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Offshore photographer takes 17,000 pictures to painstakingly survey world’s biggest wind farm

PUBLISHED: 17:54 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:55 12 July 2018

CHPV undertaking 360VR tour of the London Array offshore wind farm. Photographer and film maker Alan O�Neill, with camera, with some of the team that supported him � Simon Snoding of London Array (back left) and Dean Stephenson (back right) and Paul Bird, both of James Fisher Marine Services. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL CHPV MEDIA SERVICES

CHPV undertaking 360VR tour of the London Array offshore wind farm. Photographer and film maker Alan O�Neill, with camera, with some of the team that supported him � Simon Snoding of London Array (back left) and Dean Stephenson (back right) and Paul Bird, both of James Fisher Marine Services. Picture: ALAN O'NEILL CHPV MEDIA SERVICES

CHPV Offshore Filming & Photography, Orbis Energy, Wilde Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 1XH 0044 1502 500272 www.chpv.co.uk

How’s your head for heights? Offshore photographer Alan O’Neill put his to the test when he completed a 360-degree virtual survey for the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

How’s your head for heights?

Offshore photographer Alan O’Neill put his to the test when he completed a 360-degree virtual survey for the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Mr O’Neill, one of the world’s most experienced photographers in his field, captured more than 17,000 images covering every aspect of a wind turbine and offshore sub-station at the London Array.

In order to access the inside of a monopile – or turbine foundation – below water level, he was assisted by a confined space and rescue team from James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS) in Lowestoft. Mr O’Neill, from Lowestoft-based CHPV, is one of very few photographers qualified to work in such spaces.

“It took seven people and 30 bags of gear to get just me and my camera in position,” he said. “JFMS’s people had to vent the space and install special access and rescue equipment so I could safely climb down about 20 metres.”

Also present was a technician from London Array, with a dedicated crew transfer vessel standing by.

Martin Myhill Sisley, managing director of JFMS renewables services, said: “Being able to work with London Array and support CHPV and Alan in the creation of an exceptionally beneficial virtual tool was a great opportunity.

“Utilising our skills, knowledge and experience, we were able to control and provide a safe environment for CHPV to work in and access all areas, ensuring optimum conditions.”

Working its way to the very top of the structure, CHPV took individual photographs of specific points of interest and 360-degree panoramas. The whole exercise was repeated for the offshore sub-station, with its labyrinth of compartments and passages.

With 17,000 photographs in the can, CHPV then had the task of processing 128GB of data to stitch all the panoramas together, resulting in a high-resolution record providing the most detailed documentation available of the assets.

Magnus Blomquist, of London Array, said: “London Array started using it immediately upon delivery for operations and maintenance, engineering and inductions, and there will be much improved safety benefit to working offshore at London Array, making people familiar with the assets before even stepping foot on to a vessel.”

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