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Grim's Tales: The Time Lapse Debacle

If you know much about me, you probably know that I buy and acquire a lot of "toys" that I can use in my job. There's my drone, the three action cameras I have and some other fun items for specialized photo jobs. What you might not be aware of is...

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Grim's Tales column logo containing remote camera graphic by Odium, digitally altered by the Echo Journal. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%C3%85telkamera.JPG By Odium [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

If you know much about me, you probably know that I buy and acquire a lot of "toys" that I can use in my job.

There's my drone, the three action cameras I have and some other fun items for specialized photo jobs. What you might not be aware of is the lengths I go to to be able to afford these things. As a news reporter, my budget is...well...pretty low. I used 12 month financing for both my camera and my drone. I bought a knock off for my first action camera and managed to get the other two free of charge. Used equipment is pretty common for my wide angle lens, my Nifty Fifty and some of my other tools of the trade. Acquiring these things had been pretty seamless, so imagine my surprise getting a time lapse camera proved to be a real pain.

It all started with a Fleet Farm sale. I don't know how I became aware of it, but I stumbled across some game cameras on clearance at Fleet Farm for a steep discount. I was curious, but didn't plan on buying anything, until I saw that the clearance camera was advertised with time lapse.

Now, my action cameras also have time lapse, but what these game cameras had that the action cameras do not is a long battery life and less chance of being stolen. As you can imagine, that piqued my interest, so I bought it. Ice was just about to go off of the lakes and I imagined doing a time-lapse of the retreat. Hey, I made a whole list of uses for time lapse.

I got it home, opened it, turned it on and couldn't find the setting. I opened the instruction book and that, too, lacked information on a time lapse mode. I called the company and they told me that that model does not, in fact, have time lapse. I decided not to return the camera, but I was now obsessed.

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Even though I had already spent my budget on this mislabeled camera, I searched and searched and searched until I found another camera on Amazon for a decent price. It said it had time lapse. I called the company and while the person I spoke to this time was unsure, he told me that yes, that model has time lapse. I went on ebay and found the exact same model for a better price and bought it.

There was one problem. I got it home and it didn't have time lapse. Now, if I had bought it from Amazon I could have gotten a free return for it not being as advertised, but I bought it on Ebay, where the description was limited to "Light use, works great" so there was no returning it.

I wish I could say that the obsession left me, but that would be a lie. I did not, however, have funds to keep trying for another game camera with time lapse, so I thought about it for months on end, but did not make any purchases...until September.

In September I found a low-price auction on Ebay with a time-lapse capable game camera. I researched to my heart's content until I was absolutely certain that the model the seller was selling had the setting I needed. I won the auction for a low low price. I got it home, turned it on, checked the settings and found the time lapse setting immediately.

The next day I put it on the outside of our office building to test it and posted on Facebook asking people to make suggestions for how we might use it. The next day I came in and took the camera down. I wanted to turn it off and check the footage it took...but it was already off. I figured I had gotten some setting wrong, but then it wouldn't turn on. No matter what, the camera would not turn back on.

I changed the battery, pushed the reset button on the inside and tried everything else, but the camera was toast. I looked at the time-lapse footage and realized it broke some time after the sun went down and before I got in to the office.

So now I am here wondering what you, our readers, would suggest for a reliable, affordable game camera with time-lapse. Yes, I am still obsessed.

Opinion by Travis G. Grimler
Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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