The last Saturday of October was the perfect opportunity to explore Halloween myths.   With the support of Gordon and Cindy (Hooper’s Horizons), the challenge was set for an early Halloween experience.  About 21 photographers of the Centurion Camera Club participated in the opportunity to capture in the wild, the natural flight behavior of bats.  The photographic set up was assembled and all the various camera’s and angles were covered.  Is the lens cap off?  Is camera in focus?  What is the f stop? Is camera pointing in the right direction?  Then the wait….

Just after sundown, the bats started to exit the cave.  With tens of thousands of bats exiting – the photography trigger was placed to the side of the primary entrance.  This was to reduce any possible effects that flashes could have to bats attempting to exit the small entrance to the cave.    Thousands of bats flying out the cave – but few bats triggering the system.  Flying up and out the cave, above and around the trigger system.  What now…? but as it got darker – so the flashes started to fire –triggered by the bats.  Seeing all the photographers with camera’s – many of the bats using eye sight were flying up and over the mass of individuals.  But as it got darker – so the bats switch to using echolocation.  This means that bats were flying lower to the ground as they needed to be much closer before the bats could detect the photographers.

Of the four cave bat species that are known to occur at the site – the migratory Natal Long-fingered Bat (Miniopterus natalensis) was the star for this Halloween.  It is hoped that photographers got a nice images of these bats in the wild.  In addition, an apparition that these are wild animals and do not always do what we would like them to do.

We hope that this photography event becomes an annual event for Halloween.  With the purpose to assist with dispelling the various myths about bats.  Having the public participate in wildlife photography – capturing these amazing creatures of the night.  Allowing various photographers to interact with colleagues and friends about these amazing animals that so few have the opportunity to see up close.  Share images of naturally flying bats to show case these nocturnal flying predators of the night.

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