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Caught On Camera | Backyard Nature

A bear in your backyard? Join wildlife filmmaker Joe Pontecorvo as he views footage from his backyard trail cameras in Washington State. Learn how easy it is to capture the spectacular wildlife around you.


(rustling) - Hi.

My name is Joe Pontecorvo.

My wife and I are wildlife filmmakers, and when we're not in the field, this is our home, here in Washington State.

But, you know, you don't need to be a professional filmmaker to capture some of the hidden wonders of nature that are all around you.

I'll show you what I mean.

Trail cameras are a great way to find hidden wildlife.

The trick is knowing where to put it.

In general, I look for any kind of animal sign, such as scats or a well-worn trail like this one.

Chances are if one animal uses it, others will as well.

Sometimes, capturing wildlife takes a little time, so try leaving your trail cameras out for a week or so.

All right.

Let's see if we got anything.

Opening up a trail camera card is kinda like opening up a Christmas present.

You never know what you're gonna get.


Here's a coyote.

Coyotes really are one of my favorite animals.

They're the most successful large predator in North America.

And despite a brutal campaign of extermination, not only have they survived; they've thrived and expanded their range across the United States.

Today, they're found in every state by Hawaii.

We keep our trail cameras up all year round, and we've discovered an incredible amount of wildlife we never knew we had.

This bobcat's a resident, and you see him frequently on the same trail.

And there he is, carrying a rabbit, I think.

Not all wildlife is secretive, like this black bear.

He regularly visits our apple tree every summer and usually consumes most of our apples.

But most surprising were these elk that regularly visit our backyard.

Now, elk are remarkably adaptable animals, but they're also a migratory species, and we believe one of the reasons they're here is because we live up against a protected area, and these green spaces, such as city parks or even this utility line, they become critical corridors for wildlife to move, so even here, an hour outside of Seattle, you have an enormous amount of wildlife transiting through our backyard.

Some of the natural world remains hidden because animals are elusive, and some of the natural world remains hidden because it unfolds at a different speed.

And, as filmmakers, one of the things we're always trying to do is capture those hidden events, whether it's using high-speed cameras to capture slow motion ... or time-lapse photography to capture the passing of a day or the opening of a flower.

And actually, right here in your back pocket you have a pretty powerful tool that can do basically both of those things.

Most camera phones have slow-motion features and time lapse.

And if you take the time to set it up, you'd be surprised at all the things you can uncover.

I think what I love most about this kind of photography is it reveals a hidden half of nature that you might not normally see in a simple stroll through the woods or even in your own backyard.


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