Sunday, 26 April 2015

Automated Bird Photography

Regular visitors may well remember my home brew motion detector which I sometimes use to photograph birds visiting the pond waterfall. This time I set it up to monitor any visitors to the bird bath:


Essentially the set up consists, in the background, a room type passive IR detector which activates a relay which in turn activates a wireless release for the camera. That is powered by a 12V gel cell.  In the foreground the Canon 350D with Sigma zoom lens set for auto focus mounted on a tripod. The camera being fired by a wireless receiver. Camera was fixed at 1/500 shutter speed with auto exposure.

This time there were many false triggers (over 60 birdless shots binned), maybe moving tree shadows and also me or Penny walking within range, but I managed a few captures. It is a question of things being set up at the right time as the birds tend to arrive at fairly set times of day. Unfortunately I had to cut the session short when it started to rain heavily.

Is that a growth or a ring on its leg?







Great Tit:



I can see I will be having some automated sessions throughout the Summer. I keep searching for a decent quality, cheapish camera which would allow externally triggered video. I don't think the trail types are as good quality as they make out and anyway  I want something with a zoomable lens.


  1. The second shot is perfect.
    I can't work out whether it has Bumblefoot or damage caused by ringing. I would find any excuse to have a go at ringers, I can't stand the thought of it.
    You need a lottery win and the tiny Blackmagic camera which will take your Canon lenses.


    So do I, and a Ferrari and a Winnebago. Come on Camelot.

    1. Adrian: Of course automated shots are pot luck for the pose.

      Thanks for the link. One of the cheaper ones isn't too bad. Not a lot more than a Canon body. Pity the built in battery has such a short life. No doubt a cable to couple the external trigger would cost the earth.

      I gave up on Camelot when money went to the Olympic Games.

    2. John, with all these professional cameras it is the same story. The camera looks reasonable but by the time you have the data storage systems, battery packs, control units and all the associated cabling you have doubled the cost. Then of course you need a computer that can handle 4K video. Blackmagic bought Fusion compositing software a while ago and now offer it free which is one thing less and it is excellent, better than that in Blender and on a par or better than Adobe.

  2. Interesting experiment John. Doe's take the enjoyment of getting out there and shooting yourself though.

    1. Roy. The idea is to capture those very shy fleeting visitors which stay well away if I am in view. Not managed it yet though.

  3. You got some promising shots from that setup.

    1. Wilma: Nice to get some clear close shots.


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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