This photograph was taken using a DSLR Camera Trap in North Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Camera traps are set up in advance and then fire automatically when an animal moves into a predetermined position.
For this image I used a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III with a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens. I had a single off-camera speedlite flash positioned about 1.5m above the camera, connected via a long TTL cord.
The camera was triggered using a Camtraptions PIR Motion Sensor. This is a device that I developed myself in order to make DSLR camera traps quick and easy to set up.
I worked with park rangers to identify a good place to set up my camera. They led me to this clearing, which they told me was often visited by a rhino.
My visit to this area coincided with a new moon, and each night I was treated to a beautiful, starry night sky. I wanted to try and show this in my photograph.
I positioned my camera on the ground, pointing upwards, so that I would have plenty of sky behind the rhino. I left the camera in AV mode so that at night a shutter speed of 30s would be selected (since there was no moon, I didn’t have to worry about ghosting). I set an aperture of f/5.6 to give me the necessary depth of field and a high ISO of 1,600 to ensure the stars exposed. The flash went off at the start of the shot to expose the rhino.
I left my camera trap in position for around a week. After a couple of days, the rhino visited, and I got the shot I had dreamed of!
I have created a free video series in which I explain how you can set up your own high-quality wildlife camera trap using your old DSLR camera, which you can find here: Learn DSLR Camera Trap Photography. — Will Burrard-Lucas
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Will Burrard-Lucas is a wildlife photographer from the UK, specializing in the use of remote-control cameras and camera traps. He founded Camtraptions to bring new products for remote and camera trap photography to market. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.