Sunday, February 24, 2013

StreamCam 1: Semi-Failure

Last weekend, I converted "Explorer 1" the PVC burrowcam pole into a prototype streamcam.
It was a rushed transformation, made possible by a new GoPro mount that allowed more pivoting of the camera.

I mounted the camera so that it would look out more or less horizontal to the stream bottom while I manipulated the pole from above.

I could see using it while wading, canoeing, or as in this test, from a bridge.
I cut the 10 foot PVC pole in half and mounted threaded fittings so I could use a short version or a longer version by screwing together the 2 halves.

Plus, halving it made transporting it in my tiny (but MIGHTY) JEEP more user-friendly.

Mule Creek in Gulf Hammock offered a handy trial site for StreamCam.

You can see by the shadows that I waited too late in the day for good underwater light conditions.

I credit that timing mistake to 2 Labrador retrievers who are hilarious time suckers.
Mule Creek is clear and shallow, but not entirely pristine.

The culverts beneath US-19 were a bit dark for filming this late in the day.

In the current, a gar channeled his inner stick as he waited for smaller fish to drift past in the current.

While the focus of my trip was the underwater scenery, the topside view wasn't too shabby.
The railroad line is inactive, although a fairly new gas pipeline runs beneath it and even under the stream.

Idiots had found this creek before I got there.

Speaking of idiots ... sometimes I qualify.

Lucky for me, GoPro cameras may have 9 lives.
Mine has at least 2.

In the picture below, I'm holding StreamCam (version 1.0).
Although the pipe is camera end up in this picture, when in use this end is underwater while I manipulate the opposite end.

What I hadn't considered, was the fact that even though the adhesive GoPro mount was securely stuck to the wood when it was dry, the same might not be said for wet wood.

It's not that these super adhesive mounts can't take getting wet, they just aren't made for being submerged.

So, after dangling StreamCam multiple times in different regions of the creek, the camera popped off into my hand as I barely touched it to check the reading.

A moment before, it was bumping around on the bottom of a fast flowing creek.


So, maybe that doesn't qualify as true "idiot" status, but this next thing does.

So, maybe that doesn't qualify as true "idiot" status, but this next thing does ...
... I set the Go Pro on the hood of the JEEP ... "just for a minute".

You KNOW what happened next, don't you?

And ... you would be correct.

I drove off with the camera on the hood.

The little GoPro actually stayed on the hood for a hundred yards or so, and when it did go airborne, I had stopped to look at another creek. That location was too shady for any kind of photography so late in the day, so I never reached for the GoPro bag on the seat beside me.

When I turned the JEEP to head back to the highway I heard a clackity rattle sound as if something had fallen onto the pavement.

Which is exactly what had occurred of course.

Arrrgggghhhh !

I jumped out and recovered the GoPro.
I wasn't too worried about the camera since I knew I had not run over it, but I was afraid the underwater housing might have been cracked.

Everything seemed fine at the time.
Just to be safe, I soaked the empty housing at the bottom of my home aquaculture tank all last week.

When I pulled it up after 5 days underwater, it was completely dry inside, so it looks like we're still good to go with that housing.

I have 3 so it would not have slowed me down, but I hate to lose good stuff due to stupid mistakes.

You would think that the multitude of missing in action coffees and cokes that I set on the hood ..."for just a minute" over the years would have taught me this lesson a long time ago.

So, StreamCam 1.0 needs some redesign and I need to not do dumb things, BUT the concept is good and I did get some unexciting test video out of the day.

Prepare to be unexcited ...


Caroline said...

Billfold on the roof while putting kids in carseats, brand new Nikes on back, been there, done that too! GoPro does nice Captain Nemo kind of sound effects.

pablo said...

Keep these coming. I love what you're doing!

tai haku said...

I lost a camera last month thanks to the "set it on the hood for a second" error. Glad to hear you didn't suffer the same fate.

Island Rider said...

Lost two basket of homegrown eggs that way one time that were to be teachers Easter gifts one year. Glad the camera still works.

R.Powers said...

I have done the roof wallet thing too!

Will do! So many possibilities!

Uh oh. I have a feeling it was a good one too.

Ack! Those poor teachers missed out!

Anonymous said...

I like what you are doing with the camera. The possibilities are endless.

tai haku said...

FC - luckily it was an old digicam I risk leaving in the car in case something appears I need to shoot and risk flooding whilst diving and not my dslr!

Barbie~ said...

It may not stay stuck to wood underwater, but it will stay stuck to plastic or fiberglass underwater as long as the seal is tight. Start looking around the garage I bet you'll find the next prototype right quick like! ;-)

Julie Zickefoose said...

The only reason you drive off with valuables on your hood or roof is because you have not learned the Valuables on the Car song. From the moment you set the camera on the hood, you sing loudly, "Camera on the hood, camera on the hood oh oh oh there's a camera on the hood!" This can be modified to, "Coleslaw on the roof, coleslaw on the roof, oh oh oh there's some coleslaw on the roof!"
By and by, you'll tire of singing the Valuables on the Car song, and will cease to set anything on your car for any reason. I'm excited by StreamCam!

Katherine Edison said...

This is so neat! I can't wait to see more. I like the sounds as the camera goes under the water.