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12-14-2014, 07:55 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Shooting bats

I figured I should write down what I did last summer before I forget.

Digested: Photographing Bats

12-14-2014, 08:03 PM   #2
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Fascinating, Derek. Do keep us posted on next year's trials.
12-14-2014, 08:31 PM   #3
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Good idea. I look forward to more experiments!
12-14-2014, 09:25 PM   #4
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Thanks for sharing. Nice.

12-14-2014, 10:22 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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Good to see I'm not alone with this! Thanks for sharing, good article!






QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
I figured I should write down what I did last summer before I forget.

Digested: Photographing Bats
12-15-2014, 08:40 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Caver Quote
Good to see I'm not alone with this! Thanks for sharing, good article!
Very nice! Lots of detail on the wings and face. Great shot.

Any information on how you got the shot?
12-15-2014, 07:22 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Very nice! Lots of detail on the wings and face. Great shot.

Any information on how you got the shot?
Thanks! I have a friend, who is shooting bats (not inclusively) for the last 40 years. I go out with him as often I can, since the last 5-6 years. I learn a lot from him.
We do good job together, as I'm familiar with caves (being an active caver for 20+ years) and generally bats - he is a perfectionist in photography and an inventor when it comes about flashes, motion sensors...

He built lots of configurations for shooting bats. The main idea is - as you wrote, to have a "window" where you can pre-focus - in this case it was a small entrance to a protected cave. We used 3 flashes, one being for backlight (in the cave) and two outside. We shoot from fixed places, cameras on tripod and for this photo cameras set to shoot continuously, 3 or 4 seconds of exposures, (making tons of black frames [on film cameras it was simpler - you could leave them on B - but sensors use to overheat and get noisier - so this is not an option] , - the flashes connected by wire - synchronised together and triggered by a motion sensor activated by the animals coming out from the cave in the evening. If you check my pentax photo gallery you will find other photos as well, made in a very similar way. We are improving our techniques - there is no exact recipe - but you already know this, I'm sure
There are many factors to take in consideration beside the technical part, you have to know the species, each of them have different flight speeds, behaviours and living/hunting places....
12-15-2014, 08:04 PM   #8
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Interesting. Automatic triggers are attractive, but I haven't explored the latency or even the range and accuracy. I have been tantalizingly close to getting shots of the bat closing on an insect in the air, but not quite. There are two locations that I have been told about; one a chimney where many bats leave all at the same time, the other a pond where they take a drink on the fly just after leaving their roost.

12-16-2014, 09:59 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Interesting. Automatic triggers are attractive, but I haven't explored the latency or even the range and accuracy. I have been tantalizingly close to getting shots of the bat closing on an insect in the air, but not quite. There are two locations that I have been told about; one a chimney where many bats leave all at the same time, the other a pond where they take a drink on the fly just after leaving their roost.
Wells, near Barkerville, we attended Shakespeare in the Swamp one year. Bats were flying at dusk. I didn't try to catch them, but it might be a good place to have a look.
12-21-2014, 10:19 AM   #10
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yesterday bat shoot

Due the mild weather we have here in Hungary this december, bats are still getting out trying to hunt something, instead of the winter sleep they use to have in this time of the year.
Here are a few from the yesterday shooting. This is my first real shooting with the brand new K-5II + the Elicar V-HQ Makro MC 90mm f/2.5 - I am impressed with both the camera and the lens.
Technical details: K-5II, 10 sec. exposure, set to remote continuous shooting, ISO 1000, F16. Lighting: 4 flashes set to 1/32 flash time, synchronized together and triggered by a motion sensor.
(there was a double flash trigger during the exposure - that's the reason of the double image in the first photo)





12-21-2014, 11:08 AM   #11
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Those are lovely! I take it you run a 10 second exposure then expose with the triggered flash. It's unfortunate the top one was double exposed; it may have been the best shot for angle of view.

I was trying out my setup yesterday. I should have taken a shot of the gear. I have an infrared trigger that triggers the camera body, then the flash units are timed by the camera body. All the flashes are hard wired together through the sync cable ports. It worked at that level. The latency of the trigger -> body -> flash exposure is too long, so I might have to trigger the flash units.
12-21-2014, 11:47 AM   #12
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Wonderful pics!
12-21-2014, 01:09 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Those are lovely! I take it you run a 10 second exposure then expose with the triggered flash. It's unfortunate the top one was double exposed; it may have been the best shot for angle of view.

I was trying out my setup yesterday. I should have taken a shot of the gear. I have an infrared trigger that triggers the camera body, then the flash units are timed by the camera body. All the flashes are hard wired together through the sync cable ports. It worked at that level. The latency of the trigger -> body -> flash exposure is too long, so I might have to trigger the flash units.
Thanks, I'm glad you like them.
Yes, you are right, I trigger the flashes because the camera is to slow to be triggered - or better said the bats are too fast
The flashes and the sensor are hard wired together in our setup as well.

---------- Post added 21-12-14 at 21:10 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Wonderful pics!
Thank you!
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