supplies to be used. I cut the wire in the i1015 and attached it with ‘Goop’ to the battery case. Alternative externals can be 3 18650 4.2v lithiums.
In the meantime, I sent the camera to fellow Camtrapper.com member ‘TRLcam’ to be hacked, and then visited Gary at Snapshotsniper in Oklahoma where I purchased a few of his excellent SSII boards programmed for the Go Pro.
After consultations with TRL, a 12v to 5v USB adapter was used as the easiest way to connect the 12v battery to the Go Pro.
Everything was put together and I made up an ‘elephant proof’ aluminum box with 8mm ‘power torque’ machine screws designed for the Pelican in the horizontal position, and the Otter in the vertical position. Another box was built for the Bushnell.
3D camo is made up using industrial black silicon sealant and painted with several shades of camouflage in khaki, green and brown using bamboo leaves. Simple but effective.
Security will be four 3/8” X 3” stainless lag bolts and two ‘Python’ 3/8″ locking cables for the Go Pro, and two lags and two 5/16″ cables for the Bushnell.
Both cams will be set in a week or so, and ‘setup’ and videos will be forthcoming.
I would like to thank TRLcam for his help and advice, and to Gary for the boards.
Hope this helps those interested in building a Go Pro. I might make-up an IR unit at a later date to work in parallel with this one but will have to study the components and plans first. They certainly are great little cameras…!
The Go Pro attached to the Snapshotsniper SSII board will not work without the following modification:
A PN2222 resistor and a 10K transistor installed as shown is required to control the Go Pro.
This series of camera trap images of a young tigress was collected in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary with a Sony W55 homebrew trail cam during May of this year. This particular tiger does not seem bothered by the flash and I have caught her several times prior to this set. Some animals don’t mind flash while others do. I have a tiger on video growling and back-tracking after seeing the red-LEDs on a Bushnell Trophy Cam. I tend to believe it all depends on the individual animal.
Note the wound on her left flank and ticks in her ears.
All images by a Sony S600/S40 camera trap
Wild Asian elephant herd checking out my camera trap
The toughest test of a camera trap in Thailand’s forest is being attacked by the awesome power of a wildlife elephant. These huge beast are very inquisitive and will check-out anything that catches their eye. Camera traps are of special interest and depending on how tight the cam is on the tree, these giants will try to rip it off. The following sequence was captured last month.
Mother elephant and baby
Elephant’s rear end
Female elephant showing tushes
Elephant’s muddy foot
Another ‘mud paw’
They tried in vain to get my cam off but it was so low, they could not get any leverage so they just used their muddy ‘paws’ but failed. However, the lens and sensor were covered in mud after this. The last few shots show what an elephant’s foot looks like…!
This shot of a very old, old banteng bull with a damaged pair of testicles was earlier on the same setup before the elephants. No telling what happened to this poor guy. He was probably evading a predator and scratched em’ on a stick while bolting through the forest. There are big tigers here that go after the old bulls…!
This bull is very old judging from the hang on the dang….!