My Inspiration: I begin a journey into DSLR camera trapping!
For the last few years, I have been in awe of some of the incredible DSLR camera trap from a range of British wildlife photographers and those working on the more elusive animals found in remote places all over the world. Being a keen Bushnell trailcam user, I have always thought I would like to have a go at camera trapping with my ‘proper’ camera.
If you are not familiar with this technique, it is well worth taking a look at some of the inspirational UK photographers that are using this technique with incredible results. I have chosen two photographers who I have met and have followed over the last few years. It is their work that has inspired me to finally take the plunge and have a go myself!
There are many more great photographers out there capturing stunning DSLR camera trap images, but I love the fact that these 2 guys do most of their work here in the UK.
Check out Jamie’s website HERE
Completely self-taught, Jamie has closely followed other notable photographers in order to gain inspiration on methodology, but Jamie is noted as being an innovative and unique photographer. The inventive images that Jamie pursues have resulted in him winning the Urban Wildlife category of the British Wildlife Photography Awards in 2013, featuring urban deer on a housing estate in a London suburb. No other stills photographer had attempted to capture the unusual behaviour of these usually elusive animals before this, and taking this series of pictures resulted in a momentous effort of travelling to and from Leicester every other night over a three week period – all whilst he was still employed.
At the start of 2014, Jamie was approached to feature in a series of photos for a feature in a series of Come and See videos for Canon as a result of previous work and being a Canon user. They also commissioned him to take a series of photos for a future advertising campaign, released later this year (2014).
These days, Jamie concentrates much of his time on using the DSLR camera trap concept to capture normal behaviour in a variety of species – a technique which is usually used as a research tool to gather information. Jamie has already gained quick notoriety for his camera trap photography, winning the British Wildlife category in the BBC Wildlife Camera Trap competition in 2013 and again in 2014.
Check out Richard’s website HERE
Richard Peters is a UK based professional photographer and Nikon Ambassador, with a style that often favours dramatic light and contrast. Through capturing a combination of mood, tones and atmosphere within his wildlife images, Richard’s work has been awarded internationally including twice in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year plus, in 2015, being named the GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Alongside his striking images Richard also hosts talks which have included venues such as the London Natural History Museum, regularly writes articles for the UK’s leading photographic press and has had work displayed around the world in joint and solo exhibitions, from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC to London’s Brick Lane.
Finally, I can’t go without mentioning Will Burrard Lucus
Will is another British photographer who produces mind-glowingly amazing images , mostly in Africa. Will is not only an amazing photographer but he is well known for his innovative and creative ways of using technology to capture his award winning images. You can check out Will’s website HERE
It is Will’s ‘Camtraptions’ kit that I am using for my foray into the world of DSLR camera trapping.
You can see Will’s Camtraptions Website HERE
I am a professional wildlife photographer from the UK. I aim to use innovation and technology to achieve fresh perspectives in my work. I am the founder of Camtraptions, a company specialising in products for remote and camera trap photography, and WildlifePhoto.com, a website which offers a range of educational resources and safaris for photographers.
Back in 2009, I was unable to find products that would allow me to achieve my vision, so I started to develop my own devices for getting my camera close to potentially dangerous wild animals. This led to the creation of BeetleCam, a remote-control buggy for my DSLR camera. I have since also developed my own DSLR camera trap system for photographing shy and nocturnal animals.
I enjoy photographing wildlife all over the world but African wildlife has become my primary focus in recent years. I spent part of my childhood in Tanzania, where I first developed a passion for Africa and its wildlife. In 2012, I moved to Zambia for a year and I spent much of my time exploring the Luangwa Valley.
So, the easy bit is looking at other people’s work and feeling suitably inspired to have a go…. but where do you start?
I started by purchasing the Camtraptions PIR motion sensor. This basically triggers my camera when an animal is detected.
Since the PIR sensor has quite a wide field of view and I wanted it to only trigger when a bird alighted in a specific area, I created a little box with a toilet roll tube to narrow the beam to a specific area. I covered it in a waterproof camo tape.
I set up a little feeding station on a log in the garden. Having bought an extension to the trigger cable, I was able to pop the sensor in front of the log and ran the cable back into the conservatory, where I set up my camera, with the 100-400mm lens on. This distance meant that the shutter was less likely to frighten the wildlife. I tested it numerous times by placing my hand on the log. I set the camera on manual focus so it would not ‘search’ for the subject. The deteriorating light meant I could not get the shutter speed and depth of focus I wanted, but it would be a good starter.
I didn’t have to wait long and the robin came came down, perched briefly and triggered the camera… I had my first camera trap image!
I continued to experiment for about an hour, but it started to rain and the light levels dropped, but here are a selection of images captured.
Nothing special, photographically, but it feels like a massive step to just set it up and begin to capture some images! I am very excited about the immense potential this method of photography holds. With all the wonderful wildlife I am lucky enough to have here and at Yew View, I am determined to persevere over the next year to see what I can achieve.
Added to this, I have found very few female photographers really exploring the potential of this wonderful technology… I just can’t wait to have another go tomorrow!