Monday, March 26, 2012

My new toy


I've been bitten by a bug!  I've been reading an interesting blog lately by a fellow in Australia.  I'm intrigued by that country in general, and by the wildlife and Aboriginal people in particular.  Lately this fellow (Dave) has been posting some photos and video clips taken with a trail cam set up out in the bush.  Photos and video of kangaroos and wallabies.  Fantastic!  Well, the bug bit me.  Of course trail cams have been around for awhile, but I've never owned one.  The results from older models I have seen were unimpressive, but they have come a long way since then.  I just had to try one.  I've had it in my hands for a few days now, and for a first trial run I set it up in my back yard.

I had no expectation of digitally capturing any wildlife, but I have a flock of free ranging chickens and a flock of pigeons that would do for test subjects.  Yesterday I strapped the camera to a clothes line pole in the yard and set it to take still photos.  It is set to take 2 still photos about 5 seconds apart, then pause and reset itself after a minute.  The photo at the top of this post is the result.  The original was a little dark, and not as sharp as a photo taken with one of my still cameras, but I was able to correct both problems with an editing program.

Today I put the camera out in the yard again, but this time set to record video.  I set it to record 15 seconds of video, but I can increase that to 30 seconds if I want to.  As before, the camera will reset after a minute and repeat any time it senses movement within range.  The result is below.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the camera also takes a still photo before it begins recording video.  As with the still photo, the image was a little dark and not as sharp as it would have been if taken with a good digital video camera, especially a HD camera.  I lightened the exposure with an editing program, but there is not much I can do to sharpen it.  Not bad though if you take it for what it is, and don't try to view it full screen.  The next step will be to set it out in the woods for a week or more and see what I come up with.  It has often been said that wildlife photography is like hunting with a camera.  Using the same train of thought, setting up a trail cam might be compared to setting a trap; whether setting over bait or a blind set on a well used game trail.  I expect to have a lot of fun with this.



Le Loup said...

Dave is a good bloke, he got bit by the bug only a little while back. I love watching his trail videos.
I think I am going to have to get one of these. There is a farm gate security camera that forms the same function Bob. I must check it out.
Regards, Keith.

Bob Mc said...

Hi Keith. I enjoy watching the videos of the different wildlife you guys have over there. We may have lots of deer, but you have kangaroos and wallabies!

I will say that the videos I posted could have been better. The originals certainly look better here on my monitor. I made a mistake when I exported them for upload to YouTube. I changed the format from an AVI file to MPEG2, which resulted in a loss of some resolution. I’ll know better next time.

Momlady said...

Yay, you're back! Love the photo and video. Poultry can be entertaining sometimes. The camera's good for security, too.

Bob Mc said...

Hi Momlady. I thought of the security angle too, although I’ve never had a problem with 2 legged varmints here. However if something were raiding my birds, and I didn’t know what it was (unlikely), I could set up the camera to find out. It will also take still photos and video at night using infrared technology. I really want to set it up out in the woods to see what I come up with, if this weather will settle down. The cam is supposed to be weather proof, but I’m not. I’m getting sick of this rain!

Rabid Outdoorsman said...

Welcome to the trail cam club! These cameras are a ton of fun! You may start with one and the next thing you know you have 1/2 a dozen of them out in the woods! Take care!

Bob Mc said...

RO – give me a chance to see what I can do with just 1 for now. LOL. I have several spots in mind to put it out. Places where no one else is likely to be at this time of the year. I don’t think I would leave it out during deer hunting season. It won’t be long until the bears start moving around. That should be interesting.