Remote control photography???

Discussion in 'Nature' started by jose_carlos, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. I want to take photographs of animals at night and am planning on
    setting up my camera on a tripod with flash next to a path frequently
    used by animals. The idea is for something to come along, trip the
    switch and fire the camera. I want to be able to set it up, go away
    and leave the camera, then come back to it the following morning. I
    have never done anything like this before so could someone please
    tell me what I need? Do I need the LC3/LC4 wireless remote
    controller?
     
  2. Everything you need can be found at kapture . Other places also sell this type of equipment. Plans also exist on the internet for building these remote capture devices from scratch.
     
  3. Since you mentioned LC3/4, I guess you shoot Canon?? SO, can't help you there, but IF the LC3/4 is the Canon equivalent of the Nikon ML-3 (which I have), then yes, that is the way to go.

    With the ML-3, you set the transmitter to the correct mode and mount it on one tripod and the receiver and SLR on another tripod.

    The shutter trips when the IR beam between the 2 tripods is broken -- you can do this in single shot mode or continious shooting mode, as set on the SLR.

    Some lag if the camera has to AF, and/or the flash has to "wake up."

    Good luck!!!
     
  4. ... IR beam between the 2 tripods...
    Of course I meant the IR beam between the transmitter and receiver....
     
  5. KL 1X, thankyou for your reply - it's a big help! Yes, I shoot with a Canon 1V so I would need the LC4 controller. Tell me, what success have you had using a transmitter and receiver?
     
  6. Jose, This doesn't add any technical info, but I thought you might enjoy viewing this site.

    http://www.oregonwild.com/Cameratrap1.html

    They featured this photographer's work on a local PBS program. Good luck!
     
  7. Tell me, what success have you had using a transmitter and receiver? In my backyard, with my dog, I've had some success, but that's an extremely controlled environment.
    In the field, I haven't had much luck -- on the rare occasions that animals do go through, the framing will be way off, or my AF won't be fast enough or (in MF) won't be in focus or flash triggers too late.
    Hint: make sure you have adequate DOF.
    Good luck!!!
     
  8. I use an ML3 quite a bit and everything seems to work very well. Its quite hit and miss with what you get pictures of though. If you use MF and make the gap between the sender and reciever as small as possible then its a matter of good lighting.
     
  9. Hmmm. The stuff from Kapture is awfully expensive.
    The LC4 is also pretty expensive and I see nothing on
    the spec sheet that promises that it can deliver a
    "shoot on breaking the beam" function. By way of
    exploring an alternative, I'll just tell you how I
    did it, but I certainly don't claim it's any better.

    I found an infrared sensor at Radio Shack, the type
    that is sold for burglar alarms. The trick is to find
    one that has a 'normally open' output as an option.
    Most are 'normally closed.' Once you've selected an
    infrared sensor, you'll need just two things: a way
    to power it and a way to connect its output to the camera.
    For power, I used some battery holders, C-type if I
    remember right, enough to add up to the right voltage
    figuring 1.5 volts per battery. To trigger the camera
    from the sensor, you just need a long wire and the right
    connector for your camera's wired cable-release socket.
    For me this was easy, because I used an Elan IIe
    whose socket can be fit with a small audio connector
    that is a reasonably standard component.

    My setup went like this: Tape the IR sensor to the
    outside of a small cardboard box to hold it up vertical
    at near ground level. Mount the batteries for the IR
    sensor inside the box. Run the output wire from the
    IR sensor up to a tripod where the camera sits. Run
    another long wire from the camera to a flash on a second
    tripod. Set focus, exposure, and flash all to manual
    settings based on knowing where the subject will be.
    Stick your hand into the area once to test the system,
    then leave.

    This proved to be a hideously bad implementation of a
    remote camera. The finished setup is gangly, with lots
    of wires, lots of flaky connectors, and different batteries
    everywhere. It was vulnerable to moisture, to theft, and
    to being knocked over. The batteries in the flash would
    barely last overnight, and the batteries powering the
    infrared sensor barely longer than that. The infrared
    sensor, when tripped, would hold its output switch closed
    for long enough to make the camera shoot 6 or 7 frames,
    all of which were completely black except the first one
    because the flash would only fire once. This wasted
    lots of film and meant that the setup would only get
    5 or 6 good images on a roll.

    Having said how bad it was, I also have to point out
    that it fulfilled my requirements beautifully.
    It was cheap, I assembled it in a couple of hours,
    and it succeeded in producing well-exposed, well-lit
    pictures of wildlife in my back yard, some of which I
    didn't know had been visiting my yard. If it's only
    a few feet from your door and you're only going to
    leave it overnight and don't mind tending it rather
    intensively, this is a solution that works. If you
    want something you can leave unattended deep in the
    woods for months on end, well, let's just say quite
    a bit of design refinement would be needed.
     
  10. The key to this is to know the habitats of the prey you are trying to
    photograpgh. I have been using a point and shoot attached to a
    infrared triggering device. I have been getting grey fox by using fish
    oil and peanut butter on the end of a log. That way they walk up the
    log and I can better frame the picture. To date off and on over the
    past few years I have gotten a couple of good ones. It is alot of fun
    when you get your rolls back because you never know what you are foing
    to get. I have gotten wood rats, skunks, raccons and both my dog and
    my cat as well as some curious people. Luckily they didn't take my
    rig. Today in the mail I got a stealth cam all in one unit that I'm
    going to try once the rain stops pouring down. In conclusion find a
    narrow path where you can somewhat control your prey


    C
     

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