Since I’m breaking my journey in Denver for a day, I have a moment to showcase what the time-lapse setup can do.
Here is a small sample set of the 342 images of Delicate Arch that the camera took during sunset on Saturday (8/21).
It will be a while before I can post the video for this since I need my Windows desktop (which is presently packed up in the back of my car) to put these images together, but I am already liking the results.
We packed up our camp at Arches, are now en route to Denver with a quick stop at Canyonlands.
I happen to own a messenger bag that has a solar power setup built in. This setup consisting of three solar panels, a power routing element, a lithium ion battery pack, selectable dc-dc convertor, and mega-assortment of possible output jack options, was reversibly harvested to power the camera and triggering circuit.
Harvested solar panels charging the battery pack
The camera usually accepts two AA cells, which of course imply a 3V operating voltage. The dc-dc convertor can only go as low as 3.5V, though this is perfectly okay for powering the camera. ‘Perfection’ does have a price though, and the camera does get pretty hot when powered on. Combined with the 100 degree heat, and the back-of-the-car greenhouse, it’s probably not good for the camera in the long run. But hey, I’m probably only doing this once.
Lithium ion battery pack with DC-DC convertor
If the lithium battery ever runs low, I can also recharge it using a wall outlet, or the cigarette lighter plug in the car.
Click away ...
After a 1.5 mile, grueling-heat, uphill hike on slick rock, we made it! It’s so big!
Making a time lapse video of the sunset now…
Objective: Take a photograph occasionally (say, once in 4 seconds) and combine the thousands of pictures thus collected into a time lapse video of the drive from California to Michigan.
The camera: Pentax Optio S50 obtained from a Stanford ME grad student ($0).
Former cameras (died in the line of testing): Canon Powershot A510 ($20), and Olympus D560Z (my old camera).
I managed to determine that each of these cameras has a trigger switch with four principal contact points. It is then just a matter of determining which two contacts perform the autofocus function when shorted, and which ones perform the trigger function. The contacts are small and somewhat tedious to solder, but soldering can be done with a good eye and a steady hand.
I will upload pictures of this once I’m at my final destination as I’m understandably reluctant to open the camera now.
Power supply hack:
Once the camera was open, I also managed to drill a few holes and solder some wires directly at the terminals where the batteries connect. With a robust connector one can now be independent of batteries, and use an external power source.
What’s the power source?
More on the power source and trigger timing later…
Camp has been set up in the mid afternoon. Time for a siesta to escape the heat.
North and South Windows
We’re here! Just finished a hike to the North and South Windows and Turret Arch. I didn’t expect these to be so big! Photographs rarely give a sense of scale.
We are expecting to be at Delicate Arch for sunset.