Thursday, November 22, 2007

Success! Well moderate success… but success none the less

Well this morning I went out, got another couple balloons, filled them up with helium, attached them to my rig and went out for a test flight. I ended up using 3 three foot balloons at 3/4th capacity for my lift. The lift generated by these 3 balloons was sufficient but a fourth one would have really made the whole thing soar a lot more easily, although it managed to work fairly well on 3. I did my first test next to a river near a trail. The second shoot was done at a park next to a primary school… I managed to get some shots but I was asked to leave since the kids were going to be coming of for PE (and we all know how paranoid everyone is these days). I am not sure who was more disappointed, me or the kids… yay!!! everyone loves big balloons! Anyway I was hoping to get back out after 4pm when everyone would be gone, but hubris struck poor Daedalus’s Eye down… one of my balloons popped when I was trying to get it back in to the house. Anyway although the photos are not to exciting, the project worked beautifully and proved the principle that this can be done fairly easily with the setup I have designed. I am happy with the results and am looking forward to my next attempt, maybe with an actual weather balloon instead of just 3 over sized party ones. Also I will be a bit more adventurous and let it get a little more height next time… oh well we will see. Thanks for reading!

And here is a little movie... enjoy

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Daedalus’s Eye

So for a while I have been thinking a lot about aerial photography. There are a few different ways to go about this… RC airplanes, kites, blimps etc (or if you have the money, rent an actual aircraft or hot air balloon). After much consideration and toying with some pretty funky ideas, I finally decided that the most practical solution would be to simply attach a compact digital camera to a helium balloon. Since I do not have a remote control camera, the challenge was to adapt a RC servo motor to press down on the shutter, thus taking the picture remotely. After several modifications I have gotten this to work fairly reliably. I have ordered a weather balloon and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail. However today I was able to pick up a 3 foot diameter balloon (8 bucks) at a store and according to my very fuzzy mathematic calculations… this should be enough (although I am not 100% confident since the temperature has an effect on how many metric meters of helium are needed). Anyway I will be attempting my first aerial shoot tomorrow… providing that the weather allows it. I am crossing my fingers that the balloon will not pop and that my chord won’t break… *sigh* there are so many things that could go horribly wrong…so I guess all I can do is hope for the best. The whole thing weighs about 500g and cost about 80 bucks to put together (not including the camera). Anyway here are some photos of the set up… if you have any suggestions, do not agree with my math, or have experience with anything resembling this, please drop me a line. I will post the results of the first test as soon as I can.

I sure hope the “Daedalus’s Eye” does not suffer the same fate as its namesake.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

So today I went with my cousin Stephanie, her husband Ben and their little pug “Pedro” to do some hiking in the mountains of North Vancouver, so yes… more hiking pictures, I know there has been much of this lately on the blog, but I promise to get some other stuff up here soon to spice it up a bit. Anyway it was a really nice day and I managed to get a few decent pictures, here are a few of them. Is it just me, or does this forrest have a lord of the rings feel to it? With the anthropomorphic trees and everything... mmm mushrooms.