Trail cameras are excellent tools to capture remote images from the great outdoors.
A trail camera is used when the photographer cannot be physically located with the device at the time and place of the desired photos.
For wildlife photography, trail cameras open up a world of possibilities. They’re utilised by biologists, hunters, and other professionals and hobbyists. Beyond wildlife photography, trail cameras are used for various purposes, such as property surveillance.
We can’t sit forever in one place waiting for something to happen — but a well-placed camera can.
Of course, for the cameras to deliver any measure of success, some impressive technology is required. Trail cameras need to work when and how we want them to. And they need to be powered on when the moment arrives.
Here at The Spy Store, we know that when it comes to surveillance-related gadgets, dependability is essential. We’re also aware of how complex the hardware may seem.
So, let’s explore everything you need to know if you’re shopping for trail cameras. Learn all about what a trail camera is capable of and what to look for when making a purchase.
How Do Trail Cameras Work?
A trail camera, also known as a game camera, wildlife camera, or scout camera, is set up initially then left in place. Photos are either saved to an SD card or transmitted online.
These cameras are typically placed somewhere outdoors where you want to capture images while you aren’t around.
Trail cameras need to stay powered for an extended period. This is accomplished through batteries, solar power, or a combination of both.
However, you only want the camera to be shooting when something of interest is happening. For wildlife monitoring, the goal is usually to capture images of certain animals. Trail camera users want to know what species are present in a given area.
So, the cameras are typically triggered by a motion sensor. When movement occurs in front of the lens, a photo is automatically taken. Some wildlife cameras additionally utilise heat sensors.
That means that a camera left in place for an extended period will mostly sit dormant. But, it can capture a series of images over time that tell a story of the local wildlife activity.
This provides an intimate and informative peek into the area. That’s why trail cameras are highly valued by hunters, researchers, and wildlife enthusiasts alike.
Some trail cameras even have time-lapse capabilities.
Time-Lapse Photos Taken With Wildlife Cameras
Time-lapse photography involves taking a series of images at given time intervals.
The images can then be viewed as a video to show changes over time. This allows us to examine processes, such as a flower blooming, that actually occur too slowly to view in real-time.
Trail cameras with this feature can capture gradual changes in the natural world, such as a stream filling and drying. This technique is as valued for artistic purposes as it is for gathering data.
What Are Trail Cameras Used For?
There are many instances when it’s helpful to have a set of digital “eyes” keeping watch over a wildlife area. These include scientific research, pest management, and hunt scouting.
The basic utility of a wildlife camera is to place it in an outdoor area to monitor animal activity. However, the uses of trail cameras have grown over time.
Trail cameras are sometimes used for construction time-lapse photography, sports photography, or as farm security cameras.
Though for them to work properly, it’s important that they’re set up correctly.
How to Set up Trail Cameras
Trail cameras need to be properly placed to obtain the desired results.
Pro tip: be sure to charge your battery and adjust your settings before leaving home.
Cameras are typically placed on trees or other foundations that provide a good view of the desired area. They can be attached to the foundation with straps.
If you’re using a tree trunk, select one that’s at least ten inches thick. That way, your photographs won’t be ruined by the trunk swaying in the wind.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind when placing trail cameras for wildlife viewing:
- Place the camera near a food or water source. That way, you’re more likely to capture a stable image, as animals will linger in these spots. However, don’t face the camera directly at a water source if the water’s movement triggers the motion sensor.
- Don’t aim the camera at the rising or setting sun. This could affect photo resolution, and could also trip motion sensors that respond to changes in temperatures.
- Mount the camera at a similar height to the animal species that you’d like to photograph. For example, set it up close to ground level if you’re looking for reptiles or small mammals.
- Wear gloves to prevent your scent from lingering on the camera.
- Clear shrubs and debris from the viewing area. This opens up your photo space. It also prevents wind-blown material from triggering the motion sensors.
Finally, be sure to take a test photo before you leave.
Are you worried about the camera being stolen? Secure it tightly with steel straps. Also, make a note of your camera’s unique serial number. That number can help you reclaim the camera in case it goes missing.
For additional tips on how to set up trail cameras, take a look at this snapshot of all you need to know.
But now, let’s take a look at what to look for when purchasing a camera.
What to Look for in Trail Cameras
Trail cameras are pretty high-tech. So, the quality and features will vary from model to model.
Here are some factors to consider when you’re checking out different trail cameras:
- Power source. How long will the batteries last? Is solar power also an option?
- Connectivity. Does the camera transmit photos over 3G and 4G networks?
- Camera specifications. Consider the frames per second (fps), lens model, trigger speed, LCD, and other unique features.
- Audio and video. Some cameras only capture still images, while others can record audio and video.
- Night vision. Can the camera provide high-quality, low-glow resolution in low lighting?
- Time-lapse photography. Do the camera settings include this feature?
While extra features are nice to have, what’s most important is reliability. Invest in a camera that is durable and consistently delivers high-resolution photos.
The 4G Trail Camera
4G Trail Camera
For an innovative wildlife camera with all of the features you’re looking for, check out the 4G Trail Camera.
This model will take your remote photography to the next level.
By connecting to both the 3G and 4G networks, you have complete access to the camera at all times.
When a photo is taken, you’ll get an instant alert sent to your email address or phone.
Whether you’re using the camera for hunting, surveillance, or research, this level of instant access is a game-changer.
4G trail cameras utilise battery and solar power.
4G Trail Camera
As shown above, you can mount your solar panel discreetly alongside the camera. This extends the battery life indefinitely. Once you’ve got your camera situated, you won’t need to worry about replacing the batteries or losing connection.
Here are a few more of our favourite features:
- Durable, weatherproof case and camouflage design
- Nighttime function for reduced blur and glow
- Time-lapse photography function
- Refined motion sensor to save battery life and avoid “false alarm” photos
- High, medium, or low sensitivity motion sensor settings
- Audio and video capability
- Date and time stamp on all images
- 0.35-second trigger speed
Thanks to solar power, network connectivity, and advanced features, trail cameras can do more than ever before.
Shop for 4G trail cameras and additional accessories from The Spy Store today.