Adventure 18 - Round and Round
Finding some fun on a playground in Midway, Kentucky.
Adventure 18 - Round and Round
Finding some fun on a playground in Midway, Kentucky.
Adventure 17 - Max Patch Bald
Max Patch is one of the most famous and beautiful spots along the Appalachian Trail. It’s a rare bald in this part of the world and gives you sweeping views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Black Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee.
I’ve only been shooting video with my DSLR for about nine months, but over that time I’ve gone through a huge transformation to capture smoother and better focused video. I waited until a month ago to really take the plunge into special video accessories and now I can’t imagine recording life without them.
I use a Pentax K-5 DSLR to shoot with, it’s really weatherproof, cheaper than comparable Canon and Nikon cameras, and it’s mine, so I love it. I’ve never seen anybody else shooting with a Pentax DSLR so if you get one, you will always be the odd man out in the US. Pentax recently released a new entry level DSLR that looks pretty awesome. It’s called the K-30 and is actually completely waterproof. I’ve owned 4 different Pentax DSLR’s and they’ve all gone underwater (not on purpose) and survived. They can deal with my antics and except for a few Mamiya photos, I’ve used them for basically everything I’ve ever shot and I can’t wait to see what their next professional grade DSLR can do. Cost: ~$900
I really enjoy working with a Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens and I’d say about 99% of my video and 75% of my photos have been taken with it. They are relatively cheap, very small, and great in low light situations. They aren’t ideal for landscape videos, but are awesome for close ups and anything with people. Cost: $490
Now we get to the video stuff:
I’ve got a Zeikos ZELCDVW LCD DSLR Viewfinder to see live view clearly. It’s absolutely impossible to shoot and manually focus video out in full sunlight without. It really brings you into the video as well and makes you much more conscious of when things are askew, out of white balance, out of focus, or just ugly. I wish I bought one of these earlier to save me from taking so much terrible footage. Cost: $60
Now to quickly and easily get things steady and for smooth pans and twists I use a Manfrotto Video Monopod. It looks cute with it’s three little tripod feet when you see a picture of it, but I promise this thing feels professional. It’s quite a substantial size and can stretch from sitting level to taller than six feet so you can shoot smooth video up above your head without too many problems. The guys over at StillMotion seem to use them for everything and compared to a real video tripod ($700+) they cost next to nothing. They are really fun to play around with too as you can pivot and sway in all directions to follow your subject. Though I wish that the feet were built a good bit sturdier and find myself having to hold it down with at least one foot. Cost: $280
For high quality audio on camera I use a Tascam DR07 MKII and put it right on top of my camera and then synch it up with the video in post production. It took me a few months to realize how useful a quality dead cat (windscreen) can be and again I wish I had just made that purchase earlier and saved myself from dealing with lots of useless audio straight from my camera. I also just started using this audio recorder to record people speaking with a small lav mic. I just bought a Rode Shotgun Mic and Boom so once I’ve tested that out well, I’ll let you know what I prefer. Cost: $100
All for a grand total of… $1830, which is roughly the price of one Canon L Lens, a 7D with a kit lens, or slightly less than half the price of a 5D Mark III. Of course those are all amazing pieces of photo equipment, but I sure don’t need any of them yet. Once I get out of my novice phase and am making the big bucks I’ll take that plunge. I can recommend a Nikon D3200 if you are on even more of a budget. Do buy a better viewfinder though!
What I wish I had: everything from Kessler Crane. But honestly after watching videos from Camp 4 Collective, there are so many times I want to plop my camera down on a Pocket Dolly Traveler ($630) or KC-Light Crane ($400) and just move in every direction at once and shoot amazing timelapses and bouldering videos.
What do you guys think about this setup? Anybody completely disagree?
Emma and I head down to Asheville, NC to start a summer of movie making and photography. Get excited to see some big things.
Music performed by Thomas MacLellan at his house in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Adventure 15: Boys Being Boys
Three boys speed their road bikes after an open SUV in front of them. Shot up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
I know I’m behind on my videos… I’ve got a lot in the works.
Yesterday I set off on my first real bike ride from Asheville out onto the Pisgah Ridge. I head out through West Asheville to the the absolutely breathtaking Mount Pisgah Highway. This was the sort of road that had warning labels to stop truckers from heading near it. It was also the longest and curviest, mountain road I’ve ever biked all the way up. I was entertained on the ride up by a few funny old men passing me in convertibles and then a family of black bears running out into the road in front of me and off into the woods on the other side, before I could turn around and get my camera out.
I was happy to see how straight the Blue Ridge Parkway is once I got to the top of Pisgah Mountain Highway, thankful to avoid biking back down such a curvy road in the rain. I head a few miles further South from Asheville on the Parkway and was very confused by a sign for a tunnel ahead. I didn’t have any lights on me since I didn’t expect there to be tunnels on my ride so I just sprinted as fast as I could to get through the tunnel in the shortest/safest time possible. This first tunnel made me cocky because I could see the light on the other side the whole way through and never got lost. No cars came up behind me and I didn’t hit anything. I figured this was the only and worst tunnel I’d go through and that this would be easy. There was another easy tunnel, then another, but still nothing to worry about.
After a few rainy miles and only a few cars, I turned around and head North on the Parkway for home, I again whizzed through the same three tunnels without any problems, still confident. The tunnels did not stop though. I continued to use the same sprinting strategy through more small tunnels like Fork Mountain Tunnel, Young Pisgah Ridge Tunnel, and Ferrin Knob Tunnels 3-1. Until along comes Pine Mountain Tunnel, which I now know is the longest on the Parkway. They don’t tell you how long the tunnels are on any road sign so I sprint right on into Pine Mountain Tunnel, expecting maybe a moment of pure darkness before I’d be spit out into the sunlight. Suddenly I’m surrounded and swallowed up by the tunnel and I slow from 35MPH to 10, unsure of where the middle or sides of the road are. I change my mind and speed up again, not sure whether it’s safer to go fast or slow. It was real darkness. I’m not quite used to that. Since living in the city, I’m always around some lights and sounds. It was just me and the wind ripping through the tunnel. I hear a car accelerating behind me and catch a glimpse of the end of the tunnel and make a break for it, cranking like I’m fighting to hold onto the yellow jersey, me vs. the car in a race to sun light. And I crushed him; I had to. My heart is racing now and I don’t give up this sprint for the rest of Parkway, certain that somebody is always right behind me, fighting to beat me back to Asheville.
With a big sigh of relief, and a cry of “Let’s gooo boysss” I make it off the highway and stop to take off my raincoat as I head back into the city. I’m pretty tired at this point. I’ve gone up the craziest mountain road since well ever and one of the fastest down hills as well. I push off with my right foot to get my bike moving again and instead of clipping back in, gouge my ankle on the both sets of gears. I’m at a red light so I’ve got an audience of maybe 5 cars now, who all turn and stare at me as I grimace and pedal up to the stop line. The blood must be coming out now and to my despair, this is a very long light. I alternate riding and stopping in random parking lots to recap with myself about whether to call and ask Emma to pick me up. I make it as far as a Big Kmart, then give in and beg for her to help, still 8 miles from home. She comes to my rescue and we both drive off into the sunset with a giant container of black cherry ice cream.
So if you ever ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville, bring good lights for your bike.
I just moved to Asheville, North Carolina so look forward to lots of Southern adventures!
Here are a few shots from my first couple of days.
Stills from cliff jumping on the North Shore for an upcoming music video.
Here are a few stills from Adventure Year’s first rap video shoot. It’s not your traditional rap video as you can guess.
These first two shots are from the Middlesex Fells in Winchester.
Adventure 14: Biking The Kancamagus
I wanted to call it cranking the Kanc’, but then I decided that was a ridiculous name.
This was an awesome hundred mile ride from Woodstock to North Conway along the fabled 112 in the White Mountains of NH. Professional riders include John Work, Sam Johnson, and Arlin Ladue(who completed his first 100 mile ride with us, it might have actually been his first ride over 50 miles too).
The ride home is the best; from the top of the mountain pass to Lincoln, NH you don’t have to pedal for something like 15 miles. There are also some wild hairpin turns and the potential to bike faster than cars. Stay on the lookout for bears though, cause they stole my pizza and blueberries.