Thursday, February 26, 2015

First GoPro video edit

I had my new GoPro Hero4 Silver less than a week and anxious to try it out for video quality.  It is all it is hyped up to be.  Stunning clarity I think.

This is the result of my first edit of the video I shot from a quickly mounted helmet mount.  Not fussy about the helmet mount as it requires concentration not to move the head around abruptly and I'm not struck with the paddle flashing in and out of the field of view.  And, to say nothing about trying to control the camera with neoprene mitts!

Its only a start.  I'll start making some different mounts to get different perspectives.  It will take some time but for now I'm excited about this new aspect of kayaking.

Song "Chapter 2", thanks for use by local Newfoundland band "Another North" from their CD "nomadic" -

For some reason there's no "full screen" button on the embedded video (which makes for better viewing), so here's a link to the YouTube site

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

GoPro shake down paddle

I purchased a GoPro Hero 4 Silver a week ago and spent the first 5 days learning the various settings.  Sunday, I took it out on the water for a shake down paddle.  It was a simple mount to start off - just a mount on my helmet.

The buttons on the GoPro are a nice size but I wondered how it would work operating the camera on the top of my head with neoprene mitts on.  As soon as I got on the water I tried it.  I didn't feel like I had enough confidence that the camera was on the right settings etc, etc so I remove my helmet, turned it on,  pressed the record button and put the helmet back on.  Too much operational overhead for me.

Anyway, it was only a trial run with a simple mount with the intention of seeing the video output.  Unknowingly, I was recording video and stills (one every 5 seconds).  So, I ended up with 400 stills.

More on my GoPro adventure later but for now I was interested in comparing the quality of the stills taken with the GoPro against the Olympus Stylus Tough 6020.  Both cameras were in sync time wise so I was able to compare the same shot, more or less.  Here are the results:

This is a shot of Dean with the Olympus, resized from 4288 x 3216 to 1000 x 750.

This is the GoPro still resized from 3840 x 2160 to 1000 x 563.

The GoPro has a wider angle lens so it captured more even though both pictures were captured at the exact same time (maybe nanoseconds apart?).  The video quality is stunning (hope to edit some later) and the still are also good quality, I just have to get closer if I want to replicate the Olympus field of view.

If you click on the shots to enlarge and compare I believe you will agree the GoPro captured a sharper, more crisp photo of the same action.

I think its going to get interesting as I gain more experience with the GoPro and develop more and different mountings.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

On the mend in Bay Bulls

Last weekend I did not paddle.  The cold I've been fighting for six weeks was taking its toll so I opted for rest.  But, there's only so much standing on the sidelines I can take so today Brian, Dean and I met in Bay Bulls for a paddle.  It was cold but no wind actually made it feel comfortable.

The put-in was covered in snow and ice which meant I was able to do a seal launch without worrying about gelcoat.

We headed out on flat calm water with the sun trying to burn through the cloud cover.

In the inner harbour it was flat calm but some swell running in from the southeast began to make its effects felt the nearer we got to North Head.

It got choppy in the rebounding clapotis.

It did not feel cold but the snow and ice on the cliffs made sure we were reminded it was still winter ...

... which we felt with full effect as we turned south into the biting wind to cross the mouth of the harbour and to the south side of Bay Bulls.

Soon we were on the south side and amidst a bunch of sea stacks named Baboul Rocks.

Though open to the southeast swell, I was surprised is was as calm as it was making it enjoyable paddling through the stacks.

Departing Babou Rocks we entered the harbour proper paddling west along the south side where the cliffs were draped with icicles which ...

... I think adds interest to any seascape.

Back inside the inner harbour it was calm and peaceful again as we approached the takeout which ...

...  arrived at first to photograph Brian and Dean coming in also.

We put-in just after 9:00 and surprisingly we got back just at the stroke of midday.  Given an early end to the day's paddle we had time for coffee before heading home.

It was two weeks between paddles.  I missed it.  The cold still hangs on but I was getting my fix today, thanks to Brian and Dean.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A pruner to compliment my hatchet and saw

I've had a nagging cold for what seems like forever.  I've paddled through it the last three weekends but last week's paddle set me back.  This weekend I decided I best stay off the water to give my body the rest it needs to get over the cold.

Instead of paddling, I read about paddling and thought about past camping experiences.  Last summer we landed in Parsons Cove where the only place to camp was on a shrubby bank above the high water mark.  I used my small hatchet to clear a spot but it was really overkill.  The hatchet worked but it wasn't very efficient and bounced off of rocks in trying to cut the twigs off at ground level.

Reflecting on that this weekend I thought I need a set of pruners for small branch low shrubs.  Not only that, but I can use them for cutting the ends of boughs to make a soft bed to lay the tent on if need be.  They don't take up much room and can be crammed in anywhere so today I picked up a pair.  All I need to do is add it to my gear checklist.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Too cold for pirates

Today Clyde, Dean, Terry and I went in search of pirates.  A story coming down through the ages has a certain Captain Kelly, on time Lieutenant of the pirate Peter Easton, hid a huge fortune in gold coins on what is now Kelly's Island in Conception Bay.

We met in Long Pond to paddle the three kilometers to Kelly's Island and from there circumnavigate the island.

It was bitterly cold at the put-in.  We had to paddle through some frozen ice pans and slob to reach open water where we ...

... paddled out of the harbour under the industrial complex, so to speak and ...

... strike out over the three kilometers to Kelly's Island in the distance.  The wind stung on the face and thumbs went numb from the cold before some exertion warmed everything up.

We arrived under the talus slopes and cliffs of Kelly's Island an paddled south into a little bit of a breeze.

At a small, protected cove we caught our breath and to get out of the cold breeze which ...

... froze the salty brine to spray skirts and deck.  Even protected from the wind it was chilly so we didn't linger long to make our way back ...

... down the other side.

Far off in the distance "The Bell" of Bell Island floated on the horizon just above Terry's bow.

Last weekend it rained.  Then it turned cold.  Water found its way through the ground cover and fissures in the cliffs to form some fine looking icicles.  As it seeped through it picked up dirt turning the icicles brownish.

Further along the water flowed over the surface before freezing into white and tints of blue.

Almost back around we stopped at Easter Beach for the call of nature and a stretch of our legs.  The large tanker "Kometik" was anchored in the bay so we detoured a little to paddle by it.  There Clyde realized he ha left his glasses at Easter Beach so we back tracked almost two kilometers where ...

... Clyde got out to look for his glasses.  I hoped his eyesight was good enough to spot them so I didn't have to get out.  It was.  Retrieving them we crossed again to Long Pond which added four kilometers to our day's paddle.  It made it a respectable length o that was a bit of good fortune.

We didn't spot any pirates nor did we expect to really.  Its too cold for pirates.  They're probably back in the Caribbean where its much warmer.

See Dean's pics from today here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Another gadget

When I started kayaking I bought the kayak, paddle, PFD, spray skirt, a sponge and a paddle float.  That got me started.  Little did I know I was setting out on a spending spree, seemingly without an end.  Following the basics I bought a pile of camping gear, a VHF radio, a GPS etc, etc.

The latest gadget to suck money out of my pockets is a barometer, a docooler Sunroad FR500 Multifunction LCD Digital Altimeter Compass Thermometer Hygrometer Weather Forecast LED Torch purchased at Amazon.

I thought I needed one for longer trips to supplement the marine forecast and what I could figure out from incoming cloud formations.  I wanted to be able to log the rise and fall of the barometric pressure which heralds high and low pressure systems.

The unit shows, from bottom to top (the shot above is on the temperature setting), the local barometric pressure, a graph showing the last 24 hour trend, the sea level pressure and graphic showing the trend with a weather outlook.

The pressure it shows is 2 to 2.5 points below the local weather station but that may be due to difference in altitude between the two locations.  The unit does move in step with the falling or rising pressure at the weather station.

The sea level pressure doesn't give accurate info because at sea level the two readings are different when they should be the same.  No big deal.

It shows a sun symbol even when its raining.  Can't figure that out!

The battery is rechargeable and so far has lasted over a week on the charge it came with.

I think its going to be useful.  The question is, will it be the last thing I need to buy?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Oh, lonesome me!

Saturday I was all ready to join Brian, Clyde, Dean and Terry for  paddle but my paddle plans got hijacked.  When Dean posted his pictures from the paddle I knew I missed a good day.

Today, Sunday, I couldn't convince any of them to paddle again.  They had their fix and the weather was not very enjoyable.  I planned to go deciding I would wait till later in the day when there was a chance for improved conditions.

After dinner I drove to St Philips to get my fix.  It was 6C.  Rain has just about washed away what snow was on the ground.

It was trying to brighten up towards Bell Island as I looked out from my perch behind the rock on the left.

Its been a strange winter so far.  Some days bone chilling cold.  In the morning today rain now cascading over the cliff between remnants of icicles formed when it was cold.

The water was low with not enough swell to ride over some rocks.

Kellys Island and Little Bell Island float on the horizon in the distance.

As I approached Steen van Anton the sun found an opening in the clouds and the sea sparkled with dancing diamonds.

At Topsail Beach I took out for a snack.  There were lots of people out enjoying the break in winter.  I took out on the far side of the stream flowing out of the lagoon.  I didn't feel like fielding questions that people usually ask about kayaking.

Anyway, I got out.  Unfortunately no shots of other kayaks.  I made up for it by visualizing myself paddling along an exposed coast by myself on some great adventure.