Triggertrap goes wireless

When Team Triggertrap headed to Photokina in September with their universal camera triggering device and app, one of the questions most frequently asked of them was 'Will there be a cable-free option for the app soon?' Being able to use your mobile phone to remotely control your camera is awesome, but having to use a connection cable can be a bit of a bind.

Without trying to give away too much, Matt and Haje would smile and nod and say that it was something that they were thinking about. They've been thinking about it very hard, in fact, and developing, and testing, and testing some more, and finally some updating. From today you can update your Triggertrap Mobile app, either Android or iOS, so that it can trigger your dSLR or EVIL camera wirelessly.

And it's all down to Wi-Fi.

Your mobile acts at the master device whilst the Triggertrap dongle interfaces with your camera as the slave. If you'd like to control several slave devices from one master, that's possible, too.

Of course, this is all hunky-dory if you happen to be shooting somewhere with a Wi-Fi network, but what if you're in the middle of Nowheresville without one? You can create a personal hotspot using your master device's data network, assuming of course that you have one of those. Ta-dah! You can go forth and wirelessly create time-lapses and distance lapses, or trigger your camera using sound, vibration, or the correct number of faces in the scene.

The update is available for free for existing Triggertrap Premium app users and included in new downloads (Android is here; iOS is here). Don't forget, you will still need the dongle, though. (And yes, I'm still inclined to snigger every time that I hear the word 'dongle'. I don't expect that to change any time soon.)

Triggertrap goes Mobile!

Triggertrap for mobile

When Haje and the Triggertrap team came up with Triggertrap v1 and Triggertrap Shield for Arduino, I thought that was all manner of groovy. The idea of a universal camera trigger rocks, and they were dead proud of themselves. But being crazy inventor-and-developer-types, they weren't quite content with that. They wanted to push things a bit further and see what else they could do. So after a lot of head-scratching, question-asking, code-writing, testing, code re-writing, and more testing, they're excited to unveil Triggertrap Mobile.

It's a camera triggering facility that you operate from your iPhone. That might sound a bit prosaic, but it's far more exciting than that. (And really, we live in an age when we think that using a handheld device that allows us to communicate with someone on the other side of the globe via voice, image, or text to trigger a piece of equipment that produces a digital image is mundane?)

Sure, you can use Triggertrap Mobile with your iPhone, which is pretty awesome, but team it up with the Triggertrap dongle (oh God who invented that word because it makes me snigger every time I read, hear, or say it) and your dSLR or advanced compact camera and you are on to something really exciting.


Time-lapses are fabulous and wonderful just as they are, and of course you can use Triggertrap Mobile to produce a time-lapse with your camera, but it also lets you do some very cool things with them; try distance-lapses and eased time-lapses. Distance-lapses and eased time-lapses–you what?

Let's start with the distance-lapse. You can use Triggertrap Mobile to set up your camera to take a photograph at regular distance intervals, for example, every 100 metres. Say you're on the top deck of a bus, recording your journey through a city, you won't end up with a glut of photos from when you're stuck in a traffic jam; similarly, as the bus speeds up, so will the rate at which photos are taken. Stop altogether and so does the Triggertrap.

As for eased time-lapses, these are time-lapses where the interval between each photo taken can be altered. With a traditional time-lapse the interval is set, so it moves at a given speed. An eased time-lapse, on the other hand, can be made to look as if it is speeding up, or slowing down, or both, by controlling how often a photograph is taken. Triggertrap mobile will let you do just that with five different acceleration profiles, spanning from 'mild' to 'brutal'. You can ease in, ease out, or both.

Multiple triggering options

What made Triggertrap v1 so exciting was its ability to allow you to trigger your camera just about any way that you could think of. Carrying that over to an iPhone might be a bit beyond the realms of possibility right now (but I wouldn't bet against Apple and Team Triggertrap), so they've given you 12 different camera-trigger options to keep you occupied until then. You can try anything from facial recognition, to a shock sensor, via a motion sensor, a magnetometer, and a sound sensor to take photos. But perhaps you'd rather use the automatic High Dynamic Range (HDR) bracketing option with up to 19 exposures per set and configurable steps between each exposure, or the HDR time-lapse mode, or the Star Trail photography mode. I can see myself playing around with this thing, descending into a fog of remotely triggered images, and emerging days later wondering why I'm hungry.

If you want something a bit more traditional, Triggertrap Mobile will let you operate your iPhone as a remote control for your camera with its cable release mode. There's a bulb mode where you hold the button for long exposures, a timed bulb mode where you press the button the start the exposure and press it again to stop it, and a long exposure mode that'll allow you exposures of anything from one to 60 seconds.

Shutter channels

Triggertrap Mobile has three different channels, which will allow you to control either your iPhone's internal camera, the focus of an external camera, or the shutter of an external camera independently of each other. Or in combination, if you want.

By getting clever with cables and adapters, you can configure Triggertrap Mobile so that you can trigger your camera, your camera and a flash, or even two independent flashes.

This device is like a triggering nirvana.

Introductory video

There's even an introductory video. How groovy!


You won't be able to beat me to the front of the queue at the iTunes App Store for this because I've been camping out there since I received the PR, but you can get in line behind me. You've two options.

There's the Triggertrap Mobile Free version, which is, well, free and provides you with three of the modes from the Premium version: cable release, time-lapse, and seismic, which responds to bumps, knocks, and jitters. It's compatible with iPhones 3GS, 4, and 4S, 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touches, and the iPad.

Or you can opt for the $9.99 all-singing-all-dancing-doing-to-okey-cokey Premium Version. It's compatible with all the same devices as the free version, but don't forget that you'll need the dongle (snigger) and you might want a cable, too. You can get those from the Triggertrap store.

Now for the inevitable 'Will they be making an Android version available?' question. Well, they've talked about it, but they aren't making any promises. (I'd say try bribery. They're partial to single malt Scotch, boutique gin, and good wine, red or white.)

I can't wait to see what these guys think of next.

Our musically themed photo contest has a winner!

Congratulations to Bruno!

For November's competition, we were looking for musically themed photos. The theme was a slight departure from the norm, but a change can be as good as a rest. Anyway, after careful consideration of the entries (a process that can involve a lengthy exchange of emails), Haje and I settled on the gorgeous entry by Bruno as our winner.

Many congratulations Bruno! You've just won yourself a 12" Fracture. (And for those of you who've not checked out Fracture for your prints, you really should!)

Details of December's competition will be going up pretty soon!

A bit of a change at Small Aperture


Over the summer, Team Small Aperture has lived through some really exciting changes. Haje and his lovely Other Half have moved to a new continent; Gareth and his lovely Other Half are expecting a baby; and I quit my day job and became a social hermit in order to write a book. (If I’d had an Other Half, lovely or otherwise, he’d have left me and cited abandonment. Thankfully I don’t.) And through all of this, we received an offer from Pixiq asking us very nicely if Small Aperture would like to join forces with them. We thought about the offer carefully; after all, we’ve worked hard here, and we don’t want to relinquish anything that we’ve striven to create and develop, but it did have its advantages. The decision wasn’t at all cut-and-dried.

Eventually, though, after extensive discussions amongst ourselves and with the team at Pixiq, we’ve decided to accept their offer. From our perspective, it gives us the latitude to be able to do what we do best: take photos and write. We don’t need to worry about maintaining servers, about the site collapsing around our ears, or about financing things. We can get on with our very new lives with a bit more certainty.

From your perspective, very little changes. You still get to hear what we have to say about new cameras, about workshops and exhibitions, about books, about anything that’s even vaguely related to photography. The monthly competition will continue. And we’ll continue to be as irreverent, disparaging, excited, cynical, and hyperactive as we’ve always been. You won’t even have to change your RSS feed.

We’re very excited to be joining Pixiq, and admittedly a little bit sad to be leaving behind the black and turquoise Small Aperture design. But we hope that you’ll stay with us the for the ride, because it’s going to be awesome.

How do you time-lapse?


So, I’ve been thinking about doing a cool little project where I’m building a way of adding time-lapse to any camera – and have been wondering if perhaps I should be offering the final product as a commercial product that you can buy.

To make this a reality, I’d love to hear a little bit about the solutions you’re currently using – and what you like and dislike about it. With a bit of luck, I should be able to come up with something (gasp) better – at a lower price, too!

If you’re interested in telling me what you are currently using – or if you would just like to add a wish-list of stuff you wish a timelapse timer could do, please do me a favour and fill in the survey!

Awesome, thank you.

~ Haje

Video over mirror-less; a possibility for Canon and Nikon?

EOS 5D Mark II w 24 mm FSL

Last week I was lucky enough to grab a spot at the screening of the Great Camera Shootout 2011, held at the Framestore and organised by Zacuto. It was a pretty simple concept: take 13 different video or video-enabled cameras and put them through their paces. Cameras ranged in price from those that just hit four digits to those well into six figures. Nine different tests were administered; we looked at comparisons of everything from sharpness to compression losses on a specially-made recording. And the results?

Well, not so simple. There wasn’t really an overall winner. (You didn’t find that surprising, did you?) Different cameras handled different conditions with varying degrees of aptitude or comfort. Lots of people were mightily impressed by the Phantom Flex, and for how much it costs, the Sony F3 seemed to hold its own against the big guns, such as the Arri Alexa. And whilst the Canons and the Nikon were at the bottom of the heap, what was obvious was that for what they offer, they’re damn good pieces of kit.

What it comes down to is what qualities you’re looking for specifically in your camera and the footage it produces, combined with your budget.

Nikon's D7000

Whilst the conversation afterwards raised some absolute gems, such as ‘Film is dead!’ (comparatively the Kodaks’ performances were very disappointing) I came away wondering just what the future for video is, and quite specifically, how far can Canon and Nikon develop their technology and push into the market? I suppose that my focus on those two was inevitable given my background, but anyway.

Do Canon and Nikon want to compete in the mirror-less market, where others are doing so well already?

Earlier this week over lunch, Haje and I pondered this question even further. You see, whilst there is lots of gossip over the potential Canon and Nikon mirror-less offerings, they’re not there yet and Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony seem to have done a pretty good job of sewing up that market already. Even with their names, it’s going to take a hell of lot for Canon and Nikon to break that quartet’s strangle-hold. What if the big two, and Canon in particular, have their eyes on a slightly different prize?

How about an enthusiastic amateur’s video camera? Perhaps one that does stills on the side?

Maybe something to compete with Sony's NEX VG10, instead?

I’m not for one minute suggesting that either of them are going to give up on stills cameras, far, far from it. (Hell, I think I’d cry if they did.) What I’m suggesting is that perhaps they’ve spotted a gap in the video market – sort of equivalent to that which mirror-less and bridge cameras are currently occupying in the stills market – and that’s where they’re heading. Bridge videos, if you like. A video camera that’s a step above the video-enabled dSLRs, one that’s seen more as a video camera than a stills one. Sony has already dipped its toes in the water with the NEX VG10, but a bit of competition never hurt, no?

It would be a graceful way for them to walk away from the mirror-less camera skirmish and embark on something new that continues to develop an area where they already perform well. It also offers the devoted following of Canon and Nikon film-makers some progression and new opportunities, especially if they go with interchangeable lenses.

Now, this is complete speculation. I could be utterly under-estimating just how much Canon and Nikon want that mirror-less market and are prepared to throw at it; I could be over-estimating how much the world needs a more advanced video camera made by one of the two big names in stills. I am, however, quite taken by the possibilities here. And if nothing else, it was an interesting intellectual exercise in conjecture.

February photo competition winner!

Champagne copy

Last month, being February and February having Valentine’s Day smack in the middle of it, for our competition we set you the task of photographing your camera kit to show us just how much you love it. The awesome dudes at Fracture even offered to supply a prize! Some of you really took this to heart (snigger) and this really made us smile. Thank you to everyone who entered. After a bit of umming and ahhing, Haje and I are delighted to announce the winner…

Canon Love, by James Emery

Congratulations, James! We loved the partial desaturation and the use of mirrors. Get in touch, and we’ll arrange for a prize for you!

Well done and thanks to everyone who entered. We’ve a great theme lined up for March. We can’t wait to see your entries.

Just because it's in my RSS feed, doesn't mean you get to steal it

These guys decided to steal my content, but apparently didn't even have enough pride in their work to not break their site.

I recently had an interesting exchange by e-mail with someone who had taken the Pixiq RSS feed and re-published it wholesale on their website. Of course, I'm not a big fan of people stealing my stuff, so I dropped the site editor a terse, but businesslike e-mail.

My E-mail

Hey there.

I note that on this page: (link removed), you are re-publishing my article "You can’t photograph your cake and eat it too…", originally published on Pixiq, here

Please note that I have not given permission for this, and you are guilty of a copyright infringement. Please ensure that this article (and any other articles written by myself that you may have 'borrowed') are removed within 48 hours. Failure to do so will result in a legal challenge and an invoice for any costs incurred.

Yours sincerely, Haje Jan Kamps

Usually when I send e-mails like this, they get ignored, and I roll out the big guns: DMCA takedown notices, invoices, and legal representation. This time, however, I received a response which I've had a few times now, and which I'm quite tired of these days, so I figured I'd write a separate post about RSS feeds and copyright.

The response...

Haje, that came in on an RSS syndicate. I didn't edit it, It was added automatically just as YOU included it in YOUR RSS FEED.

I don't like being accused of copyright infringment when it's your own stupidity that put the entire story up instead of an intro sentence taking you to your site. If you notice the link is there, you just put too much in your RSS feed.

So, no infringement occurred. I don't mind taking it down for you but not until you ask properly instead of jumping on your high horse and making laughable threats. Otherwise, feel free to take any legal action you think appropriate and I'll do the same.

(name removed), Editor

So, what's the problem?

Well, the problem is that this 'editor' apparently doesn't quite understands how copyright works. (As a sidenote: accusing me of "stupidity", and "jumping on [my] high horse and making laughable threats" would fly a lot better if you knew what you were talking about, mr Editor, but that's by the by).

As I wrote in my article What is copyright, and how do infringements harm you, it doesn't matter two hoots if I put everything in my RSS feed or not - it certainly is not an invitation to 'borrow', 'republish' or 'autimatically' my content on another site.

An analogy: If your corner shop has a mostly blind shopkeeper who can't keep track of what's happening in his shop, stealing candy from him is perfectly, obviously, and completely illegal, even if he makes it very easy for you by not looking out for his wares.

As the copyright owner, I’m fully within my right to create all sorts of conditions of use of my own content. In the case of my RSS feed, the only conditions are ‘personal use’ (so, don’t distribute it on- or off-line) and ‘non-commercial’, (so, don’t try to make money off my content).

The thing is, I'm not trying to be unreasonable. From my perspective, I’m not all that fussed if people e-mail each other copies of my articles: As long as I am not competing against myself in Google and other search engines, it’s not a fight I’m likely to find worth fighting.

The crux of the matter is that most RSS readers are ‘closed communities’ – Unless you are logged into Google Reader, you can’t see any feeds. This means that search engines don’t index RSS readers – as such, they are not in competition against my own site for search engine traffic.

Now, if someone re-publishes my content on their site, that’s a different matter altogether.

So, Haje, how did you respond?

As follows:

Dear Mr (Name Removed),

I'm frightfully sorry to break your bubble here, but only because something is available to copy, doesn't mean it is copyright free. For more details see the section under the heading "But you have an RSS feed! Isn’t that just begging for it?" in this article.

Pretty please with a cherry on top, take down my copyrighted content immediately.

~ Haje


I have rudimentary legal training in UK media law, but my training is several years old, and you’d be insane to take legal advice from some random bloke off the internet anyway. Nothing in this post is meant as actual legal advice – talk to your solicitor, that’s what they are there for!

Further Reading

Further Reading

This is part of a 4-story series:

  1. What is copyright, and how do infringements harm you?
  2. Protecting your copyright in a Digital World
  3. Just because it's in my RSS feed, doesn't mean you get to steal it
  4. Ignorance is no excuse

In addition, you might enjoy Police Fail: Copyright, what is that? and Even Schools Don't Care About Copyright...

My best from 2010

A realy fun photo shoot outside a public swimming pool

One of the great things about a new year is that it gives you a bit of time to breathe and consider what has happened over the past 12 months. Myself, I like going back over the photos I've taken over the past year, and have a look at what I've  learned. 

I'm just going to throw this gallery out there - have a poke around (and follow me on Flickr if you're interested in keeping up to scratch with what I'm up to, photographically), and have a dip into your own archives. Who knows what lovely memories it brings up!

Stay awesome, keep snapping, and have a well-exposed 2011!

~ Haje

Do you enjoy a smattering of random photography links? Well, squire, I welcome thee to join me on Twitter -

© Kamps Consulting Ltd. This article is licenced for use on Pixiq only. Please do not reproduce wholly or in part without a license. More info.

RedBubble: making selling pictures easy

blue wool

‘A honourable art gallery? Surely not? Well, yeah, that’s how it works!’ That was Haje’s reaction to RedBubble, an online art gallery and community, when it launched back in 2007. He was taken by the business model that a group of Aussie creatives had dreamed up that allowed artists a hassle- and risk-free means to put their work online and sell it. RedBubble set the base price for a print and the artist set the mark-up. When a print was sold, RedBubble took care of the billing, production, and postage whilst the mark-up went to the artist. Easy-peasy!

The world has moved on a touch since 2007, though, what with England seeming to be doing okay at cricket, so I thought that I’d catch up with the RedBubble crew, as well as some of its users, to see how things have changed since the heady days when they first hit the aether.

Sunrise by the sea

Speaking with Martin, RedBubble’s MD, it seems that RedBubble hasn’t changed an awful lot over the past three-and-a-bit years. Its ethos is still the same: it’s about providing artists with a community and an opportunity to sell their work, as easily as possible. The business model is still the same. RedBubble sets the base price; the artist sets the mark-up. What RedBubble has done, though, is grow.

Four months after it began, there were 30,000 images on the RedBubble site. Today, there are over 5 million, and over 2 million people visit the site every month. If you’re looking for art, you’ve a lot to choose from; if you’re selling stuff, that’s a lot of people looking at it.

Red, pink or green?

But RedBubble isn’t just about selling art, though, it’s a community, too. Richard, one of the members, told me: ‘The community is fabulous. Everybody is encouraging and supportive and willing to help people learn and improve.’

At first, RedBubble only offered prints, albeit flat, mounted, or framed. Now images are available on canvas, as postcards, greetings cards, calendars, and posters. There are even stickers and some clothing options options available for designers. As Richard says, it’s an easy way to display your work and make a little bit of money on the side.

RedBubble is focused on continuing to expand its current model, as well as the development of The Bubbler blog. Martin told me that their basic viewpoint is that they stand for artists, to help people be creative and to develop. Sounds pretty good to me!

Thanks to Richard Keech for the photos. You can check out more of his work on RedBubble!

November photo competition winner!

Champagne copy

Hello and welcome to the Small Aperture November photo competition awards ceremony. Please do help yourself to some birthday cake – it’s lemon, which is my favourite – and a glass of champagne or cup of tea. November’s theme was darkness, and there were some cracking entries. Haje and I had a tough time choosing a winner. After we’d narrowed it down to three contenders, there was a bit of back-and-forth to settle on an over-all victor. So well done and thank you to everyone who entered.

We’re delighted, however, to announce our winner:

Untitled, by Jonathan Horst.

Many congratulations to Jonathan. If you’d like to get in touch with me via email, I shall arrange for your prize to be sent to you!

Please do take a look at all the entries, which you can see here. And December’s theme will be announced very soon. We hope that you’ll enter that one, too!

Our December photo competition


Hello, one and all! It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means that it’s time to start our photo competition. Once again, we have a groovy prize lined up for the winner! This month, we’d like you to submit a portrait for our contemplation and consideration. Black and white, or colour, it doesn’t matter. What we want is a picture of a person to make us go ‘Oooh!’

The competition opens today, that’s Wednesday 1 December, and runs until Wednesday 22 December in the spirit of Christmas, we extended it to 29 December 2010. Please submit your entries to the Small Aperture pool on Flickr.

The rules are the same as October’s and November’s, but I’ll reproduce them here for you. Again, Haje and I will aim to have the results to you within a week of the competition closing.

Good luck!

The Rules

  • If you decide to enter, you agree to The Rules.
  • You can’t have written for Small Aperture or be related to either me or Haje to enter.
  • One entry per person – so choose your best!
  • Entries need to be submitted to the right place, which is the Small Aperture Flickr group.
  • There’s a closing date for entries, so make sure you’ve submitted before then.
  • You have to own the copyright to your entry and be at liberty to submit it to a competition. Using other people’s photos is most uncool.
  • It probably goes without saying, but entries do need to be photographs. It’d be a bit of strange photo competition otherwise.
  • Don’t do anything icky – you know, be obscene or defame someone or sell your granny to get the photo.
  • We (that being me and Haje) get to choose the winner and we’ll do our best to do so within a week of the competition closing.
  • You get to keep all the rights to your images. We just want to be able to show off the winners (and maybe some honourable mentions) here on Small Aperture.
  • Entry is at your own risk. I can’t see us eating you or anything, but we can’t be responsible for anything that happens to you because you submit a photo to our competition.
  • We are allowed to change The Rules, or even suspend or end the competition, if we want or need to. Obviously we’ll try not to, but just so that you know.