A veiled chameleon extends its tongue to catch a cricket. Photographer Scott Linstead, 33, goes to extraordinary lengths to capture these pictures in which creatures appear frozen in time. The former teacher spends up to a week arranging the lighting and photo traps which trigger the camera and flash. The human eye and reaction speed on the shutter release button are rarely quick enough to take the photos manually. Some of these pictures were taken in the wild, while others were staged on his kitchen table, in a warehouse, or in a pet shop.
A ladybird opens its wings.
Scott said: “Recognizing the moment that is critical in any animal behavior is easy enough – choosing the proper technique and applying it is the challenge. Using the photo trap, I can not only photograph the elusive but also the unimaginably quick. I overcome the limitation of human reaction time and endurance for photographing phenomena that occur once a day and on no particular schedule. The two most obvious cases where the trap is essential is when the photographer cannot be there to trip the shutter or when the event occurs so quickly it is beyond the practical reaction time of the photographer.”
A weed-covered frog leaps.
Scott, from Quebec, Canada, said his obsession with high speed wildlife photography required a lot of patience but the results made it worthwhile. He said: “The most frustrating scenario is when all the variables necessary to make a great shot come together with the exception of one, minor variable that ruins the whole shot. This can be as simple as a curious bystander coming to ask a question and scaring off a wild subject. This is part of what led me to photograph in the studio.”
Scott’s shot of an archer fish spitting water up at an insect
Scott imported the archer fish from Singapore and placed the live crickets on the overhead vegetation to encourage the fish to jump and squirt. He said: “The tricky part is not capturing the ‘squirt’ but rather lighting the aquarium in a way so as to not show any reflections on the many glass surfaces…
An archer fish leaps up out of the water to grab an insect
“…The breach behavior was captured purely by chance while trying to photograph the spitting behavior. When I lowered the ‘cricket perch’ too low to the water’s surface, the fish would jump out to try to grab it manually instead of the more sophisticated method that it is known for.”
A pollen-dusted bee makes for another flower
This photo of a pollen-dusted bee was taken on Scott’s kitchen table. He said: “This studio image was born out of the desire to have full control over the habitat and lighting for an insect flight shot. A custom-made Plexiglas device was used to guide the bee’s flight path. I also oriented the set so that the flight path pointed directly at my open patio door so the bee could fly right to freedom after tripping the camera.”
A bluejay about to land
Scott lured the blue jay into his studio in Quebec by scattering the birds’ favorite snack of peanuts.
A sugar glider, which has special flaps of skin allowing it to glide between trees, is captured in mid-air
A sugar glider, which has special flaps of skin allowing it to glide between trees, is captured in mid-air, also in Scott’s studio.
Scott’s shot of the Jesus lizard, so called because of its ability to ‘walk’ on water
This photograph of the Common Basilisk – or Jesus Lizard – running across water was taken in a warehouse using a high-speed flash. The lizard earned its name through its ability to ‘walk’ on water.
A Great Grey Owl caught in mid-flight
The outside shots were more often produced with ‘traditional’ techniques, using a hand-held camera with a fast shutter speed. This Great Grey Owl was photographed during a snow storm in Ontario, Canada.
A bat is frozen in mid-flight as it swoops over water
The bat swooping over water was photographed in the wild in Arizona.
An osprey grabbing its prey
Scott spent four days in a bind at the edge of a pond in Kangasala, Finland, to get this photo of an osprey. He said: “This location near the city of Tampere is arguably the best spot on earth to photograph this behavior. Twelve hours per day in the blind produced this image on the second day.”
See more of Scott’s work at www.scottyphotography.com