60 Second of Bats

Ron Niebrugge Arizona, Photos, Travel, Tucson Leave a Comment

Five bats in 60 seconds.

I don’t typically share mistakes, but this is an interesting one. This was from later in the evening from my single bat image.

The way I do bat photography is with a Cognisys Sabre. I set the aperture and ISO, then put the camera in bulb mode and let the Sabre manage the shutter. I can tell the Sabre to take continues exposures for a set length of time. At the beginning of the night when there is some ambient light, I do back to back to back 3 or 4 second exposures. Later in the evening I switch to 30 second exposures. So the Sabre captures photo after photo until it senses a bat. Then it fires my flashes and closes the shutter. That way I don’t capture multiple images in the same frame.

So what happened here? Before going to bed, I always check on the setup, change out camera batteries etc. Well, I must have accidentally bumped off of bulb mode to 60 second manual exposure. In this mode, the Sabre keeps firing the flashes, but has no way of closing the shutter. So this is 4 or 5 separate flash firings which is why the rocks in the background are exposed, and 5 different bats! The bat activity really comes in flurries as you can see here.

I’m going to make some small changes to the setup next winter and looking forward to having everything fine-tuned and working great – lots of possibilities here! I have noticed that skunks and other animals will sometimes climb up on this giant water table at night which could provide some cool opportunities for back lighting from below and doing other creative things with the flashes.

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