Why is My Trail Camera Not Taking Night Pictures?

There’s no doubt that if you’re reading this, you most likely know what a trail camera is; hence, there is no reason to restate what you already know back at you.

However, like every other tech, some challenges may arise with its use. One of the most common issues with a trail camera is the malfunction attached to taking pictures at night.

Imagine a scenario where you set up your camera at the right location at night and you get back in the morning to enjoy the pictures it should have taken, but to your bewilderment, there was nothing. You’re thinking what happened here? What could have been the problem? Why did my trail camera not take pictures last night?

There is no one specific answer to this question; hence, we will look into the probable causes of this malfunction and help you fix the problem, consequently fixing your frustration. However, before we get into those details, why use a trail camera at all?

When I was much younger, I often did not understand how certain pictures of the wild were taken because of the proximity. I grew up to the realization that trail cameras have been beneficial to wildlife photographers and hunters in this way. How so?

Wildlife photography can be quite challenging, especially at night. I found out that most of the perfectly taken pictures of the wild were trail camera shots. You must also consider the danger that some areas hold. Besides, you also don’t have to worry about disturbing the animals, lest you lose them.

Hunters make use of this camera to track movements of the wild throughout the year until hunting season is nigh. Hunters get to know the number of animals passing through an area at a particular time; that way, they get to monitor without alarming them.

Why is my Trail Camera Not Taking Night Pictures and What to Do?

Like I’ve earlier opined, this is one of the frequent difficulties encountered with trail cameras. Interestingly, the problems are easily diagnosable and the solutions are easy. Perhaps your trail camera is rather taking dark photos; this guide is also for you. The probable causes include:

Trail Camera Not Taking Night Pictures

Battery Issues

Trail cameras run on battery; so, when you have a malfunction in taking pictures, you need to check if the battery juice has not completely depleted. Most designs trip off automatically when battery power has been completely used up. Sometimes, the issue you may have is the rapid depletion of battery power. What could be wrong and what should you do?

First off, while the idea of using rechargeable batteries seems convenient, it is inappropriate for trail cameras. Why? In a few words, they have a lower voltage. Besides, charging them is a critical issue as cheap chargers often ruin their durability by somewhat overcharging the batteries.

A better choice of battery for your trail camera is the lithium or alkaline type. However, if you’re going for the rechargeable batteries, ensure to cross-check the spec to ensure they are fitting for your camera. In addition, a smart charger is better for charging rechargeable batteries.

One other reason why cheap batteries are not appropriate for trail cameras is that they are not the best choice during the cold weather, seeing they often get depleted of their power too soon.

You should rather use batteries recommended by the manufacturer or trusted branded batteries for your camera.

How many modes do you set for your trail camera? Sometimes, the issue is not the quality of your battery, but your camera setting consumes too much power. You should set up your camera such that it only captures the photos and videos you want.

Trigger Settings

The trigger setting is the time set for the camera that determines how fast it takes a picture the instant it picks up motion. The downside to it is the faster you set the trigger time the less precise the camera becomes; this is called a false trigger.

Due to too sensitive PIR sensors, the camera tends to capture blank pictures having mistaken insignificant things for heat and motions in front of its lens.

As a result of these hundreds of blank pictures, other complications occur, such as your SD card fills up too quickly (which is an issue we will discuss later) and your battery power is too quickly consumed.

How do you prevent false triggers? First off, adjust the PIR settings and tone down the sensitivity of the trail camera. Other pointers include avoiding direct sunlight and ensuring there are no overlying branches; mount the camera on a sturdy tree.

SD Card Issues

There are three issues you can have with your SD card:

A full memory card should not be expected to save any more pictures or videos; a problem easy to deal with simply by freeing up some space either by deleting unwanted pictures or complete formatting (having transferred wanted files to an external memory device).

SD Card Issues

Purchasing an SD card recommended by the manufacturer is the most appropriate choice; otherwise, you’re looking at a sudden stop of your cheap SD card, or which, in some cases, may cause rapid consumption of battery power.

Different trail cameras come with their manual; hence, you want to be sure you’re positioning your SD card right lest you have only placed a loaded cartridge in your pocket instead of a gun.

Environmental Sensitivity

If you are not a newbie to using trail cameras, you’ll agree that the position affects its operation. You should know that trail camera use heat, motions, and trigger sensors to function.

So, should you place the camera due east or west, direct sunlight may affect the lens’ ability to properly detect motion, thereby failing to take pictures.

Weather, extremely hot or cold days, can affect the camera’s detection as it shortens the detection range, especially on hot days. Cold days, however, may afford the camera the ability to pick up photos from long distances.

To wrap this up, a practical thing you must have in mind is that there is usually a decent difference between day and night shots. Under no circumstance should you compare both!

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