Taking Time Lapse Photos with Your Raspberry Pi

Simple CV

One of my friends from SparkMacon makerspace had a question about taking time lapse photos using a Raspberry Pi.  Since this feels like a fun starter project for many makers, I wanted to share an approach using an easy computer vision library, SimpleCV.   SimpleCV by http://www.sightmachine.com/  enables novice programmers to build computer vision experiences using Python and concise code patterns.  This code should also work on Mac, Linux, Windows, and a Raspberry Pi.

To utilize SimpleCV on your Raspberry Pi, follow the install instructions located here.

Make sure to install a web camera or the Raspberry Pi camera module.

If you’re not familiar with the Python programming language, you can learn the basics from CodeAcademy.com .   I have a few free e-books located on this blog post.

I found a time lapse capture script by larsyencken on github.   That looks really simple.   Copy the following code into a text file named “time_lapse.py.”   

import os
import SimpleCV
import time

# get access to the camera
cam = SimpleCV.Camera()

# setup a display
disp = SimpleCV.Display((1024, 768))

# this variable is used for naming each file or frame.
i = 0

while disp.isNotDone():
# wait 2 seconds

# capture the image. Display it. Save the image as a JPEG.
img = cam.getImage()
img.save('%.06d.jpg' % i)

# change the filename counter variable.
i += 1

if disp.lastLeftButton:

You can run this code by executing the following command:

python time_lapse.py

After running this script, your program should capture a new image every two seconds.  Each frame will be numbered.

If you’re interested in learning more with SimpleCV, make sure to check out their documentation resources.   It’s a fun and easy way to do computer vision.

What other cool ways could you use SimpleCV? We would enjoy hearing your ideas!