Sunday, September 6, 2009

Camera Traps–Self Portraits for Shy Beasts

Photo copyright Steve Winter/National Geographic
For elusive, shy and remote wildlife, camera traps often prove to be the ultimate solution for photographing these species. In the past couple of years improvements in trap technology, coupled with more efficient lighting and strobe systems, have allowed for some absolutely incredible moments to be captured that would have previously been impossible.

Those of us who follow photographers who utilize camera traps will undoubtedly be familiar with the brilliant work of National Geographic's Michael Nichols. His images of forest elephants in Ndoki are truly amazing. Nichols' ground breaking work has been followed up by a new generation of wildlife photographers including fellow ILCP member Carlton Ward, Jr. and fellow NG shooter Steve Winter, whose snow leopard images from the Afghan mountains created quite a bit of media buzz last year. One image in the series won the 2008 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. In my humble opinion, these are some of the most beautiful trap-made images to date.

One of my favorite new series of images is by Joe Riis, an emerging member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) who has recently received praise and excellent exposure for the images that he has made of migrating pronghorn antelope in the American West. Because of his keen understanding of the antelope's migration patterns and and his ability to utilize camera traps on the fly, he has been able to make a series of images illustrating this ancient occurrence for the first time in history.

For anyone interested in learning more about the "how-to" side of camera trap photography, I would recommend a visit to the blog Camera Trap Codger, which has a lot of useful info for the beginner!

No comments: