Having spent 13 years as a concert photographer, I am used to shooting without a flash. Low-light photography and I have become pretty familiar. I thought I’d take the relationship to a new level and get myself into astrophotography. Now, I love taking my camera out in the middle of the night, pointing it straight up, and seeing what I can capture.
This is usually preceded by thirty minutes of bent over, craning my neck as I fiddled with my focus & settings, and, depending on the location, shivering in the dark. Enter the TriggerTrap. A little dongle (what a fun word) that plugs into your phone’s headphone jack and partners with the TriggerTrap App.
While you still have to set your aperture, ISO, and focus, the TriggerTrap app lets you adjust a wide variety of settings and modes, including three ways to hold a long exposure, five time-lapse modes, and even settings that trigger the shutter based on sound levels.
I decided to give my shiny new TriggerTrap MD3-N3 (a courtesy review model for my Canon 5DMIII, for full disclosure) a test run. I am fortunate enough to live less than two blocks from the Redlands Bowl, an outdoor amphitheater that hosts a free weekly summer concert series. The final concert each year is reserved for the Redlands Symphony, who, in turn, ensures that the final song is Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. While the original score calls for actual cannon fire, the performances makes do with what they have, which are fireworks.
I set up my camera, set up the app (which has a sweet “night mode” meant to save your eyesight in the dark), and I sat back, enjoying the warm summer night, a sweet woodwinds section, and the anticipation of my first decent fireworks shot. And capture it I did.
I admit, I didn’t think it would turn out this stellar. Let alone with a beverage in one hand and my phone in the other, my camera sitting next to me atop my beloved MeFoto Roadtrip tripod. Having set up my focus early, I literally just hit the button. Hot dang.
Looking to give it one more test, we took a trip to the Mojave National Preserve. I found that the main crux of effort on my part was simply finding a solid focus, and after that, I sat there, beer in one hand, phone in the other, just hitting a button. Sure, the shot looked fine in the display, but once I got the files downloaded, I found that the Pleaides wanted to come hang out just before the sun rise. Hot dang.
There was, however, one TINY issue I found with it. It’s wired. And worse, the cable is pretty short. BUT, it’s an easy fix. A $6 1/8″ cable extender made the cord three feet longer, which makes the already amazing product phenomenal. For under $40, you can snag yourself a TriggerTrap at their website.