Casey Smartt: photographing the elusive

Casey Smartt: photographing the elusive

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Blog, Inspiration | 0 comments

Casey Smartt is a photographer based out of New Braunfels, TX. He was born and raised in Austin, TX and holds a B.S. in Aquatic Biology from Southwest Texas State University. Casey has had careers as an environmental technician for the steel and construction industry and as an agriculture consultant specializing in large-scale composting and sustainable farming. He was the fly fishing editor for Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine for 10 years and his love of the outdoors led him to wildlife photography, and most recently, camera trap photography. What inspired you to get involved with camera trap work? My interest in camera traps began years ago when I stretched a trip wire across a game trail and rigged it to a compact Nikon 35mm camera. The experiment was a failure. Wild boar and cattle knocked down the wire and camera and stomped it into the mud. But the exercise sparked my interest in camera traps and fuelled my imagination for what might be possible with a better rig. Several years later, commercial trail cameras began to hit the market. I eagerly bought one, and another, and another, and used them to capture images of whitetail deer, coyotes, javelinas, and other critters that wandered around the South Texas Brush Country. Those years were a great experience because I learned how animals approached my cameras, when they were most active, and how to attract them. Then, I saw some images Jonny Armstrong (read his interview here) captured with one of his DSLR camera traps. The photos were unlike any wildlife photos I had ever seen – clear and intimate with incredible creative lighting. They looked like scenes from an animal museum exhibit and I knew the DSLR camera trap was the direction to I wanted to go. What do you specifically find are the advantages of using these techniques? I think one obvious advantage of a DSLR camera trap is its ability to capture intimate, close-up portraits of cautious or secretive wildlife species, especially those that move or feed at night. One key to its success is the option to use off-camera flashes. They open up a whole world of creative opportunity. A perfect example of the potential of these cameras was illustrated to me by the ringtail cat. The curious little ringtail cat thrives in the Hill Country of Texas where I live and in many other parts of the United States. It’s a squirrel-sized critter that loves to climb and will investigate nearly anything it sees or smells. I had always heard ringtails were common in my region but in 4 decades spent outdoors I had only seen one, and he was caught ambitiously trying to steal chickens. When I began running DSLR camera traps on a ranch near my home, I placed the cameras up in the canopy of large oak trees. To my surprise I collected many...

Read More