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Mountain King

  
 
Zack Clothier
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Mountain King


Congratulations to Zack Clothier for winning Feature Thread of the Week with 23 votes - View Previous Winners








I picked up my first camera at a very young age, but it wasn’t because I wanted to become a photographer when I grew up, at least not at first. As a young boy, one of my favorite hobbies was tracking animals. At first, I was strictly documenting tracks and sign with the camera, but soon I found myself purchasing a small telephoto lens, hoping to capture animals that I encountered in the woods: groundhogs, foxes, deer, coyotes, skunks, whatever I came across. As I grew older, my passion at times took the back burner due to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In the back of my mind, however, I was quietly plotting my career path as an artist.

That brings me back to the image that you see here of a large male mountain lion checking out a rocky outcropping on a late winter morning in Montana. It is a combination of several of my passions. Tracking, wildlife, and photography all wrapped up into a single image. Technology has come a long way since I first started building my own remote cameras back in the early 2000s. Nowadays, I build much more sophisticated camera traps using DSLR cameras, infrared sensors, and off-camera flashes so that I can get creative with the light.

In order to capture this image, I spent several winters tracking and studying the habits and movements of these big cats. During that time, while out checking on camera traps one morning, I was even fortunate enough to witness a cougar successfully hunting its prey at very close range. On one particular morning, I was out scouting for sign and located a single, partial imprint in the snow beneath this overhanging rock. Based on that single impression and behavioral knowledge of the animals themselves, I decided it was worth setting up a cam in hopes the cat would eventually return to this location. After several long months of patiently waiting, this large male finally returned to this rocky overhang and triggered my camera early one morning as winter was coming to a close. The location was so specific that this cat and a few passing elk were the only animals that I captured over a three-month period of time!



Jan 02, 2024 at 11:57 PM
lumenspixel
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Mountain King


Your patience has been rewarded.


Jan 03, 2024 at 05:06 AM
morris
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Mountain King


This is a stunning image Zack. Your dedication has paid off with this wonderful image. Voting.

Morris



Jan 03, 2024 at 07:33 AM
Phil Seu
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Mountain King


Very good image

Phil



Jan 03, 2024 at 08:21 AM
Alan Olander
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Mountain King


Excellent work.


Jan 03, 2024 at 09:40 AM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Mountain King


That is an amazing dedication to get the shot or at least have a chance of the shot happening! This is a stunning image, eyes are sharp and the light is unique. Were there two remote flashes here?

It is a wow image for me, a surprise encounter in a remote location, you earned it Zack.
Karl



Jan 03, 2024 at 10:59 AM
dclark
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Mountain King


Wow, terrific image!
The story about how you got it adds a lot to the pleasure of seeing it.
The cat seems to be staring at your setup. Was it blocking his path?
It would be interesting to see more about the setup.

Voted.

Dave


Edit: I followed the WWW link to your web site. I realized I have been to your web site several times and seen lots of your photographs. Especially the bear with elk remains, which won a category in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Also you have published an e-book about camera trap photography and the photo above is included, so a complete description of how to get shots like that is surely covered in great detail.



Jan 03, 2024 at 11:53 AM
Jim Dockery
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Mountain King


Fantastic shot. Thanks for sharing.


Jan 03, 2024 at 12:40 PM
manishkshukla
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Mountain King


Love it and love the story of how you created this image! Thank you for sharing!


Jan 03, 2024 at 04:16 PM
Zack Clothier
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Mountain King


Karl Witt wrote:
That is an amazing dedication to get the shot or at least have a chance of the shot happening! This is a stunning image, eyes are sharp and the light is unique. Were there two remote flashes here?

It is a wow image for me, a surprise encounter in a remote location, you earned it Zack.
Karl


Thanks Karl, and yes, the lighting was accomplished using two remote flashes.

---------------------------------------------

dclark wrote:
Wow, terrific image!
The story about how you got it adds a lot to the pleasure of seeing it.
The cat seems to be staring at your setup. Was it blocking his path?
It would be interesting to see more about the setup.

Voted.

Dave

Edit: I followed the WWW link to your web site. I realized I have been to your web site several times and seen lots of your photographs. Especially the bear with elk remains, which won a category in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Also you have published an e-book about camera trap photography and the photo above is included,
...Show more

Thanks Dave! I target big cats a lot. They are often very curious about my camera setups and will often get in really close to give them a good sniff over. The sound of the shutter caught this big guy's attention, but the camera was not blocking his path at all. And yes, my ebook goes into great detail in regards to DSLR camera trapping and includes diagrams and details on several of my successful setups.



Jan 03, 2024 at 11:12 PM
 


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Bobg657
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Mountain King


Extraordinary imge well worth the effort! Voted!

Bob



Jan 03, 2024 at 11:37 PM
kdacharya
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Mountain King


voted for sure. What perseverance you have. thanks for sharing the background.


Jan 04, 2024 at 12:10 AM
johnohio
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Mountain King




John



Jan 04, 2024 at 08:54 PM
JAM11
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Mountain King


Nice work!!!

Jon



Jan 04, 2024 at 10:24 PM
gmccroskery
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Mountain King


Holy Cow! What an amazing image -- you nailed it perfectly. Very nice work. It's gets my vote!

Greg



Jan 04, 2024 at 10:51 PM
Carl RL
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Mountain King


All of your efforts paid off! A fantastic shot.




Jan 05, 2024 at 07:33 AM
jcw1982
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Mountain King


Beautiful photograph! Also thanks for sharing a little of the work that went into it.


Jan 05, 2024 at 09:43 AM
JonathanHunt
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Mountain King


Stunning capture!



Jan 06, 2024 at 10:11 AM
roboticspro
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Mountain King


Zack,

This image is surreal yet very real; a tip of the engineers hat to you on having the skills and patience to pull this off; you certainly have my vote for the featured thread...

Regards,

Edd



Jan 07, 2024 at 04:00 PM
volhoosier
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Mountain King


your long term dedication and determination is admirable. most people would given up long ago. the image is remarkable and hopefully the first of many more to come. be very cautious in this endeavor and don't take any foolish chances. thanks for sharing the picture and the story behind it.


Jan 07, 2024 at 07:03 PM
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