Raccoon triggers camera trap, North Carolina, USA by Nicolas Devos

Picture Story

When the government implemented a lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I, like many photographers and nature lovers out there, turned to my own backyard. I live in a fairly green townhome development from around the 1980s, with a small pond and a creek less than a hundred feet from the house, and what remains of a forest in the back. I had never really looked twice at these elements–much of this landscape is artificial and encroaching on the very little natural space that remains. As you would imagine, I was not expecting to find much, as I always thought of this creek as a sterile rainwater management system for the neighborhood. Yet, when I really started looking, I found many animals and plants to photograph. At night, a trail camera revealed that the creek was patrolled regularly by racoons and opossums that I had never noticed in the neighborhood. I decided to set up a proper DSLR camera trap to photograph them over a prolonged period of time. The trail camera had revealed that some opossums were using a branch across the water as a bridge, and my plan was to photograph one of them crossing. I set up the camera just above the water and used four flashes to light the scene. The opossums never used that branch again, but eventually, after leaving the camera out there for over a month, I managed to get a few good pictures. Wildlife is pretty resilient and finds a way to survive even in the most urbanized environments.

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