American in Spain

Cactus Teaser

July 3, 2008
Cactus Teaser

For whatever reason, cramped space, climate change, low rainfall (aka. negligent watering), etc., the cactus is flowering late this year. In anticipation of the flowers, I took my photography up to the next level by purchasing a real professional tripod. One of the problems I saw in the Cactus Cam videos from 2007 was that, since the cactus was outside, the wind and varying sunlight made the video flicker and jump like the early days of cinema. I want to show smooth growth and flower blooming. With this in mind, I moved the cactus indoors, right inside the window ledge he's used to occupying, and set up the tripod with my expensive DSLR trained on our prickly subject. This is a huge improvement over the 320x240 resolution my 7-year-old webcam was giving us last year. The problem is that my timelapse studio is not yet complete. My camera does not have a permanent power source, and thus is operating on limited battery power. Using a USB cable and a computer program, I started taking shots every 5 minutes last night at 19:00 and the camera's battery died 12 hours later at 7:00 this morning. So it looks like it's going to be a matter of timing it just right on the night that the flowers open. For the flower night I'll probably do more shots, like one per minute, too, to guarantee smooth motion.

What's amazing is that the cactus, and its little prickly children, are about to produce... SEVEN FLOWERS simultaneously! Unbelievable!

Below is the 6 second clip of last night's 12 hours of growth....with some cinematography to express the anticipation and excitement I'm feeling.

Look, it says "teaser" in the title! What'd you expect?

This video is also available on Flickr, YouTube, Metacafe, Google, DailyMotion,, Veoh, Crackle, Sclipo, Viddler and Howcast.