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Talking with the Triggerfish- Hedwig Dieraert
By Joseph Tepper, May 3, 2011 @ 07:00 AM (EST)

By Joseph Tepper

Recently, DPG was fortunate enough to interview Hedwig Dierdaert, the creator of the Triggerfish sensor- a new sensor that fits into a Nikonos five pin connection and can trigger strobes manually or in TTL. Enjoy!

DPG: What was the inspiration behind the creation of the Triggerfish? Where did the idea come from?

HD: A year ago, I was invited by a good friend (and wreck diver) to explorer an abandoned, old mine in Belgium. We prepared carefully for the dive, and I placed some slave strobes on my scuba tank to illuminate the depth of the mineshaft. Unfortunately, the strobes did not fire due to the non-reflective walls in the mine. And so, the inspiration for building the triggerfish was born.

Beetle wreck  in the Netherlands – Oostvoorne, 2 strobes with triggers inside and 2 strobes outside.

DPG: Can you describe the manufacturing process? For example, everything from the basic design, to the materials, and the process of putting everything together.

HD: I started to build a little electronic circuit to trigger the strobe and did some testing on a breadboard. In addition, I had to program a microprocessor and choose a phototransistor. I chose a phototransistor that has a small angle of 15°, because I was afraid that it would be too sensitive for ambient light. I drew up a housing plan for it and sent it to a housing manufacturer in my country to produce the aluminum parts and let them anodize. I did much of the assembly and testing by myself, as the quantities were too small to mass manufacture. 

 Little wreck in the Netherlands – Oostvoorne, 2 strobes with triggers inside.

DPG: How are your triggerfish sensors are an improvement over current systems/existing products?

HD: It is not sensitive to ambient light and it has a solid Nikonos 5 pin connector. Its housing is made from anodized aluminum. It can be triggered using TTL or manual settings. Switching between these options is possible underwater with a switch magnet outside the triggerfish housing. Red LEDs display the settings and functionality off the trigger.

DPG: How do you believe your product will help facilitate creative underwater photography?

HD: I think this depends totally on the creativity off the photographer who is using them. Wrecks and caves are good situations to be creative with the triggerfish. It still takes a lot of work to put the strobes in exactly the right place and position them well, but these efforts will result for in one fantastic photograph.

Mine entry in Belgium, selfportrait on tripod with 2 strobes and triggers on my back.

DPG: Can you descri be the conception of the shot above?

HD: I was still thinking of the idea of taking the photo in an abandoned mine. After decent preparation, we decided to go for it! The goal was to be able to illuminate the cave behind the diver with the triggerfish, using only one diver to avoid upwelling dust from other divers. Two triggers and strobes where attached on my back. The first results are not “stunning,” but it is all about experimentation. Thanks to Vic Verlinden, Roland de Kokere and Roger for the support in diving the mine.

For more information or to inquire about purchasing a Triggerfish, you can contact Hedwig at  triggerfish@telenet.be.














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