The basic explanation of a thermal camera’s function is that these devices are used to produce images that show the heat around what the camera lens sees; in more technical terms, the thermal camera detects the IR radiation given off by an object, processes this information via complex algorithms and coverts the heat map into a visual image.
In the case of detecting wildlife, thermal imaging systems are particularly effective because they aren’t affected by darkness or adverse conditions such as fog, rain and even snow. The thermal camera can be used to see through all of these things because it doens’t need visible light in order to operate; instead it works to spot the IR radiation that the lens can detect and – since an animal will generally put out a lot of heat via IR emissivity – detecting the animal in question is easy because their thermal signature will clearly be displayed on the device. This makes all the difference between detecting an animal and them remaining hidden.
thermal cameras are great tools for seeing through complete darkness to detect body heat. They are also equally effective in bright sunlight; since they don’t rely on the use of visible light to make an image, darkness or daytime don’t have any effect whatsoever on the camera’s abilities. Many animals can easily remain hidden during the daytime, so this technology proves extremely effective when out in the field.
The same principle applies to the weather. If an area was completely choked with thick fog, the thermal camera would be able to be used in order to see through the area. It can also be used in rain, snow and various other weather conditions to see where you are going and also detect the presence of heat signatures nearby. These devices even work in extreme sunlight, again because they aren’t affected by visible light.