Using Trail Cameras to Photograph Elusive Animals

Photo of a fisher, a small member of the weasel family, walking across snow-covered ground at night. Behind it is a pile of tree limbs laying on the ground. The elusive fisher is hard to find and photograph. © Mark Hendricks
The elusive fisher is hard to find and photograph. © Mark Hendricks

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Trail cameras, also known as trail cams and camera traps, can be a great way of capturing images of elusive animals, as well as candid photos of more common critters. Getting started requires a fair amount of gear, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. And, like almost anything in photography these days, there’s a bit of a learning curve. I recently spoke with Maryland-based nature photographer Mark Hendricks about how and why he uses trail cams.

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Father’s Day Reflections of a Nature Photographer

photo of young girl scanning the tree canopy for birds.
Scanning the tree canopy for birds.

Story and photos by Mark Hendricks

“Teakettle, teakettle, teakettle.”

Ah, the joyous song of a Carolina wren serenades me on my back deck. One of my favorite harbingers of spring, I find its song eloquent and welcoming.

On cue, the rhythmic tapping of footsteps pair to the song. “Tap-a-tap-a-tap.” “Teakettle, teakettle, teakettle.” “Tap-a-tap-a-tap.”

“Papa, pajarito (translation “little bird)!” exclaims my two-year-old daughter Liliana, who just absolutely adores birdsong, and continued to tap along to the avian symphony. Later a brilliant male cardinal arrived singing on a low-hanging branch of tulip poplar. Each time the cardinal sings Liliana hops to the sounds.

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