Northern Michigan in Focus: Becky Kagan Schott

Becky Kagan Schott is a professional Emmy award winning underwater videographer and photographer who specializes in filming in extreme environments. Becky Kagen Scott

She lives just outside of Philadelphia and travels the world working for the likes of National Geographic, the BBC and Discovery Channel.

But with all the travel restrictions last year she started working on something that’s been on her back burner for a while…and in our backyard. Corey Adkins explains in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“I’m always focused on Great Lakes shipwrecks because they have such amazing stories of survival and mystery and tragedy and such great stories of history,” said Becky.

And Becky is working on an incredible way to share these stories.

“I’ve always wanted to work on mastering photogrammetry. There’s so many things you can do with it, and to me, it’s an amazing way to showcase shipwrecks in a new way and then bring the shipwrecks to life,” said Becky.

This year Becky’s adventures took her Straits of Mackinac. Shipwreck one… The Briggs Sandusky.

“Photogrammetry, what is it? Well you basically take a whole lot of images around an object, like a shipwreck, and then you align them together in software basically creating a 3D model of exactly what that shipwreck looks like. Now this is really cool because you can see changes over time say if you shot that shipwreck for the next year, the next 15 or 30 years, you’ll see changes in it,” said Becky.

Think about that, these models are of what the wreck looks like the day she dove it.

“With photogrammetry I can see the Shipwreck as a whole no matter how bad or good the visibility is and that’s really exciting. It basically freezes it in time,” said Becky.

These 3D models takes thousands of pictures to make. Like the Maitland.

“The Maitland was one of the last ships I did a model of this year in the Great Lakes.  What I liked about it is it’s in a good depth, you can’t see the whole thing, and is a pretty good size ship and again just trying to tell its story.  So when I look at the Maitland, I look at its story and then do a model of it you can actually see the story come to life. You can see that the masts are no longer there.  You see the rudder turned really hard from when it almost had a head on collision with another ship. And then you see that perfect V where the collision happened on its side, and this ship has been down there for almost 150 years. And then when you know the history and now that you can even like hold something like this in your hands and see the collision. You see the rudder turned really hard.  Basically I’m holding a piece of history in my hands and this is exactly.  This is the way the Maitland looks in 2020.,” said Becky.

Now Becky is able to share what’s under our waters with everyone.

“I want them to take away that that these wrecks are there and they’re in your backyard.  They’re amazing places to visit and not everybody’s going to be a diver and be able to go down and see these wrecks.  It’s a great way to share their stories and have them last forever,” said Becky.

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus