Posts Tagged ‘western forest complex’

Botched shutter speed and focus…!

Friday, August 11, 2017 posted by Bruce 1:44 PM

 Two Asian leopards pass-by my Canon 600D

For the most part, I usually catch something interesting on my camera traps in the ‘Western Forest Complex’ of Thailand. This place is one of the last great Asian forests where rare wild cats like leopard and tiger still thrive plus many other cryptic animals like sambar, banteng, gaur and tapir living alongside the predators. It does not matter if the camera was set right or wrong. I still manage to get some good record shots of black and yellow phase leopards at this new location.

A black leopard on my birthday: May 19th at 1.49pm, exposure: 2.5 sec…a lucky catch…!

A yellow phased or spotted leopard on May 28th at 8.13am, exposure: 1/8 sec.

A spotted leopard on June 19th at 2.41pm, exposure: 0.3 sec.

A spotted leopard flashing by on May 28th, exposure: 0.6 sec.

I’m not sure how my 600D jumped from ‘Manual’ over to the ‘Tv’ setting (shutter speed priority) but the answer is obvious. I somehow moved the wheel and did not double check it before closing up the cam. So all the shots had very long exposures hence blurry and out-of-focus images. However, the proof that leopards do thrive at this location is still good news. And the bad news is:

Stolen Nikon D90 DSLR camera trap…!

Nikon D90 trail cam in a PLano box

My first DSLR camera trap; a Nikon D90 and SB400 flash with a Yeti’ board in a clear Plano box…!

After capturing leopards on my Canon 600D, I hated to pull it out but had no choice. When I set the Canon, I also set a Nikon D90 DSLR (shown above) in an ‘elephant proof’ box a little bit further down another well-used trail (about 100 meters away). After I checked the Canon, I went straight to the Nikon but it was gone. Someone had stolen it plus two Nikon SB-28 flashes and a SSII (Snapshotsniper) sensor. The complete rig had been taken including the ‘aluminum housings’ and all the hard-wiring. This is my third camera stolen in this ‘World Heritage Site’…!

I have no idea who it is but one thing for sure; it’s the same group that stole my Bushnell Trophy Cam video and ‘Fireman Jim’ 125 DXG video in another section of the sanctuary earlier this year. It means that someone has the special ‘power-torque’ wrench to open-up the ‘elephant proof’ housings, and a 17mm socket wrench (for the 3/8 X 3″ stainless lag bolts) to remove the aluminum boxes from the trees. The ‘power-torque’ wrench is only available at a few special tool shops in Bangkok, or it was found in the forest where I lost one awhile back. Needless to say, it’s back to the drawing board to beef up security of all my cams. I have a new design that will make it even harder to steal that I will post at a later date…!


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Nikon D700 catches an Indochinese tiger

Saturday, August 5, 2017 posted by Bruce 11:38 PM

A female tiger returns again…!

About five months ago, I set a Nikon D700 DSLR camera trap at a hot spring deep in the interior of the Western Forest Complex of Thailand. I managed to get some nice shots of a female Indochinese tiger as she walked back and forth, and up and down to the mineral seep. I then moved the D700 to another tree close by for a better capture and composition. When I got to my camera last week and checked my files on the Nikon, I almost fell off the log I was sitting on. There she was again but this time with expression, behavior, focus and exposure perfect. This shot is one of my best all time tiger camera trap images….great success at last at this new location…Enjoy…!

Camera: Nikon D700 full-frame body

Lens: Nikon 35mm manual lens (very old)

Sensor: Snap Shot Sniper SSII

Case: Pelican 1150

Box: Aluminum ‘elephant proof’ housings for camera, flashes and sensor

Flashes: Two Nikon SB-28s

Exposure: 1/200th – ƒ5.6 – ISO 400

The first shot in the string…!



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First time DSLR Camera Trap Location

Monday, April 17, 2017 posted by Bruce 3:01 PM

‘Tiger, leopard, tapir, gaur, elephant, sambar and barking deer visit a Nikon D90 camera trap…!

Tiger1 hotspring HKK-web

A female Indochinese tiger camera trapped near a ‘hot spring’ in the ‘Western Forest Complex’ of Thailand…(image cropped)…!

For some twenty years, I have been visiting a natural seep in the Western Forest Complex of Thailand to photograph wildlife that come for important minerals flowing from a rocky formation. It has been extremely rewarding over the years, and I finally decided to set a DSLR camera trap just above the natural hot springs.

Tiger2 hotspring HKK-web

In one frame, this female stepped forward and turned its head because of the flash…!

I knew that tiger and leopard visited this place hunting prey species like muntjac (barking deer), sambar, wild pig and tapir plus other animals such as gaur, banteng and elephant. I chose a trail that is about 4 meters away from the hot spring. I left the cam for almost two months and it was still working when I returned, but flash power had long drained away.

Tiger3 hotspring HKK

Same female tiger back again 2-weeks later at night…!

A female tiger visited first at night on Feb. 14, 2017. She then came back past the cam three times on Feb. 21, again at night passing the camera several times. Then a leopard came by during the daytime on Feb 26th. Other creatures like sambar, muntjac, tapir, gaur and elephant tripped the camera many times during the two-month soak.

Tiger4 hotspring HKK.web

The female once again that night…need to move the cam for future head-on shots…!

Tiger5 hotspring HKK-web

And again making for a very good record of her visit to this cam…!

However, most shots are all butt shots. It looks like they have come to the spring and then walked past my camera going up-hill hence mostly rear-end shots.

Leopard male HKK-web

A male leopard walking past in the morning. Daytime shots of carnivores are rare here…!

I hope to go back here in a week or so where I will be moving the camera with a wide-angle lens for more on-coming shots.

Tapir 1 hotspring HKK

A female tapir in mid-afternoon passing the cam.

Tapir pair hotspring HKK-web

Tapir pair with the male on the left…

I’m also after a black leopard that I have seen here almost twenty years ago and then again recently about two years ago.

Gaur hotspring HKK-web

A young female gaur on the way down to the hot-spring…!

Elephant trunk, tail and legs HKK

Elephant trunk, tail and legs…! These giants always test my ‘elephant proof’ cameras…!

Scruffy sambar yearling HKK

A scruffy sambar yearling at night…!

I was delighted to get this amount of wildlife traffic and look forward to future set-ups’ here…!

Tiger hunter testing Nikon D90 cam

Tiger hunter testing D90

Tiger Hunter testing his Nikon D90 DSLR camera trap…!

PLEASE NOTE: Recently, an American so-called ‘Wildlife NGO’ stole one of my tiger images, cut my name and copyright off the image and published it on their website without any permission to use said image and credit to me. At this time, I’m not sure what course of action I should take. However because of this, I will now be ‘water marking’ through the subject on all of my images for the future with my name as follows: © L. Bruce Kekulé

I thought that an American NGO would be honest and sincere about © copyright…but that is not the case as proof of theft has been recorded and action is being taken against this NGO and its CEO. 








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My favorite Asian leopard shot…!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 posted by Bruce 8:43 PM

After several years of working my Nikon D700 trail cam, this shot stands out as my best overall leopard shot. These carnivores are quite common where I work in the ‘Western Forest Complex’ of Thailand but daytime shots are rare. Unfortunately,  the ‘tiger log’ is now gone (burnt-up in the last ‘fire’ season) and I’m still looking for a good replacement…but I have a few in mind….!! He’s a big mature male Asian wild cat…Enjoy…!

Asian leopard crossing 'tiger log'


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After a few years of DSLR camera trapping in the Western Forest Complex of Thailand, I have finally chosen an image of a male Indochinese tiger caught one afternoon at 4.41pm that is my all-time favorite. For this location, I built a Canon 600D with an old Nikon 50mm manual lens incorporating an adapter (Nikon to Canon) in a Pelican 1150 case with an external Snapshotsniper SS II sensor on a 10-meter hardwire, and two SB28s in Tupperware® style boxes also on 10-meter hardwires. This mature tiger was out hunting when he passed the cam and the manual settings were ISO 400; ƒ8; 1/100 sec. and this shot was the last in a string of six. Enjoy…!

indochinese tiger male - Canon 600D

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Creatures in Thailand’s Western Forest Complex – Part One

Friday, March 4, 2016 posted by Bruce 11:07 PM

Video footage of Thailand’s rare carnivores including tiger, leopard, bear and wild dog. Most of this footage is recent..!

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A male tiger caught by Canon 400D

Monday, November 2, 2015 posted by Bruce 4:10 PM

I recently set-up my other Canon 400D-#2 near the front gate of the sanctuary I’m working in. This is somewhere in the Western Forest Complex of Thailand (sorry; I don’t pin-point locations of my cameras anymore as these big cats are in really big demand for the black market, and location could put them in serious jeopardy). The camera is pointed a bit high and will need to be re-adjusted. I am going there in a couple of days before my trip to India and will take care of that then. Also, this is one of the research team’s collared tigers, and they know him well. I always give the sanctuary chief pertinent information and photos with date and time, and he passes it on to the researchers for their records…! The home range of the Indochinese tiger is about 250 square kilometers that has been well documented by them. I’m not against research; just not too fond of radio collars and sometimes I wonder how much data they really require or need. There are something like eight tigers collared here (both males and females). I have captured several tigers that keep coming around on this trail in their never-ending search for a meal. I have also caught a black leopard at this same location…! Enjoy.

A male tiger with a collar not too far from the main gate in the sanctuary…!

10/13/2015 – 2:08 AM – 1/80 sec;   f/8;   ISO 400…!

Male tiger with collar in HKK, Western Forest Complex, Thailand

Male tiger with collar in HKK, Western Forest Complex, Thailand


Another tiger captured last year on my Sony A500 trail cam at the same location-opposite side…!

9/17/2014 – 10:26 PM – 1/80 sec;   f/8;   ISO 400…!

A500 tiger male with collar

A500 tiger male with collar


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Male Leopard crosses 'tiger log'

A male leopard crosses ‘tiger log’ on 8/26/2015 – 1:26 AM

Yellow-throated martin on 'tiger log'

A yellow-throated marten in the afternoon on ‘tiger log’ on 9/4/2015 – 11:09 AM…!

This is my latest camera trap pull: a male leopard at night and a yellow-throated marten in the daytime captured by a Nikon D700 trail camera in the ‘Western Forest Complex’ of Thailand on my ‘tiger log’…! Enjoy…!

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A black and yellow phase leopard caught on trail cam

After the dry season when the first monsoon rains arrived here in Thailand this year, I decided to go back to my old stomping grounds where tigers, leopards and other Asian species travel back and forth down a wildlife trail deep in the Western Forest Complex of Thailand. Last year, a bull gaur charged me not too far from this location and it still brings shivers down my spine when I look back on that incident. However, it is one of my favorite sites to catch the denizens of the Thai forest on camera traps.

Spotted leopard caught in the afternoon.

Leopard male in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary

A couple months ago, I pulled out my first DSLR trail cam that had been rumbling around in my truck for sometime. It’s a Canon 400D with a Nikon 50mm manual lens that uses an external hard-wired SSII (Snapshotsniper) sensor and three hard-wired Nikon SB-28 flashes. The camera is housed in a Pelican 1150 encased in one of my ‘elephant proof’ aluminum boxes and firmly bolted to a tree just by the trail. When I set the cam, it was pointing a bit high and the framing was off. Of course I did not notice it at the time of installation. I recently posted somewhere that sometimes if takes a little experimentation and adjustment to get the composition just right. This is one of those times…!

Black leopard caught in the morning.


The cam has been on that tree for almost two months now, and I decided to go and service it. A female muntjac (barking deer) had passed but on August 22nd at 3.40pm, a yellow phase leopard passed the Canon that ripped off six quick shots. Then on August 28th at 8.26am, a black leopard got caught going the other way and tripped the cam for another 6-shots. Funny enough, both cats are males. For some reason, the flashes were not powerful enough and the images of the black leopard are underexposed with loads of noise. I have tweaked them a bit but they are what they are; good record shots.

Common red muntjac or barking deer female

A female on the run…!

I have re-adjusted the cam for better framing and put in another flash near the sensor down low (switched to radio flash triggers). Hopefully that will lighten things up a bit in the target area. Replaced the batteries, card and desiccant, and tested the system. Seems to be working OK. This highway in the forest should produce more mammals as they go about their daily lives. I now have four DSLRs working in this forest: a Nikon D700 at the ‘tiger log’ and a Nikon D90 just up the trail a bit, plus another Canon 400D at another location and then this Canon. Hope to get one of my Canon 600Ds and a couple Sony DSLRs going soon with different locations and composition. Enjoy…!

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Male leopard crosses ‘tiger log’…!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 posted by Bruce 7:05 PM

Last month, I had a hamburger at a joint close to my house up-north in Thailand. The next day, I was admitted to hospital with a ‘acute’ food poisoning. It has taken almost a month to get back to normal, hence not much camera trap work from my end. However, I finally got to my only Nikon D700 DSLR trail camera and got a pleasant surprise.

A male leopard (can just see his family jewels) crossing my ‘tiger log’…this is in the ‘Western Forest Complex’ of Thailand…! Daytime shots of leopard are rare for the most part but it does happen here where I work from time to time…Enjoy…!

Camera settings: 1/160 sec;   f/8;   ISO 400

Nikon D700 – Nikon 35mm manual lens – Two Nikon SB-28 flashes – SSII external sensor

Asian leopard crossing 'tiger log' in Huai Kha Khaeng, western Thailand

Asian leopard crossing ‘tiger log’ in Huai Kha Khaeng, western Thailand

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