View Full Version : Photographing Tracks
Here are a couple of photos of animal tracks that I took the weekend before last.
(I think they're both bunnies, right? :wink: )
I'm planning to make a sort of catalog of tracks and photos of the critter that produced them to help me as I learn. Not particularly happy with how these photos came out. Any hints or tips on photographing tracks would be appreciated. :-D
The top photo is a dog's paw not a bunny!
Oh dear! :oops:
(I should point out that I wasn't attending the course, just there in capacity as other half! Just as well really ...! :lol: )
For track pictures you really need something in there for scale. A ruler would be good, a coin would do at a pinch. That way you can tell right easy if it was made by the beast of bodmin, or the black moggy from next door :wink:
Nice pics, most of mine haven't come out all that well.
Photographing tracks clearly is very difficult. This is why most books rely on drawings. As has been said the first thing you need is something to give a sense of scale. the other thing is to try and get strong sidelighting on the track so that the shadows will show the shape / depth. You can either do this using a remote flash (which can be tricky) or using a reflector (white card will do) or you can re-position the sun (as if).
If you are sidelighting the track make sure you do nott use the camera flash as you will wash out the shadows you just created.
Like I say not easy I have tried it in the past but never been really happy with the results.
I'm planning to make a sort of catalog of tracks and photos of the critter that produced them to help me as I learn. Not particularly happy with how these photos came out. Any hints or tips on photographing tracks would be appreciated.
Photos never do justice to a track but can be helpful for scale, I usually just put a pound coin alongside but a ruler would be better. Why don't you try sketching the track and then stick a photo next to it if its good enough. Sketching is good though as it makes you focus on the compression shape, claws or no claws etc.
Really good idea to log all the tracks you find it will definately make learning easier! :biggthump
If you were a brownie you might like to try using plaster of paris and making a cast. Its good for if you are just starting out and having difficulty maybe distinguishing between tracks as quite often they'll pick up an extra pad that maybe you might have missed on the ground., (i.e. five pads= mustelids, four = dog, fox, cat)Also weighs nothing in your bag and as sizing tracks in the field can be quite deceiving when you don't have anything to compare it to or forgotten a handy guide book, then you can always size it up when you get home and confirm that it really was a leopard that you saw, (bearing in mind that tracks spread in mud and down slopes)Course its not an infallable technique and if you're going out a lot then you're better off finding a track and trying to follow it as much as possible until you find the source and then get a positive I.D., but it can also be good for depth of indentation. Happy tracking.
Cheers, Angie. Kids would love to have a good at making casts of tracks. Any hints or tips? :-D :-D
BTW they were convinced they'd found the track of a wild pig in the garden yesterday evening and set off with their plastic swords to go find it! They came belting in the house again about a minute later because they heard an oink from the bushes! (tee hee! I wonder which BCUK moderator that was??? :lol: )
Paul Rezendes' book "Tracking and the Art of Seeing" has some tips for photographing tracks and (in my humble and semi-naive opinion) seems to be a pretty good book. Much of the wildlife featured isn't in the UK but those animals that are here are well covered. I find the photo's useful and use it in conjunction with "Animal Tracks and Signs" by Preben Bang.
It becomes an addictive pastime......!