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"The Shape of Things to Come: Exploring the Future of Digiscoping"

If you're a photographer or a digiscoper then like me you are no doubt always looking for that hack that will improve your images, make life easier, or simply elevate your enjoyment of the hobby.

What if I told you I had found such a hack!........

Recently I had the good fortune to find a lovely stretch of peaceful river with two pairs of Dippers with easy access and many good vantage points.

This is when the problems started, Dippers are fairly tolerant of humans pointing camera lenses and scopes at them and given the many vantage points afforded by the location, great views would be assured. However old age reminded me painfully that getting low to the floor was easy but getting back up again was literally a pain!!!

Knees, Elbows, ankles, and wrists all complained to varying degrees making the whole process of setting up the perfect shot and waiting patiently for just the right moment an uncomfortable and painful affair.

I was adjusting focus, adjusting framing, adjusting the tripod, and changing camera settings whilst keeping movement and noise, etc to a minimum all made all the more difficult as my body protested.

I had an amazing day, well worth the discomfort on the day and the following few days it took for my body to recover.

So whilst sifting through the many Dipper images and videos my mind went down the rabbit hole..."How could I work smarter" Having spent many years working in the movie industry and being around DOPs, camera operators, and directors I had seen many different setups to achieve remote operation of cameras but they all involved big elaborate (and expensive) bits of kit...

I'm tight so costly equipment was out of the question, I also want to reduce weight not increase weight so that's a no-go. But one image stuck in my mind from those sets... Camera Monitors, I just could not get that out of my mind so I reached out to an old friend (an ex-BBC cameraman) and asked him what he was using these days as an external monitor.

His first answer was "Atmos Ninja V", this was disappointing as not only is the Ninja V a good lump of cash, it's also heavy and It would require a cadge and framework to hold it all. I dismissed that idea and he flippantly said well what phone do you have? Iphone I said, use that he said, how I said? Use your camera's HDMI output to send a 1080p 60fps image to your phone!!! hello...

I fell straight down the rabbit hole at this point as that would be perfect as I always have the phone with me so no extra kit or expense. But how do you get the HDMI signal from the camera to the iPhone I asked. I'll send you a link he said.

I clicked on the link to read about a new device that is the size and weight of a pack of cards that sits on the hot shoe of the camera and sends the image from the camera directly to your iPhone at 1080p 60fps .... ka-ching! take my money.

Once I had placed the order it dawned on me that whilst I had solved my focusing and framing issue (the monitor would allow me to check focus and framing whilst stood up even if the camera/scope combination was flat to the floor) no more kneeling or squinting for me. I still needed a way to remotely operate the shutter.

Now I'm lucky to have a Nikon camera body with an app (Snap Bridge) that not only allows for remote shutter release but allows for Touch Focus as well as the ability to change all the camera settings (ISO, Aperture, Shutter, etc) so after a quick refresh of the operation of this app I was ready for the arrival of the new gadget.

When I opened the box my heart sank a little as it was very light and only had one button and an HDMI port... What had I done? I had been seduced by the thought of low-level Dipper shots made pain-free while sitting behind a bush many meters away from my camera and subject.

But I decided to plug the little rascal in and see what if anything it could do.

I downloaded the Free App, fired up the camera, switched on the gadget, and clicked on the App icon to be met with a "No Signal" message! I wasn't expecting much but hoped something would appear, then I realized I had not switched the wifi on the Mac Book (Yes the Mac Book) to the gadget... Hey presto. A 1080p 60fps image was full screen on my Mac Book coming directly from my camera... Not only that, but I had all the pro tools that a director on a movie set would have... Focus Peeking, Zebras, False colours, Flip image, etc etc. This gadget was amazing!! very responsive and the image from the camera on the Mac Book is sublime!! I should point out at this point that the gadget will beam your image to any IOS Device including iPads. (Also Android devices) I will leave all the specs etc for my full review.

I then connected the Snap Bridge App (Also Free) and hey presto all my prayers have been answered. Full remote control of the camera with full high-resolution off-camera monitoring via my iPhone for a very modest outlay with next to no weight added to my kit.

I have only just scratched the surface of this gadget and what it can do but to say I'm impressed is an understatement. My body will thank me next time I go shooting Dippers.

The following clips/stills have been taken through my kitchen window with the camera connected to the gadget sitting on top of the camera and me sitting in the lounge watching a live feed from the camera on the Mac Book with Snap Bridge running on my phone to operate the camera functions.

No Editing or effects have been applied this is straight to the camera roll of IOS.

The possibilities of this are many.

If you are interested in knowing more then feel free to comment or drop me a message, I will also do an in-depth review in a few weeks when I have thoroughly tested this device to destruction.

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