New Brunswick

Nature photographer spent months waiting for the perfect lynx photo

New Brunswick nature photographer Arielle DeMerchant played candid camera cat and mouse with a lynx all the way back to last November before nabbing a remarkable photo this spring.

Good light and the lynx's penetrating stare result in stand-out shot caught by trail-side camera

Arielle DeMerchant captured this lynx looking straight at her camera after months of trying to get the right shot. She rigged up a DSLR camera with a motion sensor in a wooded area near Scotch Lake. (Arielle DeMerchant Nature Photography)

Nature photographer Arielle DeMerchant has been playing candid camera cat and mouse with a pretty big cat since last November.

After months of observing a lynx on trail cameras she set up near Scotch Lake, about 30 kilometres north of Fredericton, she finally landed her dream shot April 23.

Stunning lynx photo taken near Mactaquac

6 years ago
Duration 0:30
Nature photographer Arielle DeMerchant spent months waiting for the perfect photo of this lynx. (Credit: Arielle DeMerchant Nature Photography)

New Brunswick-based DeMerchant tries to observe animals in their natural habitat as part of her hobby. She looks for behaviour that humans wouldn't see if present in person to startle the animal.

She started out looking for coyotes in the area, but things got a bit more interesting when a certain wild cat started appearing on the scene.

"I didn't at all expect I would get a lynx."

The right gear for the job

DeMerchant picked this particular spot because of a deer carcass that she expected would attract scavengers.

She caught the lynx feeding and then returning to sniff the bones on her trail camera once or twice a month through the winter.
DeMerchant picked this spot to place her camera because the deer carcass would attract animals. The lynx took the bait and even returned several times after picking over the remains to sniff the bones. (Arielle DeMerchant Nature Photography)

Over Christmas she worked on a technique she saw on the internet to photograph animals in their natural habitat.

She took a "low-end" DSLR camera, a $200 motion sensor and two external flashes and then waterproofed them with Tupperware. A coat of camouflaging paint later and she had a rig ready to catch her elusive subject in its element.

The gear sat in the wild for weeks at a time without getting damaged.

The waiting is the hardest part

After checking her camera roughly every five days into the spring, DeMerchant eventually hit the jackpot.

"I almost had a heart attack when I checked it and saw it," she said.

She says the photo is a fortunate confluence of good light, a fortuitous glance from the lynx and a quick pass through Adobe Lightroom.

"It's just that gaze in its eyes, looking so intently at the camera. It really took me aback," she said of the lynx's reaction.

It's now her personal favourite, supplanting a prized puffin shot taken on Machias Seal Island.
A less glamorous shot of our photogenic lynx taken by one of Arielle DeMerchant's trail cameras. (Submitted by Arielle DeMerchant Nature Photography)

DeMerchant has made photography trips to Iceland and Alberta, but spends most of her time looking for subjects within an hour's drive of Fredericton.

"I like to get off the beaten path as much as I can. It's always nice to be near water features," she said. "It seems to have helped my success."

She hopes she will have another encounter with her new favourite subject before too long.

"Can't stop now," she laughed.