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  • - So this is me nose deep in a sapling.

  • It kind of smells like rubber.

  • - [Dan] Like rubber? Do it again.

  • - 'Cause I'm wrong?

  • I'm trying to figure out what peed on it.

  • - Oh, that's totally a skunky smell.

  • - I had seen these photos a few months ago

  • and I needed to know how,

  • which led me to the Catskill Mountains

  • and my nose centimeters away from an animal marking.

  • It's kind of nice.

  • - I love the smell.

  • - [Becca] Welcome back to Full-Frame, buds.

  • This is what I think of

  • when I hear the words wildlife photography.

  • Powerful animals photographed using long lenses

  • and absolutely epic environments.

  • But sometimes getting an amazing wildlife photo

  • requires a different approach.

  • - I really like this show

  • because it's hosted by Becca Far-cha-cha-cha-cha-cha.

  • - I'm Carla Rhodes.

  • I specialize in wildlife conservation photography

  • and I absolutely adore camera trapping.

  • (camera shutter clicking)

  • I got my first DSLR camera in 2015.

  • I was pursuing comedic ventriloquism.

  • - Hello, my name is Keith Richards, you know,

  • and I'm like an alcoholic (indistinct).

  • - Keith, Keith, wrong meeting.

  • - All right, rock and roll.

  • - So I got the DSLR to actually make videos,

  • and my husband and I had moved up to the Catskills

  • around that time.

  • And I just started photographing nature up here.

  • (camera shutter clicking)

  • I just got really into it.

  • You know when you find something

  • and it just like grabs you by the throat,

  • but in a nice way?

  • In the fall of 2019, I got the camera trap set up

  • that I use now.

  • - [Becca] Camera trapping is the process of leaving a camera

  • and a trigger system out in the wild

  • in hopes that an animal will walk by, trip the sensor

  • and then be captured by the camera.

  • The camera is typically kept in protective housing.

  • And when done ethically,

  • the flashes are placed well above the animal's eye line.

  • You can trigger the system in different ways,

  • but one common way is by using a passive infared sensor,

  • or a PIR sensor,

  • which typically detects abrupt changes in heat

  • in a coned area, then triggers the camera and flashes.

  • Another popular method uses a break beam,

  • which requires a transmitter and a receiver

  • to form an invisible beam

  • that when broken by, hopefully an animal,

  • triggers the system.

  • - I've really leaned in the camera trapping

  • because I find it's extremely challenging.

  • And it's a way to show wildlife

  • through a different point of view.

  • You can get shots that you just can't get,

  • even with a telephoto lens.

  • - [Becca] I asked Carla if she'd be willing to teach me

  • how to do all of this.

  • And while she agreed, she also insisted

  • that I talk to one more person,

  • because as it turns out,

  • getting all these photos takes a lot more

  • than just knowing what gear to use.

  • That's Dan Yacabelis.

  • - [Dan] I got something cool here.

  • - [Becca] He's the founder

  • of Tamokoce Wilderness Programs

  • and he's trying to teach me a bit about track and sign.

  • - One toe here.

  • Another toe there, another toe there

  • - Track and sign is the art of looking for

  • wildlife signs and patterns

  • to try to understand where animals might have been

  • or where they might soon go.

  • - I realize if you really study track and sign,

  • it makes your success rate for your photos go way up.

  • - [Becca] So we hiked around the Catskill Mountains

  • for about three hours, looking for clues.

  • - Two and three eights by one and seven eights.

  • Perfect range for a red fox.

  • We have a deer bed right here and, yeah, this is a hoof.

  • - [Becca] And we landed right in front

  • of a very small sapling.

  • - These little green saplings, foxes just love 'em.

  • - [Becca] Which Dan then insisted I smell.

  • - You wanna give it a breath, like a hot,

  • a nice warm breath, and then take a nice sniff in.

  • - Kind of skunky?

  • - There you go.

  • That's, that's a red fox.

  • - [Becca] The pee of a red fox, to be clear.

  • We decided to place a camera trap at the sapling

  • because all signs led to a red fox being there.

  • It was cold, it was wet.

  • It got dark, but we got a trap set.

  • And then I went back to Brooklyn to set a trap of my own.

  • There's this little black cat that lives in my backyard.

  • And although I've never met him,

  • I am absolutely in love with him.

  • After learning about camera trapping,

  • I made it my goal to take awesome photos

  • of this little dude.

  • First, some track and sign.

  • I set up a $20 Wyze cam facing the backyard

  • so that I could find the exact paths that he walks

  • to better place my camera.

  • While I let that sit and collect data,

  • I gathered my gear.

  • I spent most of my budget on a Cognisys scout camera box

  • and break beam trail monitor,

  • because they both have long battery lives

  • and they seamlessly talk to each other.

  • I chose the break beam as opposed to the PIR sensor

  • because its straight break line

  • makes for an easier place to focus my camera.

  • But by going with Cognisys for all of this,

  • it meant that I couldn't spend

  • as much money on a flash system.

  • Carla recommended that I start out with

  • two Nikon SB-28 speedlights.

  • But because they're discontinued,

  • I had to order two used ones from KEH in Adorama.

  • I never in my life did I think

  • I would be picking up a Nikon SB-28 flash

  • from Adorama in 2022.

  • They came out in the early 2000s,

  • but because they have a sleep mode and a quick wake-up time

  • their battery can last a lot longer out in the field.

  • I also ordered two sets of Yongnuo wireless flash triggers

  • so that the SB-28s could talk to my camera.

  • And then I had to order rechargeable batteries

  • for all of that.

  • And then finally I decided I would put a Canon 7D

  • and a Canon 16-to-35 millimeter F2.8 lens in my box.

  • I have a 5D Mark IV that I would later use,

  • but at first I was a bit wary

  • of leaving so much money outside in Brooklyn.

  • I set everything up in my house

  • and it took me about four hours to get it all working.

  • It just works.

  • Oh my God. Okay, okay, okay, okay.

  • But I don't think it would've taken me quite as long

  • if I wasn't also filming myself doing it.

  • Wow.

  • So after setting everything up,

  • I took one more look at my Wyze footage to pick a spot.

  • Just about every day, the cat would come to this little hut

  • that we made him for the winter.

  • And he'd always come right down the middle of the yard.

  • And luckily it had just snowed,

  • so I had the paw prints in the snow to back me up.

  • Carla had all sorts of gorgeous mounts

  • for her flashes and cameras,

  • but here in Brooklyn, I used a lot of twine,

  • trees and bricks.

  • Carla also taught me a lot about ethics.

  • And although I think a flash

  • would be more effective at a lower height,

  • I don't wanna hurt the cat,

  • so I put the flashes well above his eye line.

  • I fired off a few test shots once it got dark

  • and I waited.

  • All right, good morning.

  • This is my first night of leaving the trail cam out.

  • Oh my God.

  • - Oh, man.

  • Oh, man.