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Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Near Miss

I made a trek into the Wind River area in Washington to do some scouting for an idea that has been percolating for a while. I am specifically looking for large, old logs that have fallen across streams to become natural bridges. Wouldn't it be interesting to see what kind of animals use these crossings, especially when the water is tumultuous? For this purpose I brought along a remote camera that would photograph any creature that made the crossing, and I left in place for 22 days to see what kind of activity I could photograph.

These images are not particularly good, but they give me some interesting ideas about how I might approach the project. I was surprised at the number of small creatures that used the log. I have combined two separate images, to show this rabbit and bushy-tailed woodrat in transit. I also have numerous images of tiny deer mice running along the log as well.

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I was especially surprised by the appearance of a mountain lion on these frames. Again, these are not great photos by any means, but I love the idea of a wild mountain lion, also called a cougar, puma and panther – crossing a stream called 'Panther Creek'. The cat jumped onto the log from the stream bank, and I assume he just sauntered across in search of deer. I am always thrilled when I photograph a wild mountain lion because they are so secretive, and so rarely photographed in the wild

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Too bad I got the back-end, otherwise it might have been an interesting shot!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Remote underwater camera

I had an idea recently, while observing steelhead trout jump up a waterfall, that it would be cool to put a camera in the water and capture some images from a unique perspective. Usually in this situation, one simply puts a camera in a marine housing and gets in the water to snap a few shots.

However, the water was too swift and too shallow for this to work, and the presence of a person in the water would likely scare the fish off for a quite a while.

My idea was to put a camera in a water proof box on an extension arm with a video feed from the viewfinder of the camera and a remote hand control to trigger the camera. In this manner I could observe the video screen and snap the camera whenever a fish came into view. Sounds like a solid idea to me. Does anyone make such a contraption? No.

So I built my own. And it works!

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A local fish hatchery let me test it out in a pool with rainbow trout fry. Easy targets for sure, but I simply wanted to test the function of the camera and see if everything worked. I could clearly observe the fish in the camera viewfinder, and easily trigger the shutter when a good shot happened. Cool!

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I am excited to have this interesting tool in my bag of tricks.

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Details About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
Husband, Father, Student Of Natural History, Photographer