{Impatient for photos? Scroll to the bottom!}

I always have my DSLR Camera or my GoPro with me on any trip I take, be it work or vacation.  I truly enjoy documenting everything around me.  I was determined that this expedition would be no different. My GoPro, in particular, has been through a lot of adventures including a sediment coring cruise, videos swimming in glacier water, and time-lapses of the Northern Lights (to name only a few). On this voyage, I planned on taking time-lapses of the sunsets and filming our OBS deployments from the safety of the deck. But during one of the first days of the trip, Zach suggested I use my GoPro (equipped with a waterproof case) to get a shot of the OBS deployment from the ocean’s perspective, in the water.

I have to admit, that after my initial instinct of, “OMG that would be SUCH a cool shot,” I thought, “Shoot. This is the ocean. It would suck if I lost this thing. There’s no way I could get it back.”  But my initial instinct and curiosity took over, and I was determined to try and capture the OBS’s fall into the deep blue of the Pacific.

I wasn’t quite prepared for this type of shot, and hadn’t brought the proper mount, so we had to arrange a contraption that would keep the GoPro secure on whatever we lowered into the water,  ideally reaching 30+ feet below the deck.  One of our OTGs, Rob, had done this before, so he helped me make a device that would help get the shot and settle my fears of possibly losing my precious GoPro.  We got three carbon fibre poles, and lashed them all together to make one very large pole, that I would eventually stick in the ocean.  Rob also drew a line with paint, all the way up the pole so I would know where the camera was pointing.  After running tape around the area that my GoPro would rest (to thicken the pole a bit), Rob used a hose clamp to attach one of my mounts to the pole.  As a secondary recovery, we also attached a rope to the GoPro, and tied the rope to the side of the ship.  If I dropped the pole, or the pole broke, the GoPro would (probably) be fine!

The apparatus was finished, and now it was time to test it out.  As the ship crew and the science crew got ready to lower the OBS, I grabbed the pole and slowly lowered it in the ocean.  The OBS descended, was released, and was officially deployed. Once the OBS was out of sight, I hoisted the pole out of the water, and was relieved to find my GoPro still attached.  With my adrenaline pumping, I quickly rushed inside to watch it.  I ended up getting a great shot… of the propellers and the bottom of the boat…and completely missed the descent of the OBS.  The current was strong and it was difficult to control the long pole from the fan tail. But I also didn’t follow Rob’s directional line on the pole, and forgot to turn the GoPro towards the OBS after I lowered it. Practice makes better though.

Over the next several deployments, I quickly started to get the hang of it.  I got a better idea of what the GoPro could see, and which angle to situate the camera. I developed my routine: go out on deck 20 minutes or so before the deployment, get my hard hat and work vest on, attach my GoPro to the mount/pole, turn on the GoPro, remember to press record just as the winch started upwards, and lower the GoPro level with the OBS.  On several of my subsequent tries, I was actually able to capture the drop and descent of the OBS. I’ve been able to film about 8 deployments now. Sometimes I try to get the OBS hitting the water, sometimes I aim to film the OBS sinking until it’s impossible to see it anymore, and I even attempted one nighttime deployment.

I’m thrilled that everyone can get a glimpse of what we are doing, and that I can contribute a little to documenting our time on board. All in all, the videos and pictures are a pretty awesome perspective on some pretty awesome science.

–Rachel Hatch

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


One thought on “GoingPro

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s