Revelstoke entrepreneurs Dave Grimsdell and Ryan Johnson were at the Silver Star Bike Park near Vernon this weekend to unveil their new invention, called the Sniper Action Photo system.
The pair have developed the automated, solar-powered action photography system over the past few years and just rolled it out commercially on the weekend.
Here’s how it works. They set up cameras and flashes at key locations in adventure parks, like at a jump on a downhill bike course, a bungee jump platform or looking down a zipline.
Patrons are given a small radio frequency identification tag (RFID) they attach to their bike or clothes. When they approach the jump and catch air, the system senses the tag and takes a picture, then immediately and automatically uploads it to their website, www.sniperactionphoto.com.
The patron can then go online (it’s mobile-ready) using the password on their RFID tag to view the photos, and download them for a fee.
Grimsdell relocated to Revelstoke from Whistler several years ago. After years of biking and snowboarding there, he realized he didn’t record many adventure memories. “I’ve been in Whistler for 11 years and I didn’t really have a single photo,” Grimsdell said. He then thought about ways to overcome the burden of carrying camera equipment while out riding, or the cost of hiring a photographer.
With the idea in mind, he worked with friend Ryan Johnson, who is the tech guy. “He is a computer genius, I think,” Grimsdell said of Johnson’s work developing the turnkey system.
In addition to Silver Star Bike Park, they also have systems at the Oyama Zipline, Chase Tree Top Flyers and SkyTrek Adventure Park near Revelstoke.
“The challenge for these locations is they’re not busy enough for a full time photographer,” Grimsdell said. “We fill that niche for a fraction of the cost of a photographer.” Their business model provides for several different revenue or ownership arrangements with host adventure parks.
Their idea got some exposure recently in a journal devoted to RFID technology. Since then, they’ve got inquiries from adventure parks in Florida, Italy, Turkey and more.
Grimsdell is excited about the possibilities, but said right now they’re focusing on improving the technology, the photo quality and reliability. They could expand in the future, into the winter market or possibly video.
Grimdell joked that video had unique limitations: “People don’t always look as great on video as they think they’re going to look.”