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Megatransect II

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Self Portrait
Photograph by Michael Nichols

Following an elephant trail, a male silverback gorilla takes its own picture by breaking the infrared beam of a camera trap set by photographer Michael Nichols. The trail led to a bai, or clearing, in the jungle of Odzala National Park in the Republic of the Congo. Nichols documented the epic journey of ecologist Michael Fay on his “megatransect,” a grueling data-gathering trek through Congo and Gabon to the Atlantic Ocean.

Camera: Nikon N90
Film Type: Kodachrome 64
Lens: 28mm f/2
Speed and F-Stop: 1/15 @ f/5.6
Weather Conditions: Overcast
Time of Day: 3 p.m.
Lighting Techniques: Available light mixed with three Nikon SB25 flashes

Special Equipment or Comments:
“Camera Traps”—The camera is triggered by an infrared beam called a Trailmaster. When the gorilla’s body broke the beam it told the camera to take a picture. The camera was kept in a waterproof box fronted with optical glass, and flashes were kept in plastic Ziploc bags. Specially adapted Nikon cords ran from the camera to flashes. The camera stayed in place for two months and was checked once a week.

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