Friday, January 29, 2016

More fun with time-lapse photography

In my last blog post, I had just started getting to know my new Brinno TLC200 Pro time lapse camera.  Since then I have made a number of videos under varying conditions, all of which have turned out really well.  Here's a picture of the camera:
Brinno TLC pro
Once you own a time-lapse camera, you think of all kinds of uses for it.  I have always wanted to see a day in the life of my cat.  She is over 12 years old and relatively sedentary and she likes to sit in her window seat and sleep and then watch the birds at the bird feeder outside the window occasionally.  So I set up the camera to document her from mid-morning until dusk.
Click image to see YouTube video
I have been making wood bowls from freshly cut trees for the last few years.  When an apple tree blew down in a storm recently I was able to harvest some beautiful wood and made some bowls from it.  The rest of the tree will be harvested for firewood.  I set up the camera to take images once per second and got this great video.
Click image to see YouTube video

Update Feb 5, 2016:  I always wanted to see myself clearing snow using my Craftsman snow thrower and we got 7" today so I set up the camera outside with it's waetherproof housing.

Click image to see YouTube video

These videos were all shot in 1080 P high-definition video, so you can view them full-screen and they look great.  Stay tuned to my YouTube channel to see more videos as I put them up.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Exploring time lapse photography

Brinno TLC200 Pro camera and weather proof case
A few years ago I became interested in time lapse photography and modified an old Nikon digital camera so I could shoot videos of flowers decaying.  Click here to see my webpage that lists all of those videos, or click here to see my YouTube channel.  The process of creating time-lapse videos was tedious because I had to shoot stills first and then merge them into a video, and the result was not very high definition.

I decided to buy myself a Christmas present and purchased a dedicated time lapse camera.  The Brinno TLC 200 Pro HDR camera sells for around $200 not including the weatherproof case which goes for around $40.  It shoots in 1080p high definition and saves a .AVI file directly.  It can take images anywhere from one frame per second to 1 frame per day and anything in between and has a variety of advanced features such as HDR (High Dynamic Range) and the ability to program specific times to start and stop filming. 

For my first video, I set the camera up on a tripod outside in its weatherproof case so I could document the sunlight moving around my solar powered workshop.  I was able to program the camera to start around sunrise and stop at sunset.  Click here or on the image below to view the video. 
click on image to see video on YouTube
This video will be a useful reference to show the sun shading effect on my solar systems from trees at various times of day in the middle of winter.  I have needed to top some of them to capture the late afternoon solar energy.
I could not be more pleased with the video quality and all of the advanced features of this amazing little camera and look forward to using it a lot in the future.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Visual Handbook of Energy Conservation

If you have been reading my blog or website, then I assume that you're interested in energy conservation and living sustainably.  A few years ago Charlie Wing published his excellent book: "The Visual Handbook of Energy Conservation".  (click here to get it from Amazon) Charlie is well known for his excellent books on a variety of building topics and I have met him and worked with him on a number of occasions.  In fact he used to live down the road from me a few years before I moved into the neighborhood.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone who is interested in reducing their energy consumption and lowering operating costs in their home.  The book is written in simple clear language, and every page contains exquisite illustrations, charts, and diagrams in Charlie's inimitable style.  He covers everything from the basic physics of energy to detailed specifics of how building heating systems work.  For instance, he covers every possible detail of every kind of building construction in order to explain what is optimal and how to improve it from an energy conservation standpoint.  

I was just re-reading the book and found that there were major "aha" moments for me in every chapter.  I found myself running around the house reviewing what I have done and considering improvements.  Most of his suggestions for energy conservation are easy, inexpensive things that any home handy person can handle.

I am confident that the investment of $20 or so in purchasing this book will yield an excellent return on investment if you only implement a very few of the suggestions contained within.  If you are planning to make substantial upgrades to your home's energy efficiency, then this will be the perfect handbook to guide you through optimal choices and could save you thousands of dollars both now and in the future.