As many readers will know by now, I really do like walking in the desert, for all kinds of reasons. I’m not the world’s greatest animal lover and I certainly don’t go to the desert specifically to look at the wildlife, but even so, if you tread carefully and quietly it’s amazing what you can see.
Still, it seems you rarely get close enough to take a really nice picture, unless as in the case below your faithful companion actually manages to (very, very gently) pick up the thing.
That’s a horned toad, and certain species defend themselves by shooting blood from their eyes, but I guess this one was from another species, for which I was essentially grateful, though it must be quite a thing to see.
And recently I came across this from Popular Science, March 1931:
Arthur N. Pack, I discover, was a very serious and highly respected naturalist, but even so, I couldn't, still can't, believe that anybody could see him in this cactus costume without falling about laughing. And in any case I wasn’t sure how it actually worked. It struck me that both walking and seeing would be fairly difficult inside of that thing. I assumed there had to be eyeholes but they’d surely give you a very limited view of the world. And I had even less idea how you’d wield a camera.
Anyway, the Internet being what it is, I found this article (above and below) about Mr. Peck’s desert walking and photography, in an issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions, As with Popular Science, the magazine seems more interested in the apparatus than the end result: the cutaway image shows you more detail of how it supposedly worked.
I still think it’d be pretty hard to take pictures from inside a fake cactus, especially since the camera looks to be fixed and immovable, though it does seem that Mr. Pack managed to take some pretty good, intimate photographs of desert critters. But I absolutely don’t see how he could have taken those photographs at ground level. Maybe he had a faithful companion, who perhaps dressed as a rock.