Getting into Photogrammetry – debut blog from Alex Tasker

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Every cloud has a silver lining. In early March our skipper called off the weekend’s diving in Loch Fyne. A shame – but I made a couple of phone calls and seized the opportunity to attend IANTD’s first, two-day Photogrammetry course instead. I’ve been experimenting with this over the last year and increasingly feeling that I needed some help!

Tim Clements, who prepared the course, was there to lead it at Vobster Quay. Although there was quite a mix of students with a variety of camera gear, everyone was able to create 3D models from their own image data that they had captured during the underwater exercises which were part of the course. There was an emphasis on teamwork, safety and dive management, as well as on the photographic tasks, and all the students got useful feedback on their in-water abilities over the weekend.

I was paired with David, an experienced technical instructor. While this was my first visit to Vobster he must have dived there hundreds of times – he’s enthusiastic about the place and I must say I found it well set up and hassle-free. We gelled easily and I really enjoyed developing the use of “angel lighting” over the three dives we did together. On dive #2 I had an issue with my primary camera and was relieved to have the Paralenz on top of my rig – I was able to extract frames from the video to produce this model: https://skfb.ly/6HYJJ (that’s the same concrete block we were playing with topside the previous day!)

Back in the classroom, Simon Brown of Deep3D provided expert knowledge on photography and image processing. I was delighted to renew my acquaintance with Simon, who’s a particularly accomplished photogrammeter (if that’s the word) and has modelled numerous interesting underwater sites. I came away with pages of notes to digest on the photography itself and subsequent workflow.

We were also treated to some great 3D VR demos from Marcus Blatchford, illustrating some of the potential for our 3D models. He lent some much-needed computing power too, putting together this model from the image data I captured on dive #3: https://skfb.ly/6HTHX

We all deemed the course a real success; I’m certainly hoping to share some far more interesting models in the near future…

Alex Tasker

Alex Tasker

Alex was a hardy teenager when he first dived in the North Sea in a borrowed wetsuit but only really got into diving with his partner in 2009. They’ve ticked off a few bucket-list destinations but remain enthusiastic about all that UK diving has to offer. Alex only learned to use a camera properly since taking one underwater and now rarely dives without it. He’s recently expanded his interest in photographing shipwrecks into some experiments with photogrammetry, with ambitions to produce some archaeologically useful models.

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