Saturday, 21 August 2010

Visitors to the Pond Waterfall

On Thursday I had one of those all too few flashes of inspiration. Why not use the intervalometer that I use for time lapse photography to monitor the pond waterfall. To that end I set up a 350D on a sturdy tripod at the opposite end of the pond and set the electronics to take a photo about once every twenty seconds. Over three hours it took nearly a thousand photos a few of which did manage to capture a few of our feathered friends.

Nothing out of the ordinary as yet. The first was a House Sparrow peeping to see if it was being watched.

House Sparrow
They are very communal birds so there are normally several together.
I wonder how many you can spot here:

How Many Sparrows?

Easier to count this time.

Sparrows at the Pond Waterfall

And finally a male Blackbird with a Wood Pigeon.

At the Pond Waterfall

As I said, nothing out of the ordinary but I have learned a few things. The idea works, just have to be patient. My chosen spot, where I needed to have a telephoto lens with fixed focus, meant a shallow depth of field. The weeds in the way are too far in the pond to reach for pruning. I have sussed a better spot nearer the waterfall where I can get closer and probably use a 50mm lens. Of course it rained most of yesterday and is raining again this morning so I will have to wait for finer weather to have a second go.

The basic set up for time lapse photography can be seen here. In case you are wondering it doesn't take very long to check a thousand photos. I copy them to the hard drive (that takes the longest) and use IrfanView to view them. I just keep hitting the 'next' key and with the view being the same in each photo any changes show immediately. Those with activity I move to a folder and then delete the rest.

I use an old second hand camera as this technique is hard on the shutter / mirror mechanism and can give a years wear in a day. To make the camera battery last the session I turn off the LCD display as that uses a lot of energy in displaying each shot.


  1. I like the possibilities here. Did you make the intervalometer? Beyond my skills but Hamel do one for reasonable money I understand.

  2. Hi Adrian. Yes my gizmo was home built but surprise, surprise I found this on eBay:

    which is sold with a choice of connectors for different cameras. Check down the list to make sure yours is available as I see one of the Olympus connectors is unavailable, but can be ordered.

    Looks very interesting and versatile as well as being much more portable than my setup!

  3. A great flash of inspiration John. I can see that set up producing some amazing results in the future.

  4. Hello keith. I am sure there are more than just the well known local visitors to the waterfall but many disappear as soon as they spot movement. I must look at the idea of having a passive IR detector to trigger the camera. That may give more reliable results.

  5. John, this is fantastic! What a great idea. I counted four sparrows in the second shot and six in the third. They are well camoflauged!

  6. Hello Wilma. From time to time I have spent ages sat outside trying to photograph birds at the waterfall and usually got nothing. Far easier to let the camera get on with the job while I do something else ;)

    In fact there are 6 sparrows in both photos. You need to look at the full size photo on Flickr to be able to pick them all out in the second shot.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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