This bear tree was found by a friend and suggested as a good camera spot. I had missed the tree on my last walk, but I couldn't agree more for this great location. These heavily marked bear trees always remind me of the large conifers that grow to close to the road and inevitably get hit year after year by giant snowplows. Although this large pine was hundreds of meters from the nearest road, fresh sap from a recent bear visit ran slowly down the dying trunk. If the tree could choose, I think it would have picked the snowplow over the bears.
The beauty with building your own cameras is that you know and understand the functionality of the entire system. You are aware of it's capabilities, risks, and rewards. Once comfortable with a thorough understanding of how a system works, you can experiment with different setups and use your understanding to not only photograph wildlife in new ways, but discover interesting and effective methods for studying ecology. Often one idea or method leads to another and so on. Some believe that remote camera photography is simply running out and strapping a camera to the nearest tree, and for some it is. It usually takes at least a couple hours (sometime days) of walking to find an ideal camera location. When you really dive into the process there is so much more then simply putting a camera out. My use of remote cameras for photography/ecology is a pursuit in which continued progression by use of technology and methods is the ultimate goal.
In this set, I hung a camera from wire to try to photograph bears visiting the tree. I placed a large rock on top of the camera to stop it from swaying and being triggered by motion. It took about 30 minutes to get to camera wired up correctly and another 10 to get the rock on top of the camera and balanced correctly. I probably could have picked an easier tree considering the first branches were 10ft off the ground. Results from this camera located in Wyoming will be posted shortly in a follow up post.