Friday 17 May 2024

Important New Book

Childhood friend Dr Chris Wemmer has produced a comprehensive book on camera-trapping. (Briefly defined, camera trapping is the use of a camera to "capture" the antics of wildlife. It does no harm to the animals at all.) Camera traps or trail cameras as they are sometimes called are stand-alone cameras that are battery-powered and are triggered by a sensor.

Most people probably think that camera-trapping is a product of the digital age. Not so, in Chris' inimitable and humorous writing style, he traces the history of the activity. It actually goes back to the turn of the 20th century. In 1898 George Shiras III loaded his camera gear into a flat-bottomed boat and onto Whitefish Lake, Michigan to photograph deer drinking. He used gunpowder to ignite the flash. The downside of the activity was that the "explosion of the flash could be seen in Marquette, Michigan, some 20 miles from Whitefish Lake!!!" Chris further relates about the dangers of Shiras' activities "At once a tremendous explosion of the drier powder, and the damper portion gave forth a brilliant spluttering flame with a cloud of stifling smoke, compelling me to leap overboard in order to extinguish the blaze on my boots and later that in the boat". The introductory chapters are replete with examples of early camera-trapping in many far-flung places. Chris provides photographic examples of these early attempts.

With the digital age came a slue of commercial cameras with built-in flashes and timers. Chris details the building of cameras for special purposes. He has a chapter on Ethics and Sensibility and another on how to manage your photos and data. (Early in my career I modelled my field-notes on Chris' style. I still use his techniques to this day.)

The book has many excellently-reproduced examples of what can result from camera-trapping. If you ever wondered what was wandering around your property after dark, a camera trap, properly installed will give you the answer.

In addition to chapters on "How to do it", Chris has provided a glossary. an extensive bibliography, recommended reading and a short biography.

The are several books on the market involving camera-trapping but none as scholarly and comprehensive as this. If you are only slightly interested in the topic, this book will more than whet your appetite for this wonderful outdoor activity.



"A Camera trapper's Companion: An introduction to Exploring Nature with Trail Cameras" by Chris Wemmer. BRG Scientific LLC, 3025 Ontario Rd NW, #407, Washington District of Columbia 20009.

1 comment:

Gary W Wilson said...

So pleased Chris has written this book. I am trying to have a copy sent here to NZ - the Publishers do not mail out side the US and Barnes & Noble seem defunct here, so I might have to resort to the dreaded Amazon!