“Black Rhino At Night” by Will Burrard-Lucas

Camera trap photograph of a Black Rhino at night by Will Burrard-Lucas
Camera Trap Photograph of a Black Rhino at Night by Will Burrard-Lucas

This photograph was taken using a DSLR Camera Trap in North Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Camera traps are set up in advance and then fire automatically when an animal moves into a predetermined position.

For this image I used a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III with a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens. I had a single off-camera speedlite flash positioned about 1.5m above the camera, connected via a long TTL cord.

The camera was triggered using a Camtraptions PIR Motion Sensor. This is a device that I developed myself in order to make DSLR camera traps quick and easy to set up.

I worked with park rangers to identify a good place to set up my camera. They led me to this clearing, which they told me was often visited by a rhino.

My visit to this area coincided with a new moon, and each night I was treated to a beautiful, starry night sky. I wanted to try and show this in my photograph.

I positioned my camera on the ground, pointing upwards, so that I would have plenty of sky behind the rhino. I left the camera in AV mode so that at night a shutter speed of 30s would be selected (since there was no moon, I didn’t have to worry about ghosting). I set an aperture of f/5.6 to give me the necessary depth of field and a high ISO of 1,600 to ensure the stars exposed. The flash went off at the start of the shot to expose the rhino.

I left my camera trap in position for around a week. After a couple of days, the rhino visited, and I got the shot I had dreamed of!

I have created a free video series in which I explain how you can set up your own high-quality wildlife camera trap using your old DSLR camera, which you can find here: Learn DSLR Camera Trap Photography. — Will Burrard-Lucas

Will Burrard-Lucas is a wildlife photographer from the UK, specializing in the use of remote-control cameras and camera traps. He founded Camtraptions to bring new products for remote and camera trap photography to market. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


    Great shot and as South African, I can really appreciate the effort capturing these amazing animals (before they’re all gone). These images are good to promote the need to save the rhino. Wish the shot was taken on a Sonya7S though. Would be amazing to see this kid of image without a flash.

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