Customer Blog: Why I use IR Cameras for Outdoor Surveillance
Customer Blog: Why use IR Cameras for
This is one, of what we hope to be many, of our customer blogs. If you have a story to share or a
security topic that you would like to discuss, please feel free to email us at
About 13 years ago I moved from the city to the country, planning for a growing family and hoping
for a little more elbow room between houses. Another reason for the move, also important to me,
was that the night sky was darker in my new town, due to the fact there were hardly any
streetlights, billboard lights, or close shopping malls with their glaring un-shielded parking lot lights!
Before you guess that I may be a vampire who hides from the bright rays of the sun at dawn, I
must confess, I’m a different kind of worshiper of the dark night; I’m an amateur astronomer.
So what does all this have to do with infra-red (IR) cameras? To a stargazer who’s also concerned
with home security, it is everything! Instead of using energy wasting constant floodlighting to
illuminate my home at night, an IR camera is a wonderful home security tool that sees through the
dark without causing the loss of “dark adaptation” or dark accustomed vision, so precious to those
of us wanting to view the natural wonders of the starry heavens, like the Milky Way, comets,
meteors, auroras, and many other wonders of space.
The specific name for this more than annoying viewing problem that deprives us of the beauty of
the night sky is “light pollution.” Energy wasting, improperly directed (mostly upward directed) light
fixtures are causing automobile and pedestrian accidents and, as in my case, taking much of the
viewing pleasure from backyard astronomers trying to enjoy their hobby.
If you live in a light polluted area, this is why you can’t see as many stars in your backyard sky as
you can when you visit an area with minimal outdoor lighting. Do you know there is more than one
generation of city dwelling children who have NEVER experienced a dark sky filled with stars?
It’s sad to think anyone growing up in such an environment may never be touched by the true
beauty of the sky after sunset. That beauty is always there, even in the city, but unfortunately
blocked by poorly designed light fixtures. The cost of the energy wasted each year in the name of
light pollution exceeds $3 M.
My outdoor security cameras, all IR wavelength lighting equipped, allow me to see in total
darkness. When I’m done stargazing with my telescope I turn on my motion detector floodlights.
Yes, these are bright and annoying but only go on during that critical moment when an intruder
enters the property (usually a neighbor cat, thank goodness!).
The trespasser, human or not, is quite startled under this sudden light condition, believe me! These
cameras provide a great sense of well-being with their night vision capabilities. I also never receive
a call from neighbors complaining of floodlights shining in their bedroom windows.
Perhaps the designers of IR security cameras were never thinking of preserving starlight
for “astro-geeks,” as we fondly call ourselves. That’s perfectly fine. I still feel a need to
express appreciation for an excellent product that even inadvertently, helps to preserve a
natural resource as important as the night sky and helps in the fight against light
If you are interested in helping fight light pollution where you live, contact the International Dark
Sky Association at http://www.darksky.org for more information