Time Lapse photography has been an interest of mine for a very long time, but I have not had the proper gear. Some cameras, such as my Nikon Coolpix, have a time lapse feature built in, but it is limited on the intervals for taking the photos. The professionals use a Intervalometer, also called a timer remote controller. Naturally, I wanted to make my own remote controller!
Well I started to do some searching. I have a Raspberry Pi sitting on my desk and thought that would make a good controller. Then looking above my monitor, I wondered about using a webcam as the camera. That is when I found this website.
First, I started off by installing fswebcam on my Pi, it was quite simple. The instructions had me type up a bash file, but it would not work. It turns out I had mistyped it. I ran some tests with my Logitech C920 webcam, then my wife bought me a Genius webcam from Amazon. At the moment, I am playing around with settings. It is good to look at these sites for fswebcam:
Last night (29 Mar 14) I started to make a config file for the camera to adjust the brightness, contrast, sharpness, and hue, along with some other settings. At the moment I am trying to figure out how to manually focus the webcam. Also, I am looking at the driver V4L2. Danielle helped me with the settings to optimize the photo quality.
Last night we tried connecting our Nikon DSLR to the Pi, after installing gphoto2. This had great results!!!
What I would like to do is use the webcam for time lapse projects where the subject (such as my hydroponics garden) is within 6 feet of the camera. Then I would purchase a used DSLR for any major projects.
At the moment I have a WiFi dongle connected to the Pi that allows me to remotely control the camera (something you couldn’t do with a Intervalometer) and transfer photos. If I set up the time lapse at a remote site, I will need to look into purchasing a wireless modem. I could have the photos sent daily from the Pi to my FTP server. This would allow me to edit the photos on the weekend rather than at the end of a long project. Also, if I needed to change the camera’s settings, such as aperture or shutter speed, I could. Another advantage of sending the photos to my FTP server is that if the time lapse setup was stolen, I would not lose all my photos.
Having a time lapse setup at a remote location will require some way to power it. I have some old batteries that a person would find in a UPS, and then I could use a solar panel to keep the battery charged. To convert the 12 volts DC to the 5 volts required by the Pi, I could use a car phone charger.