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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 12:25 pm 
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The feeling of accomplishment is the best part of building a ‘homebrew’ trail cam and then sharing the photos with others. I am extremely lucky to be working in a place that is one of the top tiger reserves in the world, and is extremely productive for camera trapping. It is not only the tigers, but also other predators like leopard, wild dog and jackal, and their prey species such as deer, pig and wild cattle that make Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary truly special.

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W55/Otter 2000/SSII/3 AAs trail cam setup on a fallen tree.

When I first built this unit, I had one fallen tree across a trail in mind and it proved to be the right choice. I designed the cam to slip the 10mm ‘Python’ locking cable around the horizontal log. One of the first animals to jump over was a mature male leopard several nights after the setup. This frame filling shot is what I was hoping for.

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Male leopard caught at night with the W55.

Several nights later, a tiger went over and the W55 caught its rear end as it disappeared down the trail. A female muntjac (barking deer) was also caught. This was after only a 15-day soak and shows the tremendous biodiversity of this amazing place. This unit definitely worked as designed: to scout a game trail with a low-down set-up.

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Leopard caught again going down the trail.

The next order of business now is to build a Nikon ML-3 ‘active-infrared’ controlled SLR Nikon F5 film camera using Fuji Provia 400 ISO slide film, and a Nikon D2x DSLR and both can fire five shots a second in ‘continuous mode’ with several wireless SB600s or SB28s. These two cameras are my old prime camera bodies that I have kept over the years (they were really expensive), and I have resurrected them for this project. The Nikon D2x is now in the Nikon shop for an overhaul but will be finished real soon.

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Tiger caught a few nights later.

My main objective is to catch the cats making the jump. I will eventually be installing both units close together on either side of this log about a meter or so away from the trail. The sensors need to be slightly angled away so as to activate them a bit early. Both cameras will be using an 18-35mm wide-angle lens (the zoom setting of the lens will be adjusted when installed) and that should help to catch these quick-acting animals. The units have to be precise and fast, and fire off a good string of shots with several flashes.

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Female muntjac (barking deer) caught early one morning.

The only negative aspect with active infrared at night; the first shot will not trip the flash but follow up shots will be OK. But I can also hard wire a flash for each cam with a sync-cable in conjunction with the wireless flashes and that should be enough. I will also experiment with a ‘passive infrared’ system that can wake-up the flashes in time for the shot. However, this is a hit and miss situation whereas active infrared is usually spot on and will trip immediately after the beam is broken.

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Muntjac probably spooked by the lens extending and flash.

The system will be modular so sensors and camera are separate, and they will be ‘plug and play’ units. That’s the plan anyway for this absolutely amazing wildlife game trail. I have all the parts ready; just finding time to put it all together is the next trick.

Got a very busy schedule with this trip to Africa and one to the States on May 24th. But I will be getting the SLR and DSLR camera traps up and running shortly after getting back to Thailand, and of course will post these builds. Most important: they have to be ‘elephant proof’ but I have that covered as usual.

Posted from Tsavo National Park, southern Kenya, Africa

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 9:17 pm 
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Nice pics...look forward to the action shots.

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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 2:46 am 
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wolvenkinde wrote:
Nice pics...look forward to the action shots.


Wolvenkinde,

Thanks...yeah, this place rocks..! and this is not the only trail in this area...there are many....that lead to the waterhole and mineral deposit. Many species come to this important site. More to follow and thanks again.

Bruce

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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:05 am 
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Looks like a fun playground for a Camtrapper. Looking forward to more.

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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 11:12 am 
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Willy wrote:
Looks like a fun playground for a Camtrapper. Looking forward to more.


That it is...I have already played with the Nikon SLR and DSLR units along with the Nikon ML-3 sensor that will need 2 'D' externals for a long soak, they work lightning fast...if batteries in the cam are good and fresh. Also, I just found out that the SB600 flashes with 'Lithiums' can keep up with the cams at 5 frames a second...It is quick and I rte ally look forward to this setup.

I also have other cams on the way as I'm weeding out my older aluminum cased units for Pelicans. They make life much easier then my old system.

Thanks Sean and more to follow when I get back from Africa. I have the video unit plus the Bushnell Trophy Cams and 10 regular trail cams to check...then another long soak of almost two months...should be interesting.

Cheers,
Bruce

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 6:27 pm 
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Always love reading your posts! Very interesting place, uniuqe wildlife and some awesome photos! But the thing I love best about your posts is how your lovefor this sport is expressed in every word! Love it! Keep em com'n!

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 9:48 am 
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westcocanuck wrote:
I thought that chasing Cougars was risky enough but holy smokes. You got to really watch your butt out there. You know when ever I look at the pics that you post. I can imagine what an exciting life you must have living there. Thanks for sharing all of those rare and beautiful photos.


westcocanuck,

Actually, tigers and leopards stay out of our way completely; the first hint of a human and they are gone. I would say cougars would be the same being 'wild cats'. And as I have stated before, it is truly my pleasure to share my work with all the members on this forum...it's what makes me tick...! I'm having a ball making up the builds and then seeing these rare creatures...Appreciate your kind words.

Bruce

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:12 am 
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Predator 1 wrote:
Always love reading your posts! Very interesting place, uniuqe wildlife and some awesome photos! But the thing I love best about your posts is how your lovefor this sport is expressed in every word! Love it! Keep em com'n!


Pred,

Thanks and I really appreciate that. It's funny, back in 2000 when I first heard about camera trapping, I laughed at the guy who showed me some photos from a camera trap (commercial job) using standard 100 ISO film; they were grainy and blurry...but then I decided to build one for myself using a Radio Shack sensor and an Olympus 'point and shoot' but I used Fuji slide film in 400 ISO and things began to fall into place.

I then built a whole bunch of units and did a presence/absence survey in a national park west of Bangkok along the border with Burma. It was not long after that I caught two tigers within a month and then a leopard and another tiger (my signature photo). It has been a roll ever since and after meeting the Camera Trap Codger, I'm now totally addicted to the sport! I spend a lot of time building new units and setting them up in the forest.

I have just returned from my safari in southern Kenya; and I have a few good shots including a leopard for you guys...give me a couple of days and I'll post em'...flying back to Thailand tomorrow and straight into the forest to check 10 cams plus Egberts' video unit and three Bushnell Trophy Cams....hoping for some neat stuff.
Thanks again,
Bruce

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 12:11 pm 
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Bruce, your work is amazing, I envy you being able to go to all of these places to get these wonderful pictures. I get excited just getting bobcat and bear pictures, I can't imagine getting lions, tigers and leopards. Thank you for sharing these wonderful images with us. Danno


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 6:34 am 
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DJA wrote:
Bruce, your work is amazing, I envy you being able to go to all of these places to get these wonderful pictures. I get excited just getting bobcat and bear pictures, I can't imagine getting lions, tigers and leopards. Thank you for sharing these wonderful images with us. Danno


Danno,

It's my pleasure....just lucky on the location....actually I have been working here for about 16 years. In the beginning it was strictly through the lens stuff and then I finally found camera trapping. My first unit was a Nikon N90s film camera using Fuji 100 ISO slides, 35-70mm lens and a Nikon ML-3 remote (active infrared) unit and got a leopard on a sambar kill first time out. That night, the cat came and stayed until the camera went to the end of the roll. I got some really neat shots Thanks again.

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Bruce

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