Trip to Kraków, Poland – What’s in my bag?

Sweetheart and I are traveling to Kraków for 5 days. We’ll be visiting the city and the nearby National Park.

So what’s in my bag?

A Gopro Hero 4 Silver, a Gopro Hero 4 Black, a gimbal, several attachment add-ons for the Gopro and 2 x 64 Gb and 1 32 Gb card.
The H1 Zoom recorder.

Obviously my beloved Ricoh GR II digital and the 21mm wide-angle conversion lens. With it a 10 ND filter for the occasional long exposure.
My Polaris light meter.
A small tripod.
The Western Digital Passport Wireless Pro 1 Tb.
2 High performance power banks.
A 64 Gb iPad Air 2
iPhone 5s
iPod 80 Mb
Kobo Aura One
Tolino e-Reader for Sweetheart

That’s it.

In fact I bought a second-hand Gopro 4 Black only a few days ago. It has no LCD-screen so I’ll be using a iPhone 4s attached to the gimbal. I’ll be filming mainly in 4K at 24 fps or 2,7 K at 48 fps for slo-mo. The Hero 4 Black does 120 fps at 1080p and 240 fps at 720p for super slo-mo.

The Hero 4 Silver will be used as a backup, for photographs or for Sweetheart to have fun with.

But mainly I’ll be shooting in the highest resolution so I can downscale to 1080p at gain in image quality.

Even if it means much more work I’ll be taking photos and making video in Protune meaning I’ll have to do the colour correction on my iMac later on. Using Protune means better quality with more detail in the shadows and almost an RAW-like approach.

Also in my bag 6 packs of each approximatively 8 metres 5mm jute rope. But that is another story altogether.

 

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CRL-KRK / FR6728

So this is what is going to happen.

On Sunday, September 17 my eldest daughter. will drop us at Charleroi Airport. Some like to call it Brussels South.
I don’t. Brussels is over 72 klicks away so this can’t count as an extension of our capital. For some of the many stupid and retarded politicians in our country a “Huge” Brussels might be a wet dream.

Gate will close at 06:00 and 30 minutes later Sweetheart and I will be in the air.
Poland here we come.

We’ll arrive at Kraków airport at 08:30. Time to pick up our car and drive to the our quite luxurious apartment we rented trough Airbnb. Check it OUT.

We’ll be visiting the city and the famous salt mines. Auschwitz maybe.
Sweetheart and I like to mix city and outdoors so we’ll visit the Ojców National Park a few times.
Hope to do some paddling too.

Maybe we’ll make a little trip to the Czech Republic. We’ll see. Time will, as always, fly by without us having even grasped a second of it.

I’ll be taking my Gopro Hero 4 Silver and Black with me and the Ricoh GR II but mainly I’ll concentrate on video for this trip.
I bought a Western Digital Passport Pro Wireless 1 Terabyte portable disk. Basically you use it on the road, it reads SD-card and USB devices so I can download my video on the disk. After all 64 GB of SD card gives me about 2 hours of video. The disk is cheaper than buying a zillion SD-cards.

I am not sure the Western Digital Passport Pro is a good product though or a good choice. It has been sitting on my desk for about a month and a half since it arrived. I tested it twice. When I fired it up a few days ago it didn’t work. Unable to connect via WiFi, unable to download files. Almost an DOA. I checked the WD support pages and was able to fix the problem. Hell, used it twice and it already got screwed up… Not sure I’m trusting this device.

I’ll be shooting in 4K with the intention to downsize it to 1080p thus gaining image quality and detail. Maybe I’ll shoot also in 1080p at 120 fps if a subject lends to some slo-mo.

 

I don’t understand her either…

Thoughts – September 4, 2017

I find pleasure in kayaking. It’s about the solitude on the water. It is about sports. Obviously I take my Gopro Hero 4 Silver with me on every trip.

There is one downside. It is not so much the distance to those spots where I can rent a kayak that is an issue. It is the time it takes to get there. Normally it is a 1:30 hour drive but the highways leading to them are vulnerable for accidents. A few weeks ago Sweetheart and I drove little over 3 hour to and 2:30 back. Sure, there are alternative roads but the take time too.

Also after a few hours my legs fall asleep or my upper things starts getting numb. I have these experiences when I’m doing a long drive too.

Then there is the fact I’m only training my upper torso and more specifically my shoulders.

Nevertheless I enjoy being on the water.

I wanted to do a second sport. Autumn is knocking on the door already.
The fitness is not something I want to do. I’m sure I won’t be a regular visitor enough. I don’t like group stuff either.
I’d rather be outside, in the open and do something “adventurous”.

So little over a weeks ago I went to Decathlon and got a Rockrider 520 MTB/off the road bike.  I am not an avid bicyclist but I liked the idea of being somewhere deep in the woods, me and by bicycle.

Since I have been riding on a regular basis, doing about 15 kilometres a day. I have to build my condition.

Yesterday, Sunday 3 September I went bicycling at Blauberg in the Province of Antwerp. I did almost 14km off the road. Had a great time. I mounted the Gopro on my head but the footage is still very shaky at times. Better than mounted on my handlebar grip though.

Back home I couldn’t get enough so I did an additional 10 kilometers, mixed road and off the road. Wow, I made me feel like so good.

Time Lapse with stars and planes

August 16, 2017.

Finally a clear night sky. Where I live is quite some light pollution. I want the have the technique in my fingers though before I go out on location for this kind of shooting.

Shot on my Gopro 4 Silver in Protune with native white balance set. Night lapse settings are a 10” shutter speed at an interval of 15”.
Images go through Lightroom first for color correction, sharpening and noise reduction.

The video is the created in Final Cut Pro X.

I used the music in a previous clip but I like it so much I reused it.

 

Thoughts – August 24, 2017

Yesterday was one of these days I like to describe as memorable. Unforgettable even. One of these days that seem to add something valuable to ones life.
Why?
Because it all felt simple good.
Perfect.
I spend almost the whole day with Sweetheart.
Albeit she is suffering from a sore throat and cystitis, we went paddling on Lake Vere in The Netherlands.
 
Yesterday in the early morning we had breakfast.
Paddling. Nature. Light. Water.
Gopro Hero 4 Silver
We were ready to leave for The Netherlands. For once the weather was great and we wanted to spend it on the water. These past few weeks have been horrendous. Cold, rainy, grey…
Meeting horses.
Gopro Hero 4 Silver
Sweethearts’ doctor phoned. The test results were back and she was resistant to the meds she was taking already.
So we drove to her doctor, got the prescription for new antibiotics, drove to the pharmacy.
I found it important for Sweetheart to start her treatment asap.
 
Sweetheart, Lake Vere’s most beautiful mermaid.
Gopro Hero 4 Silver
Due to traffic jams caused by accidents we did over 3 hours to reach our destination in The Netherlands. It would take me little over 1 hour to get to Lake Vere on a normal day.
 
We started our trip at 13:00 and arrived back at Kanoa, our starting point, at 17:00. We paddled a distance of about 16 km. The surface of the huge lake was as flat as a , no wind. It was so good being there.
 
Paddling. Nature. Light. Water.
Gopro Hero 4 Silver
At Kanoa we enjoyed some French Fries and then we drove back home. Unfortunately the day ended as it had started. Enormous traffic jams again. I countered them by using alternative roads cutting down our travel time to about 2 hours.
French fries the Dutch way. After 4 hours of kayaking they tasted so good…
Gopro Hero 4 Silver
At 20:00 I dropped Sweetheart off at her place. When she closed the door of my car I was already missing her. We had such a great and perfect day.
 
God, I love Sweetheart so much.
Sweetheart savouring the moment.
Gopro Hero 4 Silver

Time Lapse again

I enjoy making a time-lapse. Unfortunately these past nights have been cloudy. Indeed, I would love to make something with moving stars.

This is just a simple test. Some 350 images, 10″ exposure taken with a 15″ interval.

Corrected colours, sharpness, contrast and WB with Lightoom and stitched it all together using Final Cut Pro X.

I know this is rubbish but I’m posting this so I can evaluate my progress.

Feiyu Tech FY-G4S Handheld Gimbal for GoPro

There are a zillion clips about a gimbal on Youtube alone. It is a device that allows you to shoot steady footage. So check it out on Youtube if you want to know more about the topic.

I bought one for my GoPro. A Chinese manufactured FY-G4S. For my budget is was rather expensive. I made it up by selling my unused Nikon D300 and a SkyWatcher telescope.

I had some ideas about what a gimbal could do with video footage. You know, the stabilising the walking and so on.

To be honest I was flabbergasted by what a gimbal really can do. Once again there are a ton of reviews to be found on Youtube. But it surpassed my expectations.

My examples are raw. No slow motion or whatever other effect. The footage I am sharing is out of the box except for some basic color correction.  No post work on shake or anything else.

Just the gimbal working.

Thoughts – August 4, 2017

Past Friday, July 28, Sweetheart and I went paddling in The Netherlands. On the Veerse Meer at Kanoa Outdoor Events. I had reserved a kayak the day before. Great place, friendly people and democratic prices. Except for the fact they did not ask if we wanted a life jacket. Okay, we did not ask either.
Getting in a kayak after turning over is very hard. I am sure I would have a serious problem. But then again I am a trained swimmer. I could stabilize the kayak and help Sweetheart in it.

Lake Veere is a huge lagoon in the province of Zeeland. In 1961 the Delta Works dam system partially cut it off from the North Sea. The Delta works were an answer to the 1953 flood killing 1836 in The Netherlands.

Sweetheart and I kayaked some 4 hours and had a great time. Obviously I took the GoPro and a suction holder with me. The suction stuff did not work as the plastic of the kayak was too rough. I had to use the camera handheld but that wasn’t a big deal.

The weather on the lake was rough, about 4 to 5 Beaufort,  so we choose calmer water. On the lake itself the waves were high and we don’t have enough experience yet.

With the GoPro Hero 4 Silver I shot everything in Protune, native white balance and flat color in order to get the most out of the footage. Also I choose the 2,7 K video setting at 24 fps.

We were hungry after the paddling so we stopped at Yerseke and enjoyed mussels in a small restaurant called De Schelde. I’ve been visiting this place a few times a year for the past 3 decades.

At the moment I am not sure yet what I will use a my video-editing program. I am trying both Final Cut Pro X and Premiere CC 2017.

What I find difficult is the color grading. Been watching quite some tutorials on Youtube.
I like this stage because it involves a lot of learning new stuff and experimenting.

Just a couple of weeks ago Sweetheart, her grandchild and foster kid Star, Sweethearts brother, wife and two kids visited a 3 kilometre barefoot path. I filmed the event and edited a 7 minute clip out of it. Added some royalty free music and voila.

I am pretty sure none of them expected such a beautiful result, not even me.

Sweetheart loves the fact I am now documenting our life on video. There is nothing wrong with photos but footage, voice, the surrounding sounds is a whole different experience.

I have many pictures of my mom who passed away in 2005. I would love to hear her voice, watch her speak, smile, enjoy life.

Photographs are stills by nature. We have to add our memories of that moment, that person, that whatever moment.

Over time that could be something very deceitful. My father passed away when I was 13. That was 45 years ago. I never missed somebody that bad as my father.

Anyway, today he is, in my mind’s eye, a god. Just an image. Just a fraction of a second. Yet I remember vaguely being hit, skin burning, crying. I vaguely remember the scent of the Pétrol Hahn he used.
I would sneak in the bathroom and shake the bottle with the green liquid and the oily substance floating on top of it.

I vaguely remember his cough, like something tickling his throat.  When that couching finally went away he could not eat much anymore. Cancer got him. He was 64.

I wish I could watch him walk, talk, smile. That would be so fucking soothing at times. Even today. Fuck, I really so miss him. I would have love presenting Sweetheart to him.
It would never have been possible. He married my mom when he was in his fifties. I’m 58.
Do the math.

Yeah, I wish I could see my father one more time. Hear him talk, watch him walk. Smile at me.
Hug me.
Hold me.

 

 

Dilemma

After quite a long absence on this blog I am faced with a dilemma.

I wrote about what I like to call my love/hate relation with photography a few times.

As a matter of fact I haven’t touched a camera since Sweetheart and I returned from out holiday in Denmark. I’m talking September last year.

I posted some images from that trip and that was it. My last entry on this blog dates from October 2016.

This is a blog about photography and there is a thin layer with a personal grow path, kind of diary.

A month or two ago I started kayaking. Not that often but I like to be on the water. I used to dive too, mostly in the murky water of Zeeland in The Netherlands.

The I picked up a Denver action camera. The quality was okay and I mounted on my kayak and shot some footage. Enjoyed editing it. Nothing special, just your basic amateur video images.

Liked it so much I bought a second-hand GoPro Hero 4 Silver. It offers much more control and the quality of the footage and images are quite high. Shortly after that I bought an electronic stabilizer or a gimbal. The difference between handheld shots and the gimbal breath-taking. Yesterday I got a second-hand ultra-compact Acom H1 Handy Recorder for better sound.

So where is all this taking me? I don’t have a clue. I have almost no experience with this medium. I’m guessing this will be a thrilling new road I’ll be traveling on.

My dilemma is this.
Should I continue this blog albeit is not about photography anymore or should I start a new blog? I have no idea.

What do you think, dear Reader?

A man and his cameras