Canon DSLR destroyed by Leafcutter ants in overnight wildlife shoot in the Amazon rainforest

Jun 9, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Canon DSLR destroyed by Leafcutter ants in overnight wildlife shoot in the Amazon rainforest

Jun 9, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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7d_vs_nature

When entomologist Phil Torres, along with wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer, set up a Canon 7D and infrared sensor in the Amazon rainforest to get some shots of a jaguar or other wildlife at night, they hoped they’d thought of everything.

As it turns out, the local leafcutter ant population had very different ideas.  After chewing up much of their protection measures, the ultimate demise of the electronic equipment was caused by the weather.

YouTube video

The video, posted to the Jungled Diaries YouTube channel back in February, just goes to show that even if you have shot wildlife for years, and produced work for the likes of National Geographic and Discovery Channel, as Jeff has, nature always presents us with new challenges that we must overcome.

As photographers, we are always learning how to overcome such issues.  While our goal is to create photographs, we are primarily problem solvers.  Hopefully, not all of those lessons we learn will be quite so expensive.

You may be sitting there thinking “Well, just use weather sealed equipment instead of an 18-55mm kit lens“, but after seeing this recent image on Jeff’s twitter feed, one can understand why that may not actually offer much protection at all against wilful insects.

After the ants chewed through a couple of tripods, the Infrared sensor, a drybag, and parts of the camera itself, along with rain damage to other equipment, the total cost was estimated to be around $3,000.

The camera may actually be the more recent 7D Mark II, as the list in the end credits values the camera at $1500, which is a lot closer to the price of the Mark II than the original 7D.  Update: Jeff has confirmed that this was the original 7D, and that the footage was originally recorded two years ago.

Fortunately, however, the pair did have some success, and managed to capture a few shots of some very cool and unusual wildlife.

Have you or your equipment been thwarted by nature on any of your shoots?  Or were you able to anticipate and overcome?  What do you do to protect your gear out in the wild?  Let us know in the comments.

[via Reddit]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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18 responses to “Canon DSLR destroyed by Leafcutter ants in overnight wildlife shoot in the Amazon rainforest”

  1. Dan K Avatar
    Dan K

    Leaf cutter ants have nothing on a five year-old.

    1. Chris Rogers Avatar
      Chris Rogers

      HAHAHAHA! This is true! Man my nephews are about as bad as doomsday XD

  2. Michele M. Ferrario Avatar
    Michele M. Ferrario

    Canon ¯_(ツ)_/¯ next time bring a Pentax for Pentax work.

    1. Chris Rogers Avatar
      Chris Rogers

      This ^^^^

  3. eblanken Avatar
    eblanken

    The twitter photo in the post shows a 6D body.

  4. Glen Strong Avatar
    Glen Strong

    Anyone look at the videos subtitles? They’re completely wrong! Half of the dialogue is incomprehensible! I’ve seen this tyoe of aubtitling before once and it was the same, some words and sentinces are nowhere near what the narrator is saying!

    1. nace zavrl Avatar
      nace zavrl

      yt videos have always wrong subs if autotranslated

  5. Glen Strong Avatar
    Glen Strong

    *type of subtitling* (won’t let me edit my post)

  6. Cam-Fi Avatar
    Cam-Fi

    Nature can be wild!

  7. Çağatay Belgen Avatar
    Çağatay Belgen

    “photographers” get very creative to get noticed these days.

  8. Stephen Schickedanz Avatar
    Stephen Schickedanz

    misleading headline is misleading…

  9. Tim Hasl Avatar
    Tim Hasl

    ?

  10. Charlie Muller Avatar
    Charlie Muller

    it’s common practice to cry wolf these days for headlines

    1. jscremer Avatar
      jscremer

      Agreed. The camera wasn’t destroyed. The ants just ate some of the rubber off the camera body then it got rained on all night. The camera still works and I debut to this day. Also, the video was filmed around 2 years ago not in Feb. I used a 7D back then but recently I’ve been using a 6D as well as the same 7D that’s in the video.

  11. Carol Lang Avatar
    Carol Lang

    Sharon Fitch

  12. Daniel Orr Avatar
    Daniel Orr

    Scott Carr

  13. Carl P. Mudgen Avatar
    Carl P. Mudgen

    He says the camera still works and it cleaned up with alcohol and a toothbrush… how does this equate to “destroyed?”

  14. storm17 Avatar
    storm17

    Should have used a Pentax.