Trigger Smart
Feb 28, 2012

You may have seen some of our recent posts on our Facebook Page or our Tweets – we’ve talked about this project a fair bit. That’s because it’s a project that let us stretch our creative and experimental muscles, but also pushed our technical skills – which can only benefit everything else we do from here.

We’re also fairly proud of our results – we’ve exploded glasses full of food colouring, set fireworks off near a river and a harbour,  tried stalking rabbits in the New Forest (to no avail) and battled pigeons! This was no walk in the park.

So what is the Trigger Smart exactly? Well in laymans terms it’s a control unit you hook up to your camera which then ‘fires’ your camera based on changes in light, sound or movement depending on how you set it up. In the image below you can see the main control unit on the right, from which you can control the sensitity of the connected sensors, and at what rate your camera triggers. On the left are two sensors on small stands(included), all this will make more sense as the blog unfolds…

Using the LiGHT setting. in this instance you only need to use one of the sensors – switching it to the light function and pointing it at the area where the light will change. Here are some examples of the Triggers Smart firing due to a change/increase in light.

The sensitivity of the sensor is altered with the ‘sensitivity’ dial on the left hand side of the control unit – when using an increase in light to fire the camera you’ll need to turn the dial around until the camera fires once, then pull it back a fraction. This enables the sensor to be triggered easillly with a just a small increase in light, we didn’t have too much trouble with the light from these fireworks, though!

Using the SOUND setting. Again you only need one sensor for this. We set small glasses on a white paper curve and filled them with glitter, or food colouring – then we shot them. We were counting on the sound of the air rifle triggering the sound sensor, in fact we had to turn the sensitivity and delay right down so the unit fired our camera straight away. The timing was perfect and as soon as the rifle fired our camera went off. We used a D700 with very high ISO, 1/4000 shutter on f.5.6 and synced our SB800 speedlight and set it to manual with a couple of stops under full power (-2EV roughly).

Aside from bringing out the lights and pushing the clarity through LR3, we’ve not altered the shots much in post pro. Here are some examples of sound activating the Trigger Smart.

Using the MOVEMENT (infrared) setting. This time we needed two sensors pointed at each other, which creates an infra red beam which when broken sets the trigger off. It might look like a typical wildlife shot but contrary to using a mamouth telephoto lens we shot these on a Carl Zeiss 50mm with a close-up filter. The distance from filter to cheeky squirrel was only 25-30cm!

We enticed the local squirrels and pigeons close with some nuts and set the camera to burst mode. The photographs are about f.1.4 – f.4 and the Trigger Smart control unit was on auto with a short delay so the squirrels head could pop up after breaking the beam.

Here are some examples of motion firing the camera.

Here are a few shots of the Trigger Smart set up and in action!

For more info on the Trigger Smart you can contact Flaghead Photographic or visit the old ‘Sabre Switch’ product website here

This product will be on sale at the Flaghead stand at this years Focus on Imaging 2012 – where we will also be demoing the equipment. Come and say hello on stand G21 and keep an eye out for all of our updates on the event.