Saturday, September 11, 2010

How Long Will It Take To Splash?

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan - What would seem to the casual observer as an quick and easy evolution to assemble dive gear, build cameras and get in the water in fact is not. What I have learned (and come to expect) over the past couple of years is just how time consuming this progression can be.
As the flag flew at half massed outside the Windigo visitor center, we spent the entire day today building and testing cameras. At this point I should probably pause to mention that these cameras are not your typical HD camcorder available at the local Best Buy. The Woods Hole 3D systems we shoot with are custom build stereo camera rigs from the imaging chip and lenses up. The boards, camera controls and telemetry are designed and fabricated by the engineers at WHOI. Each system is controlled by fiber optic’s and have custom power supplies and communication software to make them image.
Now, take all that fragile electronics, wrap it in bubble wrap, then foam, put in a hard shelled Pelican shipping case and place it in the hands of FedEx to throw as far a possible while loading the delivery trucks. Don’t get me wrong, I love FedEx. They have been the backbone of hundreds of equipment intensive projects in my career, but I swear, the heaver the case, the greater the challenge to make it airborne in shipping. So here we were, tightening screws, realigning cameras, fixing broken camera supports, etc, etc, etc. No dives today. 

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