aurora.cam

About

Aurora.cam was founded in the summer of 2018 by twin brothers Lee and Lucas Brown. This project is the combination of their passion for software technologies, love for sharing unqiue experiences, and their desire to propel crazy ideas into realities as bootstrapped entrepreneurs.

Lucas Brown on left and Lee Brown on right.

Geeks in the Woods tech and software entrepreneurs in Alaska

The Aurora.cam project is backed by the twins' venture studio for software startups part of Geeks in the Woods.

development history

  • twins taking photographs while hiking in Alaska

    first automated photography tests

    July 2018

    programmatic photography with Sony A6300 from automated python script in Alaska

    As lightness decreased and darkness returned, the Brown brothers were excited to continue experimenting with astrophotography. They wanted to build a system to capture the stars and aurora while they were sleeping. After discovering they had the ability to connect to their Sony Alpha cameras programmatically, they created the first script and began testing out automated photography.

    Sony A6300 taking photographs from automated python script outside in Alaska

  • building first prototype of weatherproof camera box

    constructing the first weatherproof camera box

    August 2018

    building weatherproof camera box with front window to protect Sony Alpha camera and low light lens

    With the vast range of weather in Alaska and its ability to change quickly from sun, to clouds, to snow - they knew they needed to protect their Sony Alpha camera from the elements. They devised a plan to build an insulated box with a window on the front to keep the camera warm and dry throughout the winter and guard against condensation on the lens.

    weatherproof camera box taking photographs automatically over lake in Alaska

    The insulation along with a small heater inside the box prevented the cold from impacting the camera's performance, and kept the front window dry and clear of moisture from rain and snow.

  • Lee building, iterating and learning for automated camera system

    success with automated photography

    September 2018

    insulated weatherproof outdoor camera box with heat to protect Sony A6300 mirrorless camera

    The Python automated photography scripts originally ran on an Apple MacBook with OSX. Since OSX comes standard with the ability to run Python, this was a frictionless way to build, test and iterate upon the prototype.

    Sony A6300 mirrorless camera programatically controlled

    The script was finally hardened over many days and nights of resolving issues and making enhancements, and can now reliably capture photographs and automatically stream them to the Webcam page.

  • user

    deploying script to Raspberry Pi

    October 6th, 2018

    Programming Raspberry Pi for automated photography and timelapse videos

    Since the automated photography script was successfully running on the MacBook, it was time to migrate it to a simplified device that would be less expensive to risk operating outside in Alaska's extreme weather (even with best efforts to make a quality weatherproof box). Deploying and operating the script on Raspberry Pi was surprisingly easy.

  • Bradley building and 3D printing new weatherproof camerabox

    printing a 3D weatherproof camera box begins

    October 8th, 2018

    Bradley Pizzimenti at Gennaker Systems, located in Anchorage, designed a CAD model camera box specially for the Aurora.cam project. On this day, he began the 3D-printing process