Made a great connection recently with a group called The Organization for Bat Conversation. The OBC is located at The Cranbrook Institute here in Michigan. The OBC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserves bats and their habitat through education, collaboration, and research. You can visit the website here: http://www.batconservation.org/index.html.
I really like collaborations like this because it is a win win situation for everyone involved. The organization gets the use of my photographs to help them get their message out to the public, and I get unprecedented access to the bats as well as a studio in which to work. A friend and I spent many days working with the bats and either one of the directors Rob Mies or the head handler Jessie to help handle the bats. We shot either in the studio we built or, on one occasion we made a field trip to Belle Isle, a local botanical garden to shoot the bats on different types of vegetation. Spending as much time as we did with the bats, I was surprised by how intelligent these animals were. Each of the different species and individuals had different personalities and traits.
Here are some of the images I made. This first bat is a Straw-colored Fruit Bat. In the second image, the bat is on a fig tree which is one of the things this bat eats.
This next bat is the Rodrigues Bat (also known as the Golden Bat). The Rodrigues Bat is one of the most endangered bats in the world. Rodrigues bats are found only on the small island of Rodrigues, which is located in the Indian Ocean. The main reason they endangered is loss of habitat due to deforestation. They are very cute bats with a face like a teddy bear.
This next shot is of a Dog-faced Bat.
This last picture is the Malaysian Flying Fox with a wing span of nearly six feet. This is the world’s largest bat. Unfortunately, this beautiful creature is also in danger of extinction due to of all things hunting pressure. In Malaysia, these bats are hunted for food, medicine and sport. The government is being urged to ban this activity.
Of course I spent some time photographing these bats in flight using high-speed flash, I will try to get some of those up in my next post.