Getting photographs of wild animals up close can be difficult as most times your presence will spook the animals, change their behaviour, or will just prevent them from coming close to the camera in the first place.

These is where a camera trap comes in, they are often called motion triggers or wildlife traps and basically they are either motion / movement sensors, or trip beams that when the Detect a break in the beam (or movement) they send a signal to the camera to trigger. Most of these devices are fairly simple in that the trigger the camera as if the button was pressed, but they don't have two way feedback with the camera, so you need to set the appropriate settings in advance.

The benefit of this is that the devices can be set up, and you don't need to wait by the camera for them to do their magic, you just set the camera settings, possibly add a flash and get the scene set up and leave it to do its magic.

There are multiple camera traps, the most common being the MIOPs Smart, or the Pluto Trigger which both have motion sensors in them (but there are also dedicated wildlife trap devices). Note some camera triggers can detect changes in light like lightning but not specifically motion so you should always double check.

In the photo below, I wanted to do a simple test of a wide angle lens, the Pluto trigger and the Sony A7R 4. The scene is not as good as it could be but the purpose was really to test the setup. To do so I put the camera on a Platypod Max (on the ground) and put some bird seed in front of the camera, turned on the trigger and waited.

This image was captured on 10/9/2023 (before I got Vertigo which is awful), it was photographed with a Sony ILCE-7RM4 and 14mm F1.4 DG DN | Art 023 @ 14 mm, ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at ƒ / 8.0, ISO 2000, image was edited in Lightroom CC and Topaz Photo AI.

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