Conservation filmmaker Jeff Wirth had been exploring a wetland created by beavers close by his home when he discovered a large fallen tree. On top of it, some bobcats had left a few logs of their own and so Wirth decided to set up a camera trap facing the site in the hopes of catching a few on camera (the cats, not their... deposits).
Once a week he would return to the camera to check for signs of activity and refresh the batteries. During this time a few animals dropped by the tree, including raccoons, weasels, several birds, and even the sought-after bobcat, but Wirth still hadn’t got the photo he was after. The next time he returned, an unexpected photo shoot had unfolded in his absence.
“When I went to check the camera a couple days ago the first sequence of images I saw were those of a surprise visitor that made me smile ear to ear and laugh to myself alone in the forest,” Wirth told IFLScience in an interview. “It was a mystery visitor, but this time, in human form! I never get humans on camera, so this was interesting. As you may notice, he was not camera shy to say the least. He hammed it up pretty good and left me with a sequence of seven images in a variety of poses. I posted an image on Facebook for my friends to see and it took off!”
The photoshoot has since been a viral sensation, making it to the front page of Reddit and gathering attention from news outlets across the globe. In a time of unending doom and gloom, it appears we can all use a little bit of fierceness in our lives and the chap in these photos is dripping with the stuff. The story has taken off to such an extent that the unidentified star has been found, but in respect of his art, we’ll maintain his anonymity. A bit like Banksy.
Classically, once the photos began to circulate the Internet kindly did what the Internet does best, and there have been some great modifications to Wirth’s already fantastic photos. Any Animorphs fans out there?
By trade, Jeff Wirth creates video and photo work for conservation groups around North America and has an extensive portfolio of images from his time tracking cougars, wolves, and bears. “That being said,” said Wirth, “this was my first time photographing a human!"
Currently, Wirth has joined forces with a new conservation group called Echo Conservation Society based out of British Columbia, Canada, working across an Endangered Species campaign and mountain lion campaign. We wish him all the best in securing more great footage of his focus species, but if he happens upon any more hikers with attitude, well, we’d be down for that too.