I have a new oceanfront home in Maui...want to set up a camera to shoot 2-5 shots each day at sunset and up to 30 minutes after sunset....then place them in the cloud.

Need advice on how to accomplish this....really have no great ideas.

Since it’s a rental unit as well, I’d prefer something like a security camera...but I don’t know if 1080 HD is enough to later publish a book...”365 MAUI Sunsets”.

Can anyone help me with suggestions? Not sure a security camera can do this or automate the process... can it? It]s there a way to automate a NEST type camera? Where can I store the photos in an u]automated fashion? Not thinking a wildlife camera can do this. Prefer options ...thinking a Nest type camera but don’t know how to automate each photo and send it to the cloud...but a serious set up (DSLR) could get screwed up by renters.

Anyone have any ideas??>

  • 1080 is not enough in my opinion. And more not to mention the small sensor with a very small aperture. You need something better, in my opinion. – Andreas Oct 25 '19 at 7:01
  • Panorama or tele photos? For tele, you need to adjust the camera as the position of the sunset shifts along the horizon over the course of a year. – user24582 Oct 25 '19 at 9:27

To publish a book, you'll want to look at the size you want to print the image in the book in inches, and multiply that size by 300px, which will provide the minimum resolution of the camera you will need. You're also looking at relatively low light images, so you'll need a larger sensor and remote control of the settings, so a DSLR is probably the only option for what you want.

All of the major DSLR brands have tethering capability, so you can connect them to a computer and use a scheduling program to trigger the camera, download the images, and upload them to the cloud.

I will, however, advise against automating this process.

If your goal is to publish a book for sale, every one of those 365 pictures will need to be phenomenal. Market forces mean photo books rarely, if ever, sell well. And the market for coffee table books of this type shrinks every year while the volume of available works is ever increasing year over year. I don't say this to discourage you, but you give you a full understanding of what you're getting yourself into.

Setting up a camera with a framing you like and having a computer push the button half a dozen times a day sounds like a great idea because like it would accomplish your idea with very little work on your part. However, the difference between an amazing picture of a sunset and a mediocre picture occurs in the space of minutes, if not seconds. Lighting, cloud position, birds, boats, waves, etc. all affect the image, and a camera on a timer will miss a thousand far superior moments while it dutifully counts the milliseconds until it's next button push.

Even shooting manually, sunsets are difficult to shoot at the best of times. It will be very, very difficult to get a print-worthy sunset picture every day for an entire year.

All that said, it's a very interesting idea, and you'll probably need a couple of things if you want to do this right and give yourself the best possible results.

  1. A DSLR camera setup, a mounting mechanism (probably just a bolted down tripod head would do), AC power adapter, and a tethering cable.
  2. A computer to tether the camera to, complete with a VPN to allow you to securely connect to this computer by a remote desktop program to see what the camera sees, adjust the settings, and trigger the camera when you see what you like. I know Canon and Nikon include their tethering software when you buy their cameras. The Intel Nuc is a nice small computer I've used for this type of project in the past.
  3. This will be the hardest one, a climate controlled location in the house that you can secure, but also has the view you want and a clear line of sight. If your house is old enough that it has a closet with a window, you're in luck. Otherwise, this can all be secured in a fairly small box and mounted across the top of a window, which will require very little space and protect it from renters as long as you make sure it's labeled properly and they are aware of its purpose.
  4. A means to keep the window you are shooting through clean, as over the course of a year, it is likely to get rather grimy. Maui has a wide variety of climates, none of which are terribly friendly to cameras or clean windows. You'll need to mitigate this.

All together, to get the kind of quality required for a published work, you're looking at a cost of roughly $5k-7k to set up what you'll need.

I wish you the best of luck on your project, and a year of beautiful sunsets.

  • Wow. Thx. How do we connect...you’ll love Maui – MarcoMaui Oct 26 '19 at 8:13

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