Badger In The Woods.


Richard Packwood's winning entry in the British Wildlife Photography Awards.

Richard Packwood’s winning entry in the British Wildlife Photography Awards.

You can see more grand photography here!

Comments

  1. kestrel says

    Wow, look at the fantastic lighting in this! I almost expect to see makeup on the badger… what a great photo!

  2. says

    Yeah, that’s a once in a lifetime shot, the photographer must have been high as kite on getting that capture. I’ve photographed a badger exactly once, and it did not have this level of wonderful drama.

  3. says

    kestrel@#2:
    A bunch of years ago I wound up at a dinner party next to a multiple award-winning National Geographic wildlife photographer. Naturally, I was super impressed and curious. So I started interrogating her. It turned out that her technique was to set up multiple strobe lights on battery powerpacks, with a camera on a tripod with a laser-line trigger. Some nerdy friend of hers had worked the whole system up (it’s basic, I could do it from just the stuff in my kit box) and she just was very patient and spent a huge amount of time visualizing where the critters went and appeared to go often, then setting up the lights and camera to get a portrait.

    This image looks a lot like that technique. Note the fill, and the highlight key off-axis, with a second edge-light. So that’s a 3-light solution; they don’t occur in nature very much. My guess is that the photographer spent a while scouting around, looking at footprints and scat-marks and figuring out which direction the critters usually go and where. It’s a very time-consuming and painstaking process. At least nowadays you’re not using a manual-wind Hasselblad with 12 frames/roll, and you can leave a digital SLR in place overnight and collect it in the morning.

    Another fun thing she told me is that the critters usually hear the autofocus lens motor kick up and freeze, which gives you a great pose. Like in the picture above. She said she had a pretty amusing collection of out-takes -- lynxes pooping, puzzled-looking bears with “caught in the cookie jar” expressions, and her favorite she told me was an opossum who heard the AF motor and jumped straight up in the air with a look of startled horror on its little face: the levitating possum.

    It’s so much cooler than hunting. Out here the locals have been known to put bait out for coyotes so they can trap or shoot them (I have been known to soak their bait with diesel fuel, which makes the coyotes go away) -- I don’t get it. They do it because: nature, or something. Hunting with a camera is so much cooler and I bet the photographer who captured brother badger up there was dancing for a while.

    Hm, nowadays cameras can practically see in the dark and shoot 32 frames/sec. You could probably use high output LED panels and set the camera to shoot 20 frames, then pick the best one. By the way, I hope I am not about to spoiler anything (nature photography fans may wish to read no further) a lot of great nature photography shots are done using a 70MM movie camera and a great big lens. That’s how Jeff Foote does his amazing pictures of otters. Mzzzzzzt -- you shoot 30 seconds of an otter eating, you’re going to have at least 1 frame that’s printable. Ditto all the bears grabbing salmon out of the air, etc. Mzzzzzzzt, cut, print!

  4. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, SNAKE!!! Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, SNAKE!!! Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, SNAKE!!! Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, SNAKE!!!

    Wonderful photo.

    I have one photo of a badger to my credit. Well, the hind end of a badger. As it disappears behind some sage brush. Well, you can almost tell it is a badger. If I tell you it is a badger.

  5. says

    My badger photo-op: in 2007 I decided to reclaim some of my lost youth and made a cross-country trip from San Diego to Pennsylvania on a 1984 Honda VT500 Ascot. It was summer and I was in New Mexico, where it was already hot as blazes -- all by myself on this huge open road dodging thunderstorms -- and a badger runs out into the road about 400 yards ahead of me, stops, and stares at me. I stop and stare at him as I’m trying to get my camera out of the tank-bag. As soon as I have the camera lens cap off, the badger flips me off and waddles off into the bushes.

  6. jazzlet says

    The other possibility is that it is an urban badger lit by street lights, although that’s rather less likely.

    We have an outlier of a local badger sett on the slope down to the field at the back of our garden and they do come through the gardens regularly. If they want to come through there really isn’t a lot you can do to stop them as our neighbour has discovered. Every year they will dig up a potato, take a bite, go ‘yuck’ then drop it. Then do the same the following night, and the following one, and maybe even the one after that too. Always lovely potatoes too, I do wish they learned a bit quicker. The only time I have seen one at all close up it had a broken leg, probably from a car accident, and was trying to get to the outlying sett, it obviously couldn’t move fast and just lay there letting me have a good look at it (I didn’t try and touch it). I phoned the RSPCA and the inpector who came out reckoned they’d be able to fix the leg easily enough and release it. He had one of those noose on a stick things and huge thick gloves, he wasn’t taking any chance he’d get bitten.

  7. Ice Swimmer says

    A fine shot indeed. The lighting is reminiscent of stage lighting. One would almost expect the badger to whip up a microphone and start singing in a gruff voice.

  8. says

    Ice Swimmer@#9:
    One would almost expect the badger to whip up a microphone and start singing in a gruff voice.

    And he’d start singing:
    Badger badger badgers badger badger badgers badgers badger mushroom mushroom,
    badger badger…

  9. says

    By the way, largely unknown there is a David Attenborough video “The secrets of the sett” which is all swoonalicious about badger-life. Attenborough’s team appear to have infiltrated endoscopes into badger’s homes.

    Badgers and foxes ally!

  10. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    And I apologize. I wrote ‘snake’ when it should have been ‘mushroom.’ I hang my cultural knowledge head in shame.

Leave a Reply