Rynofasho
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:29 pm

Wildlife camera

Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:31 pm

Hello all,

I just got my Pi and I'm excited to start learning. As of now however, I have no experience programming so I won't be dangerous for some time.

One idea I had however was to use the R-pi as a wildlife camera -- using some sort of battery power, or even to start wired power and not being so sneaky, and placing the Pi near our bird feeders. The Pi would use a motion sensor to detect movement and then capture images via a camera.

Has anyone been working on anything similar?

dancytron
Posts: 56
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 11:09 pm

Re: Wildlife camera

Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:42 pm

These guys do it with custom firmware in Canon point and shoot cameras. They use it for lightning too.

http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

User avatar
joan
Posts: 14943
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:09 pm
Location: UK

Re: Wildlife camera

Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:03 pm

It may be worthwhile to have a look at the Debian motion package.

sudo apt-get install motion

if you have a Debian based distribution.

I'm fairly sure this is the software I used to link a webcam to a machine with the same raw power as the Pi (i.e. circa 700 BogoMIPS). The software can be configured to only record images when the scene changes. Worked quite well.

Michael Meissner
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:42 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Wildlife camera

Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:03 pm

You might want to check over at http://www.diytrailcams.com/ where they talk about all sorts of trail camera.

I have not yet started with my r-pi, so I can't help you in that regard.

If your camera supports a wired shutter release, wired shutter releases have 3 wires (ground, focus, and shoot). If you connect the ground and focus wires, the camera does the action when you 1/2 press the shutter (usually focus), and if you connect all 3 wires (or at least ground and shoot wires) the camera takes a picture.

Normally, you don't want the camera to be electrically connected to the computer, and instead you want to use an opto-isolator. Here is a wiki targeted towards arduino users on how to use an opto-isolator: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/Popular-ICs.

Here is a picture of my opto-isolator setup. I'm using a 4N26JP from Jim-pak that I got from my local electronic vendors:
Image

Unfortunately, I don't follow this group all of that often, but hopefully this helps. :ugeek:

Rynofasho
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:29 pm

Re: Wildlife camera

Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:54 pm

Cool, I'll have a look. Thank you!

WPsites
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:05 am
Location: Southport, Merseyside, UK
Contact: Website

Re: Wildlife camera

Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:49 pm

If i would have known about this Canon CHDK when I bought my new high end compact a few months back I would have got one!

I'm trying to create a setup whereby I can position my Pi and digital camera near the window right in view of where the house martins fly to the eaves so that I can take a good photo of them in flight. I've tried standing at the window but those pesky birds only seem to fly back to the nest when I sit back down again!

The plan is to have the Raspberry Pi with a webcam attached and use motion to detect the birds. When a bird is detected (well just movement really, so could even be the window cleaner) then the Raspberry Pi sends the take a picture command to a Ruby service which will communicate with an Arduino over a serial connection which will ultimately activate a servo to focus and take the photo. By which time the bird will probably have flown away... we will see.

I'm compiling Ruby on the Pi as I write this and would like to think I will be up and running tonight. Then I'll take my setup to the Liverpool geekup tomorrow night to show it off.

I will post some pics and further details on my blog once I've got it working http://www.simonthepiman.co.uk/

Michael Meissner
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:42 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Wildlife camera

Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:17 pm

WPsites wrote:If i would have known about this Canon CHDK when I bought my new high end compact a few months back I would have got one!
As an amusing coincidence, I just bought a used Canon Powershot SX150 today. While CHDK was not the primary reason I bought it, the fact that the CHDK developers are starting to target it was a nice bonus (if you are curious, I primarily bought it to take movies at the renaissance faires I'm the photographer for, and the criteria was optical zoom, including to 28mm equivalent focal length, it takes AA batteries, so I don't need to get yet another set of batteries, a new enough camera so the movie files are somewhat compressed, and image stabilization).
WPsites wrote: I'm trying to create a setup whereby I can position my Pi and digital camera near the window right in view of where the house martins fly to the eaves so that I can take a good photo of them in flight. I've tried standing at the window but those pesky birds only seem to fly back to the nest when I sit back down again!

The plan is to have the Raspberry Pi with a webcam attached and use motion to detect the birds. When a bird is detected (well just movement really, so could even be the window cleaner) then the Raspberry Pi sends the take a picture command to a Ruby service which will communicate with an Arduino over a serial connection which will ultimately activate a servo to focus and take the photo. By which time the bird will probably have flown away... we will see.

I'm compiling Ruby on the Pi as I write this and would like to think I will be up and running tonight. Then I'll take my setup to the Liverpool geekup tomorrow night to show it off.

I will post some pics and further details on my blog once I've got it working http://www.simonthepiman.co.uk/
This seems like it would have a lot of delays. I would think you could probably do a PIR (passive infrared) motion detector without having to try and figure out if something moved via a web cam. Here is the wikipage on PIR: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_infrared_sensor.

Alternatively you could use a laser beam and detect when the beam is broken to take a picture. Or just look for a dark spot with sensor that has a very narrow range.

I suspect the birds may not have enough body heat to use a temp. sensor.

The following companies produce remote camera triggers based on various sensors. It might give you an idea of things that you could do in the Rasberry Pi:

http://www.cameraaxe.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
https://triggertrap.com/
http://www.bmumford.com/photo/camctlr.html

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