Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foggy wet morning on the pond

This Hooded Merganser picture was taken several weeks ago on a foggy morning. The lighting was nice and showed off the colors quite well. Sometimes a cloudy day is better than the bright sunlight for photos around the water.

I was hoping to show some bear photos crossing the log and digging in the rotten log, but missed the photos because the bear hit the camera on the tree aimed at the rotten log and turned the external switch off. The camera survived but was scratched up some. The bear crossed the walk log also, but I had forgotten to turn the camera on after making sure it was re-aimed for a larger animal.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quest for Turkey Vulture photos

Starting to work my way in on a close Turkey Vulture photo. I started out by finding several rock bluffs where I have seen them resting, getting a few photos and then slowly moving the cameras closer.

This rock pinnacle shows the bird well but the bird droppings or should I say the runs on the side of the rock take away from the photo.

I've moved them closer and hope within a week to have several more photos.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Log setup over a creek for a bear

I'm getting an early start for bears hoping to get photos of young cubs with mama. I saw bear tracks leading to and crossing this log that's about 10 feet above a small creek, it's really brushy in this area so the trails are the only path to follow.

Well, I'm not suprised that a raccoon crossed the log because of the creek, but not sure why a rabbit would cross the log and not much food for it in the young fir trees.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New sensor board gives life to the Olympus 380 Camera

I always liked the Olympus 380 cameras and used them for some of my game cameras, they are fast and good quality out to 15 to 20 feet. That's close to the limit on flash distance at night but I normally don't set my cameras much farther from the animal. I have been testing a new sensor board that is smaller and very good where I can get the 380 into a smaller case.

This camera is low in price and takes good pictures but the card does cost more. Here's a photo during the day of a bobcat on a foggy morning along the edge of a pond. It's only a 2.1 meg camera but does very well for the price.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moved a few trail cameras to bear country

I pulled most of my game cameras away from the ponds and moved them into a new area for bear. Was mainly looking for a wallow or good foraging location, they need a lot of food this time of the year, also looking for some young cub pictures.

I found a nice log where a bear had torn up looking for bugs, there was only one alder tree opposite the log to hang my camera on and I noticed small claw marks where a new cub had climbed the tree. From the size of the claw marks it had to be very small.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tips for game camera photos of ducks

I have thousands of duck pictures on ponds and one thing I have learned is to photograph the ducks less than 8 feet from the camera. Seems anything farther, like over open water doesn't show the duck well enough. You also need some colorful background, both can be achieved by setting the camera on a narrow channel by the main pond. I never use bait for any animal including ducks, because I like a natural look as they swim past the camera. Lighting is another big problem, I do my best to get good lighting but I have an advantage in Washington where it is mostly cloudy and overcast to reduce the bright sunlight.

A hen woodduck with the log 6 feet from the camera using an Olympus 380.

A goose swimming between two ponds using a narrow channel. Not easy to stay dry while making these setups and the risk is great of dew getting on the lens, but well worth the few good photos you are able to obtain.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hikers and Hunters vs trail cameras

I leave my trail cameras out all year on land open to the public and so far the hikers and hunters have been kind to my cameras. Sometimes even having some fun with them. This turkey hunter saw the flash as he walked past, but the camera was very low with a 10 second delay.

He stopped and looked around to find where the flash came from but didn't look down at the bottom af an alder tree where the camera was hidden in some moss. Just started to walk away and the flash got him again.

This time he turned and waited longer to find the camera when the flash went off.

Kind of like candid camera in the woods and he did take a few moments to trigger the camera with a thumbs up.

The camera was aimed low for animals crossing between the river and a small creek.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How to judge the speed of a trail camera

Everyone talks about the speed of a trail or game camera and it's a big selling point with commercial cameras, but what does speed mean. When is the starting point of the speed to begin, we know the end is with the photo taken, but how about the start. Some tests show people walking from side to side and they claim that it's how far you get into the photo shows how fast the camera setup really works. That may be true in some situations but how about walking straight toward the camera slowly, how close can you get without a photo taken? Most sensors need side to side motion to work the best and thats the best selling point. I like to believe that the time starts with how fast the sensor pics up the heat and motion to send the signal to the camera. I can always adjust the speed by using different cameras after the signal from the sensor. From the Sony P41 (1 to 1.5 seconds) Sony 32 (1.5 to 2 seconds) to the Sony S600 ( 2 to 3 seconds)

I have a different method by using the real world and its animals to do my testing. I then am able to adjust my camera and sensors for top performance, plus I am able to buy any type of sensor board available for my needs. On many of my locations I don't want or need speed, as with beaver chewing on a tree or showing them doing some type of activity. These locations need a little more time for the animal to be in front of the camera before a photo is taken, as in the photo of the beaver eating the bark off the log. I taped up the water side of the sensor lens on the outside of the camera to allow time for the beaver to get in the center for a better picture.

So speed is great but for some types of animal studies you need to improvise to match the animal.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Woodduck study .. do ducks have dominate wings

I set a trail camera in a very close setup, overlooking a small pond area, to get pictures to see if ducks always overlap their wings the same way when swimming or setting. After 200 photos of the hen woodduck, while swimming and after coming back up from diving, it appears to be random. I was hoping to see a dominate wing overlap after diving and using their wings to swim under water. I made sure from the photos it was the same duck for the test.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dancing Castor canadensis

What some animals will do for buck. A nice smile, a shy follow me look for the camera. This beaver must think this camera is for an audition in a movie. I might be a fool, but I left a dollar bill on a branch so it might come back for another dance.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Woodducks on a dinner date .. true love

Wish I would have had a video of what happened after the male woodduck came back to the surface. The hen sure looks calm or she's waiting to catch him on the suface for a lecture. I could just see the difference if a man took a lady out for dinner and he splashes potatoes and gravy all over her, sorry honey but this is the way I eat.