To take pictures in Near Space, you can either:
- Program a system with servo to push the camera’s shutter automatically or remotely
- Program the camera to take pictures automatically
The latter is by far the easiest way to take pictures in Near Space.
The most famous way to program your camera is to use CHDK. CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) is basically a firmware enhancement software allowing you to control additional features and options of your camera.
The tool supports a lot of Canon digital cameras. So you really want to use a Canon camera. You can find the supported list here.
Note that it’s an enhancement tool, it is non-permanent and non-destructive. You load it from your SD card and it makes no actual changes to your camera and firmware.
Installing CHDK is pretty straightforward if you have an SD card of 4GB or less. You can find the step by step instructions here.
CHDK was created to run on FAT partitions and SD cards that are higher than 4 GB run on FAT32 partitions. For 8GB SD card or larger, things get more complicated. You can find how to install it here.
Note that despite all my best efforts, I have not been able to make it work on my 8GB SD card. It just would not work. (Maybe due to my SD Card brand…)
Once installed, you can create a script to take pictures with the desired settings every X seconds until the SD card is full or until the battery dies. You can find some intervalometer scripts here. Another interesting feature is that you can save the battery voltage and the different temperatures recorded by the camera sensors (optical elements , battery and charge coupled device (CCD)) in a log file. More info under get_temperature.