During my year in Zambia, I started to use camera traps to photograph nocturnal wildlife. A camera trap is a stationary camera that is trigged automatically when an animal is detected in a predetermined position. I usually positioned my traps on busy animal trails. In order to take high-quality images, I used a DSLR camera with one or more off-camera speedlights for lighting.
I was unable to find a camera trap sensor that gave me the freedom and functionality I needed, so I decided to create my own. Over the course of the year, I developed a device that was simple to use, quick to set up and very reliable.
My device employs a passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor, similar to the sensors used on outdoor security lights. This type of sensor has two key benefits:
1. It is very quick and easy to set-up: just point it at the target area and it is ready to go. The field of view of the detector can be limited to precisely control the trigger zone.
2. Low power consumption: the sensor is powered by 6 x AA batteries, which results in a standby time of 4 weeks or more.
The sensor is enclosed in a tough, weatherproof housing, which can be mounted on a small tripod or strapped to a post. Find out more about it here: PIR Motion Sensor
In addition to the sensors, I also developed a strong metal camera housing to protect a DSLR camera from weather and wild animals. This housing can be disassembled and flat packed for easy transportation. The camera can be accessed via a convenient lockable hatch at the back. A sliding peak protects the lens from the sun and rain. Find out more about it here: Camera Housing
Now available in the Camtraptions Store!
I’m excited to announce that my PIR Motion Sensors and protective Camera Housings are now available to buy in the new Camtraptions Camera Trap Store!
These products are now shipping, just in time for Christmas!
BBC Wildlife Camera Trap Photographer of the Year
BBC Wildlife Magazine runs the most prestigious camera-trap photography contest in the world and the winners of this year’s contest have recently been announced. I am delighted to reveal that my image of a black rhino at night was chosen as winner of the animal portraits category and overall winner of the photography categories!
My image of a hippo and bat was also runner-up in the portraits category and my porcupine image was commended.
All of my images were taken with a prototype PIR Motion Sensor in Zambia. You can view the other winning and commended images in this gallery.
You can view more of my camera trap images in my Camera Trap collection.