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Going Bush with the PiPole-Cam

Wanting to go higher, the following week I purchased another extendable 2.4m to 4.8m pool pole from Bunnings.  I cut the pine pole section down to a bit over 1m in length and doubled it up, so now it's 1005mm high x 290mm horizontal top bar.  It's shaped like an upside down L.

I cable tied in a fresh set of batteries and drove out to my patch of bush.  I was hoping that the 10m tall PiPole-Cam would rise above the tree tops and allow me to photograph the top foliage etc.

Here is a close up of the PiPole-Cam hanging from the pole off the car, being run through a last minute software check:

PiPole-Cam Ready to Fly 

I had underestimated the force of gravity on a 1.7Kg object (last section of pole and the PiPole-Cam), held out at 4.8m on the end of another pole.  I could not lift it directly off the ground without the PiPole-Cam bouncing around hitting the ground.  Plan 'B' was to rest the pole assembly on the car roof and push the pole towards the car, so the end would lift into the air a bit.  That gave me the leverage to be able to raise it further up.

How to Lift a 10m Pole

Apart from inertia, when the pole was verticle, it was some-what manageable.  If I wasn't careful, trying to move it around could result in the PiPole-Cam flying around jerkily.

Here it is a photo showing how drooping the pole assembly could be.  This looks like it might be at around 60 deg.  In fact, by the end of the session, the lower pole had bent out of shape, making it very hard to collapse the extended 4.8m back down to 2.4m.  It also did my back in trying to walk around with it extended out to 10m.  I think I only managed a 20m walk in a small clearing.  You would not be able to walk through the bush with this 10m pole assembly.  It's hard enough with a 2.5m or 5m pole.

Controlling PiPole-Cam

Here is a close up of the last two section of the pole when it's near vertical, and still a bit droopy:

Close Up Of PiPole-Cam

Here is an even closer photo of the PiPole-Cam rig 10m up in the air.  Notice the small doubled up 20cm section of wire that's acting as a counter weight.

Suspended PiPole-Cam

Well, enough about the PiPole-Cam, so what kind of photos did it take? Here is a photo take 10m up, and looking down across a track.  You can see some of the local trees still tower 10m or so above my PiPole-Cam!

Local Bush Photo - 1

Because of how jerky the top of the pole could be, a lot of photos ended up very blury due to the camera motion.  Also, the RPi camera doesn't like to take photos when it's pointing directly into the sun.  Here is another clear photo taken at perhaps 7m up:

Local Bush - 2 

Later, back home and looking through the photos, I found one that showed the moon, taken at around 13:30 or so in the afternoon:

Close-Up of the Moon 

After 40 minutes or so of using the 10m pole, I took the bottom section off and took a lot of other photos just using the 5m section.  At this stage, the only way to tell it was working, was to try and see if the red camera LED was blinking every 30 seconds or so. I could also rest the pole on a tree fork and check the photos that where being shared out via a wireless AP samba share.  I later found out that I had been carrying the pole around through the bush for an extra 15 minutes, as the 4GB SD card had filled up all available space.  Time to call it a day!

I really have to work on getting a buzzer sounding before it takes a photo.  It will also help to migrate to a large 8GB SD card as well.