There is a big problem when you set up trail cameras: People know that they are there. And people don’t like it when you take pictures of them and record their activities. So how can we solve this problem and still get great images?
Build a fake trail camera! Here’s how:
What you need:
– A plastic bottle (the bigger the better)
– Some twigs or small trees/bushes
– Duct tape or any other kind of strong tape (if your bottle is transparent) and some wood glue if your bottle is not transparent.
I picked up an empty 7up bottle from my dad after he got back from a holiday in France. I thought it would be the perfect shape for my fake camera. You can use any other bottles or shapes that you think look similar to a trail camera.
First cut off the top of the bottle so you have an opening big enough for your lens and flash, but small enough to not let too much light out when you are taking pictures at night. Leave about 3 cm on top of your bottle so you still have something to tape on later (see pictures).
Next, take some twigs or branches and glue them into the inside of your bottle (this also works with solid objects like pens, etc.). Make sure they sit firmly against each other and leave no gaps between them!
Now you can start taping! I covered the small opening on top of my bottle with cardboard, attached this to the rest of the bottle using duct tape, and made some kind of strap out of black electrical tape.
That’s basically it! You can put your camera in front (facing backward) or behind (facing forwards) the branch wall. The further forward it is, the more likely people are to see it while still making sure that they don’t touch your lens when they walk past.
If you want to create a complete wood look, then I would suggest painting everything brown or green so no one will know what it really is under there until it has already taken their picture. If you just use black electrical tape for example, then people will see that something is off about your camera.
You can also make the entire bottle more rigid by putting some kind of wire inside it instead of using twigs or branches. That way you don’t need to glue it at all, but make sure there’s enough space between the wires for your lens and flash (if they are too narrow then they might show up in your last picture).
If you want to be really sneaky then I would suggest getting an extra battery for this thing so that you don’t have to go back to check if your batteries are full after each use. Of course, you could always just fill up two bottles with batteries and put them next to each other…
Hint: If you can buy one of those motion-sensor things for your bottle, then you could probably use it as a fake hidden camera because most people won’t touch an unknown object if they think it will take their picture.
I hope this was helpful to some of you! If you have any questions or know how to make better fake cameras then please write them in the comment section below.
– Can I put my real camera in a bottle like this?
No, you can’t. The opening on the top is too small and there’s not enough air inside for your camera to function properly (which can ruin your whole day if you’ve set up everything). Plus the risk of it getting wet might be too high.
– Can’t I just use a stick or something?
Sure thing! If you want to make something very quick and simple then go ahead and do that! But I like having things look more legit and decided that using an actual bottle made out of transparent plastic would be easier than disguising a stick into looking like a camera (though it probably wouldn’t take much effort whatsoever).
– The label on my bottle has this yellow thing around the writing. Will that show up in the pictures?
No, because it’s basically just a solid color and not an actual object. Just make sure to cover everything with black electrical tape so no one will be able to tell what your camera really is until it’s too late.
– How long does the battery last when used all night?
I’m using Eneloop batteries (because they are great) so I can’t say how much longer your regular ones will last compared to mine. But you should definitely bring extra batteries if you plan on putting your bottle somewhere outside for more than 48 hours. It can take quite a while before someone notices/steals your hidden camera, so make sure you have everything covered!