Mayuresh Hendre - Camera Trap Expert

Mayuresh Hendre – Camera Trap expert

Mayuresh Hendre is a 27 year old Wildlife Photographer, Filmmaker and Naturalist based out of Mumbai. He has worked in North East India, with extensive work in Assam, on the Brahmaputra River Landscape for two years. He has also travelled across India in search of Nature and Wildlife.
He has won many National and State level Wildlife Photography Awards.
His photographs of Golden Tiger have gone viral and have been published by many leading News Agencies.
He is a keen Wildlife Filmmaker and has worked with Felis Creations, a Wildlife film production house started by Wildlife Filmmaker Sandesh Kadur.
During the Covid Lockdown he has started a YouTube channel – ‘Way to the Wild’ , where he regularly posts his Wildlife videos.
Since past one and half year he has been working in the Corbett Landscape, where he has developed a new and upcoming Wildlife Lodge and has also been dabbling into Camera Trapping technology on the trails of Tigers and Elephants.

Let’s learn more about Camera Trap Photography from our expert Mr. Mayuresh Hendre

What kind of research do you perform before you go on field for Camera Trapping?

The most important thing that you do need to understand while doing camera-trap photography is what species are you looking to photograph in the field. I do thorough research about the species, I am planning to photograph. I study it’s characteristics, behavior, and the kind of habitat it lives in. I understand the movement pattern of the animals by studying the paths that these species use. Only when I am satisfied with my research data, that I go and set-up my camera-traps. Because camera-trapping is all about perfect pre-planning work that you put in, to nail the right shot. 

How many years it has taken for you to understand camera trap Photography In-Depth ?

I have been doing camera-trap photography since past one and half years. I was quite interested in this unique genre of wildlife photography since the past few years. I tried to learn as much as possible online. But later I got an opportunity to work in the Corbett landscape in Uttarakhand and assist ace wildlife photographer Shivang Mehta in one of the projects. That’s where I got the field knowledge of the craft. I would say I am still learning, as I believe the process of learning never stops!

Which 3 Elements you prefer to focus most on while doing Camera trap Photography ?

The 3 elements that I focus on while doing camera trap photography are 

  • Composition of my frame
  • Rarity of the species that I am documenting
  • Lighting in my photos

What are the right gears for camera trap Photography and How important is it to get the right one ?

Camera-trap photography is a gear heavy photography, according to me. But the good part about this is that you can use pre-owned or used/second hand gear to get high quality images. Even an entry level DSLR Camera body and a wide-angle lens can be an effective gear to start off your camera trapping journey. Part of the reason to use these used or entry level cameras and lenses is because most of the time, your camera will be out in the field, facing the weather, dust and not to forget curious animals or humans. Thus there is a risk of losing gear to adverse weather conditions or to theft. So it is best to use cameras that you’re ready to lose. Then you need the right motion sensor to trigger your camera when an animal crosses paths with your trap. I personally rely on Camtraptions PIR sensors to trigger my cameras. Along with that you need external flashes for lighting, various cables or wireless triggers to set all these things off, and a protective cover or housing to secure your camera and camouflage it in the field. And this is just the basics. Once you dive in depth, you will be accumulating a whole lot of additional gear. 

Personally for me, it is very important to choose the right gear for my work, because it decides if I will land the perfect shot or not. 

Can you tell our readers the difference between Normal Photography and Camera Trap Photography ?

Unlike normal wildlife photography or safari photography, where you are present to take a shot or press the shutter-release button, camera-trap photography does not require you to be present while the shot is being taken. It is a form of remote photography, where you program your gear with the help of a sensor to trigger at the right moment to take a single or multiple shots when the subject crosses the trail where your camera-trap is set.

How do you decide composition in Camera Trap Photography ?

Camera trap photography is a highly imaginative and challenging genre of photography. It is quite difficult to understand composition while your subject isn’t really in front of you. But your composition boils down to your understanding of the subject and it’s movement pattern and also your knowledge and skills of using a wide angle lens to photograph the subject. Choosing the right spot to set-up your camera-trap with the right background is very crucial. When you have taken care of all these things in the set-up process, it’s all depends on pure luck if the animal is going to show up to give you the perfect shot or not. But even after the animal does show-up to give you a shot, there are many factors which may go wrong. Thus practice and trial and error is the only way to achieve the right composition. 

What are your opinions about post processing in camera trap Photography ? 

The best part about doing camera-trap work is that you take care of most of the things, like lighting, composition, focal length etc. in the process of setting up your camera trap itself. So you know what kind of result you are going to achieve once the subject pops up in front of your camera. Thus you reduce the need of heavy Post-processing completely. What I do is minor colour correction and cropping if required. 

Any secret Tips you want to share with our readers here ?

A Secret Tip that I am happy to share is that ‘Always keep your expectations low.’ 

Because Camera-trapping would yield you only a few good shots and if you keep your expectations very high, you’re sure to get disappointed. The fun of camera-trap photography lies in the moment of excitement when you go to check your camera-trap in the field after a few days of deployment, to see if anything has popped up. And when you see that there actually is a great shot that you’ve captured, that joy, that you feel is unimaginable! 

Please share your best experience ever while composing a Picture ?

The best experience while composing a shot was for a Leopard Cat image that I made. So I had monitored the movement of a Leopard Cat on a trail in the forest. And there was fallen log, with moss all over it. I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to capture the Leopard Cat walking on this log?” Because I knew for a fact that, small cats love to use fallen logs to traverse between trails. So with that thought in mind I composed my frame in such a way that the Leopard Cat will trigger the shot if it walks on the log. And after waiting for a few days, I actually manage to capture that shot and make my imagination a reality! That was a real moment of happiness for me.

Do you have any dream pictures which you haven’t been able to make yet ?

Yes there are many! Like I said, camera-trapping isn’t the genre where you make a number of good images. Many of my attempts have resulted in sheer failure and disappointment. I still haven’t been able to capture a leopard on camera-trap. But that doesn’t deter me, it actually gives me encouragement to work harder to achieve my dream images!

Your favorite destination to travel for Camera Trap Photography ?

That would be North East India! It is a dream to explore the nocturnal world in the forests of North east.

What is your advice for beginners ?

My advice for beginners would be to start building your camera-trap gear by using any second hand or used equipment available in the market. This will be cheaper and yet will give you great results. And the risks of losing used gear is much less than using brand new gear for camera trap work! Building your own set-up is tough thing, but it will be a great learning activity for all the beginners out there! Best of luck and happy trapping!

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