November 2, 2022

Filming Puma in the Dark of Night

Leonardo’s thermal imagery technology is being used not only for military and scientific purposes but also for nighttime wildlife photography.

Photographer Helen Hobin traveled to the Estancia Laguna Amarga, a private ranch bordering the Torres del Paine National Park, to film pumas hunting at night. To do this, they used thermal technology cameras using Leonardo's SuperHawk infrared detector designed more for scientific or military use than fieldwork, but which gave them an extraordinary insight into events taking place within pitch black landscape.

With the help of thermal drones and thermal cameras, Hodin's team was able to scan landscapes quickly for heat signatures. If something was spotted moving, they would watch to see what kind of animal it was. When they got lucky and could actually start filming, the monitor screen of the thermal camera was the only insight into the events unfolding since there is no peripheral vision in this environment, allowing the team to capture the intended images and video. The team's guide summed up the experience of shooting in the dark - "It's like filming on the moon or underwater - a totally different world, an alien landscape".

Thermal Imaging technology was a helpful resource as it allowed the team to watch hunting pumas and their prey (skittish guanacos) move within meters of each other unknowingly and capture photos at night without the need for any artificial lighting. Learn more about how Thermal Imaging allowed Hodin's team to film at night.