It’s been a tough winter. I hadn’t been out on my kayaks in a long time, and I missed a great Lowcountry Unfiltered trip on Saturday. I needed to get out on the water. So, Sunday morning before the rains started, Laura kicked me out the door with my touring boat and pointed me in the direction of Lake Robinson. The plan was to give the GoPro camera a shake down and make sure it would do everything it promised.
I chose Lake Robinson over the other local paddling venues quite frankly because it’s boring. The scenery from the park is spectacular with the mountains in the background, but once you get out on the water your only view is of the housing developments that ring the lake. Granted, there are interesting birds, and if you just want to get out and paddle it’s fine. However, nearby Lake Cunningham has much more to see with its lily fields and other quirks.
Yet, this suited me perfectly. I was here to test the new camera, and if it didn’t work correctly, I didn’t want to be disappointed that I’d failed to get a shot. I had my Fuji waterproof camera and Panasonic Lumix as back-ups, but the GoPro was the focus of the mission.
The night before I had put one of the curved adhesive mounts on the front of my Tsunami kayak. In that location the camera would be impossible to reach while paddling. I was glad Amy and Laura had thought to get the camera with the remote, otherwise this wasn’t going to be practical.
I arrived at the Lake around 10:30. It was still chilly, and I was glad I had good paddling clothing. I launched into cool waters and started the camera going.
At first I went back and forth between shooting video and shooting a few still frames. On a lake like this the scenery doesn’t change much, so I got kind of bored just shooting stills. I decided it was time for something more extreme. I set the camera so that it would shoot 1080p video while simultaneously shooting a 12 megapixel shot every five seconds. It’s the best of both worlds. I wasn’t sure how long the battery would last (or space on the SD card, for that matter.)
I eventually made it to Few’s Bridge, then decided to explore a bit further. I rounded a corner and found myself at a point where I wasn’t sure which way would continue upstream. Further exploration would have to wait, though. I had paddled further than I had planned, and I needed to get back before the rains started.
I kept the camera running as I paddled back. I noticed that the battery was getting low, so it was time to swap it out. On the downstream side of Few’s Bridge was either an old boat ramp or road bed. Regardless of which it was, it made a good stopping place to change the battery. With that in place, I continued on, leaving the camera running with video and stills.
So, I had two sources of imagery for video. I had the 1080p video, and the video stills. I was very impressed with the video quality. Even though this isn’t time-lapse, it looks like I was paddling ad blazing speeds. Interesting. Here are a few choice clips stitched together…
…and here is the time-lapse made from the video stills…
I processed the raw images through Lightroom, then used the image stabilization in YouTube.
Overall I was very impressed with the GoPro. I could just paddle and enjoy the ride, and not worry about taking pictures all the time. However, for optimal imaging I figured I really need six GoPro cameras – one pointing forward, one for port, one for starboard, one pointing rear, one on my head for POV, and one in front of me for facial expressions.