How to Spot a Nocturnal Animal for Photo

Night photography is a complicated thing and requires thorough preparation and properly selected equipment. Before you manage to take a photo of a nocturnal animal, you need to encounter some first. This can be done with a spotlight or a thermal night scope. Look at the peculiarities of both means and opt for the most convenient one. 


The cheap way to spot the animals at night is to use various kinds of spotlights. You need to walk or drive along the path or trail with powerful spotlights on to notice the movement in the bush or animals’ eyes reflection. 

When selecting the right spotlight pay attention to power and beamwidth. It is recommended to exploit a spotlight with 3000 lumens power. The beam is to be narrow for you to direct the concentrated beam of light at the animal and take a high-quality photo. 

You can select different types of spotlights as well:

  • Hand spotlight;
  • Head spotlight;
  • Camera-adjusted spotlight;
  • Car beams. 

Yet, it is even more advisable to have several devices at hand so that you can react really fast and take a good photo. 

Thermal Imaging

The thermal scope is a better option to spot an animal since it has a different working principle. Thermal imaging devices catch the heat the animal body radiates and disposes it on the screen or lenses.

Yet, the serious issue is that you can’t tell the exact distance to the object. So, it will be difficult to distinguish between a distant large animal or smaller and close one. 

Additionally, thermal imagers are usually expensive,  but certainly worth it.

The best option is to combine both options: thermal imager for spotting an animal and a spotlight for getting more info about its location before taking a photo. 

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