Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Midnight feast: Incredibly patient photographer uses own hunter's instinct to capture bat swooping down on a scorpion


Hunting sting: This fantastic photo captures the very moment the hungry bat swoops in to capture this scorpion

As it majestically swoops down to capture its scorpion prey this incredible picture shows the sheer power and stealth of this bloodthirsty bat.

Celebrated U.S. photographer Tom Whetten, 64, spends hours each night working in his 'studio in the wild' patiently waiting for the perfect moment to capture these creatures of darkness.

Using skills he has picked up while hunting other animals he painstakingly plans each of his shots to get the perfect wildlife picture.

Mr Whetten has developed his own stealthy system using four flashes and a laser beam, which triggers a camera and flash guns when broken by one of the bats.

Set up at his home, he has produced some amazing results, showing bats swooping at its prey, or simply taking a dip or drink in a pond surrounded by his equipment.

He said: 'I'm a hunter so I use the same skills I learned from that - it's exactly the same thing.

Scientific: Celebrated wildlife photographer Tom Whetten uses several flashes and a laser beam to capture the beautiful bat shots

'The skills, the understanding what wildlife does - I take time to learn about what they are doing and what they might do next before I start trying to take my pictures.

'I was hunting for 25 years. I just started walking around as a young kid studying their movement which then went to the next level when I was hunting.

'All I have done is transfer the knowledge of wildlife it taught me into my photography.

'When I got my first camera as a middle-aged guy I decided to give up hunting and became a full time photographer - it was a pretty seamless transition.'

Tom Whetten is from the U.S. city of Tucson, Arizona, and uses his lengthy research and experience to help plan his set-up in the wild.

Graceful: The bat, photographed in the heart of the Arizona desert, is captured using the hunting instincts of the photographer

He added: 'For these shots it can take several nights of work to get the ones I want.

'I will get 10 shots a night maybe, but because I pre-focus the camera if the bats don't fly through the trigger at the right angle the shot is out of focus.

'I have just a thin white line beam so if one flies through it a little too high then it isn't sharp.

'I might get a good picture but not a great picture, and a great picture is what I strive for.

Thirsty work: The bat washes down his scorpion dinner with a drink of water from this pond

'Part of my work is to create a mini studio out in the wild with four flashes and a photo trap triggering device to get it at the right moment.

'These kinds of pictures cannot be staged or corrected afterwards so it's a long, hard process, but when you get home and you realise you nailed the shot it's amazing.'

He now takes groups of amateur photographers on tours everywhere from his local haunts all the way to Africa.

He said: 'If I can pass on some of the unique skills I learned over the years to help them take brilliant pictures it's just as good a feeling as getting a great picture myself.'

source: dailymail

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