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  1. #1
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    Park Service took my picture on Picture Rock this morning

    How ironic is this? As I'm approaching mile marker # 1 this morning, a flash goes off. I'm on the Picture Rock Trail so I'm thinking this kinda fits but what really was that. Turns out, the park service has a camera set up on this one tree that seems to have taken my picture as I rode by. I stopped and inspected the camera which has a small sign that reads they are trying to monitor wild life activity. I didn't notice that it happened when I rode back to the car at the Picture Rock Trail Head.
    This happen to anyone else? Sure caught me off guard at 6:15 this morning.

  2. #2
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    You'll see cameras periodically placed throughout Boulder County Open Space on occasion. The one that snapped you at Heil has been there for 6 months or so. It's part of a student research project.
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  3. #3
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    I had that happen last fall at the same place. I was riding in the evening and flatted at the far end of the trail so it had just turned dark as I was coming back down the last section... then BAM, a huge flash right in the eyes from that tree. Surprised the crap out of me. At first I thought it might have been a person, but once I could see again I noticed it was automated. I had a strong momentary impulse of wanting to rip the damn thing off the tree.

    I think it's still taking your picture during the day, you just don't get the flash unless it's low-light.

  4. #4
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    Interesting . . .

    . . . if it scared the bajeezus out of a human, what would this very artificial event do to a wild animal?

    Eventually, the powers that be will decide this is some sort of wildlife corridor and ban bikes as a result--even though their flash scared all the animals away!
    All other things are rarely equal . . .

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fischman
    . . . if it scared the bajeezus out of a human, what would this very artificial event do to a wild animal?

    Eventually, the powers that be will decide this is some sort of wildlife corridor and ban bikes as a result--even though their flash scared all the animals away!
    Ya, flash seems unnecessary.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemission
    Ya, flash seems unnecessary.
    Most definitely. The thing would use much less power with cheap IR lighting and a low-light setting while having nearly zero impact on animals and human. I guess you don't sign up for working in the park service due to technical acumen.

    I think the wildlife study rationale is bunk. It's setup much better to monitor the human user group than study critters.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemission
    Ya, flash seems unnecessary.
    Yeah there is surely plenty of light at 4am to get a pic of a mountain lion....

  8. #8
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    That same one scared the cr@p out of me on a dawn patrol ride last fall. Pretty zoned out, still waking up, and just trying to focus on a dimly lit trail (no lights) and a bright flash comes at me from the side. I didn't know what the heck was going on....could've been a mountain lion with fiery eyes, or someone hiding in the woods, for all I knew. Nearly went over the bars. Took a minute or two to realize what it "probably" was.

  9. #9
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    I hear what all are saying. So is the idea that the local animals use the trails when we aren't there? Otherwise, how would they expect to capture pictures of a representative sample of animals.

  10. #10
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    Yes, the animals use the trail. They're just like us and like the path of least resistance. PR is pretty cool after a fresh dusting of snow. I went up once this winter and was the first human tracks of any kind, but there were a TON of critter tracks going up and down the trail.

    For the record, the critters didn't cut the switchbacks either
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  11. #11
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by thump
    Most definitely. The thing would use much less power with cheap IR lighting and a low-light setting while having nearly zero impact on animals and human. I guess you don't sign up for working in the park service due to technical acumen.

    I think the wildlife study rationale is bunk. It's setup much better to monitor the human user group than study critters.
    Sounds like you need to apply for the job of wildlife biologist since they know so little and you know so much.

  12. #12
    Rolling
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    I say sue em if they publish it without a model release! Your reputation is too valuable.

    However, OP, techinically speaking you are violating open space law. Sunrise is 6:20am and the park is open sunrise to sunset. You claim to be riding at 6:15 am, which is before sunrise.

    http://www.timeanddate.com/worldcloc...nomy.html?n=75

  13. #13
    Rolling
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    If they are really using visible flashes, this is not needed. I have yet to see one but then trails in Boulder are CLOSED at night so if you are riding here and there is a flash that bothers you...oh my.

    However, for night photography, they could use IR lighting and an IR camera.

  14. #14
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    It's interesting to hear they use cameras with flash. I have seen thousands of photos from a study in Summit Co. that use cameras equipped with IR. I have to say, the best photos are the people who "check out" the camera. Three photos a second, motion activated; there are some great derp moments.

    The wildlife photos are great, too. It was interesting to see a moose, a black bear, a coyote, and a mule deer all bed down in the same spot in a 24 hour period.

  15. #15
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    Interesting Critters

    They have a couple at Bobcat Ridge in Fort Collins too. Image 6 appear to have fresh tire tracks.

    http://www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/wildlife-camera.php

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ignazjr
    Yes, the animals use the trail. They're just like us and like the path of least resistance. PR is pretty cool after a fresh dusting of snow. I went up once this winter and was the first human tracks of any kind, but there were a TON of critter tracks going up and down the trail.

    For the record, the critters didn't cut the switchbacks either
    I was xc skiing at brainard saturday morning and saw footprints for a hundred yards or so on the trail. Should have taken a picture... small maybe 2 1/2 inches accross, no claws. Kept going, that little voice in my head said he was probably hungry.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    Sounds like you need to apply for the job of wildlife biologist since they know so little and you know so much.
    It doesn't take a biologist to figure out how to work a cheap IR camera.

    And I don't need a pay cut.

  18. #18
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    I've seen 3 coyotes on 1 night ride I did on my local bike path in the middle of the burbs with no real natural areas around. It seems they liked to use the trail despite the surrounding area being flat and open. One wonders where they go during the day.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by thump
    It doesn't take a biologist to figure out how to work a cheap IR camera.
    Nope. But it does take money to buy one, a department manager(s) to understand and support the need, and then probably sign offs by a procurement "official", a park advisory board, a city council or board of county commissioners, then you can place it in next years budget and hope that the budget get's approved and that it doesn't get cut out of the budget.

    Or, you could write a grant, which still requires approvals from the department manager(s), a park board, a city council or board of county commissioners and possibly a procurement official. First you have to find a grant to apply for. You'll need to find a grant writer who has time to write a grant and get them to help. Then you can finally write the grant which might involve procurement again, since you'll need a minimum of 3 quotes for the price and you may or may not be allowed to do that depending upon where you work. If procurement is involved, you may not have a choice on what you buy anyway.

    And procurement could probably care less whether the camera you get is IR or not, your managers too, so you may just get stuck with whatever someone else buys for you and be expected to keep your mouth shut and just pretend do your job and collect a paycheck like everyone else.

  20. #20
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    ^^ a model of efficient gov't

  21. #21
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail
    Nope. But it does take money to buy one, a department manager(s) to understand and support the need, and then probably sign offs by a procurement "official", a park advisory board, a city council or board of county commissioners, then you can place it in next years budget and hope that the budget get's approved and that it doesn't get cut out of the budget.

    Or, you could write a grant, which still requires approvals from the department manager(s), a park board, a city council or board of county commissioners and possibly a procurement official. First you have to find a grant to apply for. You'll need to find a grant writer who has time to write a grant and get them to help. Then you can finally write the grant which might involve procurement again, since you'll need a minimum of 3 quotes for the price and you may or may not be allowed to do that depending upon where you work. If procurement is involved, you may not have a choice on what you buy anyway.

    And procurement could probably care less whether the camera you get is IR or not, your managers too, so you may just get stuck with whatever someone else buys for you and be expected to keep your mouth shut and just pretend do your job and collect a paycheck like everyone else.

    This isn't my experience with the process but I'm sure it varies from county to county. Regardless, I'd be very surprised if the purchase of a camera would be something that a BOCC would be involved with. BOCCs generally have little to do with the details of the day to day operations of an open space/parks dept.

    Anyway, Someone mentioned that the camera in question was part of a school project. I don't know if that means a 5th grade science/biology class project of someones grad school project. In any case, if true it probably had little or no funding from the county and was just a matter of getting approval from the right person.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    This isn't my experience with the process but I'm sure it varies from county to county. Regardless, I'd be very surprised if the purchase of a camera would be something that a BOCC would be involved with. BOCCs generally have little to do with the details of the day to day operations of an open space/parks dept.
    A single $100 camera probably not. But keep in mind you're probably going to be purchasing more than one. Maybe 10.

    And yes, it varies from city/county to city/county, and even from year to year within a city or county.

    I remember one place where we had a $100 limit before you needed department approval.

    And then there are different tiers.
    $0-$100 = department head approval
    $100 - $1000 = purchasing dept. approval/County Manager approval
    $5000+ = BOCC/Council approval

    So if I'm buying 10 cameras @ $500 each, it's not too hard to see I will need BOCC approval. Probably placed on a consent agenda.

    FWIW I think I had 8 trail counters at JCOS.

  23. #23
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    Anytime I've asked a ranger or Open Space peep about the cameras, 9 out of 10 times, they're being used by college and or doctorate students for wildlife research. The county does use cameras to take cool night time pics of cats snackin' on deer as well.
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  24. #24
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    The only animals I have seen out there are on bikes.

  25. #25
    Free your heel...
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    I think that's a new feature on Strava.

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