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Old August 4th, 2006, 03:19 PM   #1
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Beaver footage

I have been out in "beaver-country" trying to shoot some beaverfootage. My experience from this is that it is quite difficult to get good footage of this creature in the wild. It's active only from late night to early dawn when the light isn't good enough. Well, as you can see from the footage I got a few good shoots, but it's generally very shy.

My experience from this trip was that the best way to get close to it, was by going out in a small boat or canoe. In that way you could glide silent on the lake and the beaver accepted your presence. When I was hiding ashore it was much more shy and difficult to get close, even in a hide.

Taking shoots of the youngsters was even more difficult, cause they was hiding until it get dark.

As usual I was using my XL2 camcorder with the 20x lense. In the canoe shoot I used the Ewa Marine underwater housing to protect it from watersplashing. I experienced some difficulties to manage the camcorder during the canoe trip. Especially changing settings (the knobs are very small through the plastic). The framing can also be tricky, its difficult to see the viewfinder.

The beaver close-ups was shoot from a small boat, here I used a my heavy tripod and a 300mm lense with an ef-adapter.

Ok, you can see the result of the trip here:
http://video-film.no/snutter/bever.html

Enjoy
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Old August 5th, 2006, 03:21 AM   #2
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I've been able to get some good beaver shots (stop chuckling, please), in daylight. I've done this from high footbridges that we have over a large river that runs through our town. There are parks near the bridges and the beavers have become accustomed to large numbers of harmless people. They often come out and swim around or climb up on fallen logs to pluck branches from trees. One old beaver became so tame, he would allow you to approach closely in a Kayak. I estimate his weight was about 40 kg. Once, he climbed up an angled log to about 3 meters over the water, then lost his balance and fell in with a big splash. I got this on tape and it never fails to amuse viewers.

There's a small creek that runs between the halves of a long motor parkway in town. A pair of beavers traveled several miles overland to reach it and built a sturdy dam. Hundreds of people, especially children, came to watch them work and when several small kits appeared in the Spring, it became a major attraction. Luckily, I got a lot of footage before it was too late. The Army Corps of Engineers, which manages watersheds, said it would be a threat if a flood occurred. They removed the beavers and bulldozed the dam. Actually, Nature knows better than this. If there was enough high water to cause a problem, a beaver dam would soon wash out and open up the channel.

European beavers may be a bit different than those we have in No. America and have had much longer to evolve a wariness of people.
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Old August 5th, 2006, 05:54 PM   #3
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Closest head shots I've seen Per Johan. Delightful.

Any chance of seeing a bit of your beaver footage Steve?
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Old August 5th, 2006, 06:05 PM   #4
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Thanks Brendan, in fact it was so close that I got some focus problems as you might see.
But this is my challenge, to go out and practise a lot, get a little bit better every time.
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Last edited by Per Johan Naesje; August 5th, 2006 at 06:36 PM.
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Old August 5th, 2006, 06:53 PM   #5
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I have quite a bit of beaver video from very late in the evening just before the light starts to go. There's a period of about half an hour that they come out with enough light left to get decent video. Once the frogs start to sing I know it's time to load up my gear because the light is gone. Those frogs make a great light meter. :)

Over the course of a couple dozen attempts at shooting I came up with some pretty good stuff. I use a 2x lens converter and sometimes an 8x lens converter but it's too hard to keep it focused usually. After I sat in the same spot for a while they became accustomed to me being there and they came very close by to check me out. I don't have any underwater video which would be the best but I have them slapping the water with their tails and I have a lot of video of young beaver. I see that you have some closer shots than I do which I assume you got from the boat. There was a limit on how close they would get to me on the bank. And getting a boat to where I found the beaver I shot would be pretty difficult but I'm sure it could be done. Mainly I was just shooting for fun anyway so I didn't get too concerned about getting any closer.

It seems pretty much a constant with the different groups of beaver that I shot that they come out at about the same time of day. They are mostly nocturnal for sure but there is that half hour zone where I got some pretty good stuff. Maybe I'll post some stuff online here soon.
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Old August 5th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #6
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Per Johan,

I really liked the close up!! very nice footage to be sure.


I try to keep a camera with me all the time as to go anywhere around here means at least 30 miles one way. something always pops up, practice and more practice.
Yesterday I drove 180 miles one way and stumbled into a buck antelope. I will post it.


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Old August 6th, 2006, 12:34 AM   #7
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That's just how I do things Dale. I know I end up abusing my old camera but I want to have it with me when I have a chance to get something good on video. I've got some unusual things by doing that. I caught some coal black racoons on video recently. I thought they were bear at first they were so dark and it was pretty far away.

I'm in the process of uploading a sample of my beaver video. Please keep in mind that this video was converted to DVD then rendered to wmv in this form. It wasn't something where I really needed to keep the original DV format version. This was shot using my Optura 30 using a Sony 2X teleconverter. You can download the video here. It's an 8 meg file. I didn't include any audio to keep the file size down. It's uploading now so it will probably take a while before it's available. My upload speed is pretty slow. If it won't load for you now wait half an hour and try again.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 09:09 AM   #8
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Jeff, even if your video was a little jerky and dark, I can see that the behavior seems to be almost the same as beavers in Norway. I also got some tail splashing but it was too dark to put in my video.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old August 6th, 2006, 01:48 PM   #9
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Yeah I wasn't using a tripod or anything to steady the camera. With the camera zoomed in pretty much all the way with a 2X converter I knew what I was getting wasn't going to be steady. This was just something I was doing for myself and I didn't want to drag my good tripod with me to that remote spot. I keep thinking I will go back and take a tripod. I do have some video I took on a tripod but I didn't get anything good that day. I know the splash in particular was shot pretty late in the day. It was the only good shot I had of that behavior though.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 05:01 PM   #10
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Excellent footage!
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Old September 10th, 2006, 07:12 AM   #11
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Bit Off Too Much

The Beaver that started to take down this cottonwood must have had big aspirations that went sour. This tree is still standing, two years later, despite being badly compromised. However, I've seen cottonwoods near here that were twice this size, that were brought down by beavers. (VX2100 memory-mode shot)
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