In the Field

Once in the field, the team got to work. A first priority was to set up cameras in a special way, so that they could take time‑lapse photos of the vent.

Three cameras were each rigged with a radio receiver. The cameras would be triggered remotely using a transmitter, and photographs would be taken simultaneously from three separate vantage points.

To get the cameras to work, they needed to be close enough to each other to pick up the signals from each location. They also needed to be aimed at the same point.

Using radios to communicate with each other, the team angled the cameras into position from their separate locations. They took test shots to make sure the cameras were all functioning. Then, they weighed the cameras down with rocks to hold them in place on their tripods. It took nearly three hours for the team members to position the cameras.

Grocke inspects the cameras and other gear before positioning them around the lava dome. 

Routine Maintenance

Focused on the active vent, the cameras were set to take one picture every five seconds during the day. They would take one picture every minute at night. The team would try to take pictures for 36 hours straight to try to capture as much activity as possible.

These three cameras will be connected using radio transmitters and receivers, so that they can take photos of the lava dome at the same time from three different places.

Setting the cameras up was challenging. But so was changing the camera batteries every eight hours! This was especially difficult to do in the middle of the night without disturbing the cameras. Armed with headlamps and hiking poles, each team member scooted down the mountain on their backsides to reach each camera. Not the most dignified way to go down a mountain perhaps, but arguably the safest on a windy night in the pitch dark!

When they weren’t manning cameras, Grocke was taking notes of her observations; Salazar took thousands of photographs; and Donihue took GPS readings and used a drone to collect data and aerial photographs.