At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: DJI Osmo Pocket

Can You Hear the Song of the Sirens in this Waterfall Video?

If you should come upon a waterfall during a hike and feel drawn to it, you’re not alone. Here’s what happened to me.

My wife, son and I regularly go on hikes in Connecticut with two other families. I’ve found this group weekend activity to be particularly stabilizing during the pandemic. Plus, we really enjoy hiking.

I always take a camera if just to capture a group selfie in the forest. I originally relied on my GoPro with its wide angle lens, but more recently I’ve simply been using my iPhone along with my Apple Watch’s ‘Camera Remote’ app.

This pairing allows me to walk away from my iPhone that I’ve mounted on my little Joby tripod. I can then join the group shot and look at the frame from my wrist. Finally, I remotely snap the photo by simply tapping my Apple Watch (with a 3 second countdown).

Of course, there are any number of other forest photos to capture, ranging from the macro to the panoramic. Nature is always there for you. So if you miss a shot, you’ll get another chance the next time.

The Lure of a Waterfall
That said, there are not that many waterfalls. So if you pass one, you probably should spend some time with it. And yes, that includes framing a few shots or video clips. Not that you’ll need to force yourself to do this. Waterfalls have a magical quality. I find it hard to look away.

  • The movement of the water
  • The power of its flow
  • That mesmerizing sound
    (There must be invisible creatures singing within the water streams.)

Usually, I see people taking shots of the complete vista. But for me, that’s not enough. Waterfalls are sirens. They call to me…

“Come closer… closer. Step on that slippery, wet rock. Stretch your camera next to my mist. Forget the danger.”

And so I do. It’s intoxicating. I want to touch that magic and somehow capture it all with my camera.

But I can’t. Not really.

To do the job right, you need to really take your time. (That can extend beyond the patience of your hiking mates.) And if you’re going to put your gear in harm’s way, you should have some waterproofing to protect against the spray.

My Encounter with the Prydden Brook Falls
Recently, our little hiking pod was back on the Zoar Trail in the Paugussett State Forest in Newtown, Connecticut.

And into the back half of our 7.8 mile hike, we came upon the Prydden Brook Falls.

This waterfall is stunning, especially in the afternoon as the sun highlights all of the droplets dancing in the air. I’ve taken pictures of this enchanted space before, and explored slower shutter speeds to create a silkier water effect.

Editing Together the Songs of the Falls
This time, I needed to get even closer. Everyone else snapped away from afar, and I waited until they got their shots. Then I almost blindly stepped in. I had my little DJI Osmo Pocket camera with me, and I began shooting video clips from different angles.

It was an entirely imperfect exercise. I didn’t have the right ND filter to prevent the brights from blowing out. I could barely see what I was shooting as I stretched in as far as I dared. (I hadn’t entirely lost my mind.)

When I returned home and reviewed the footage, I saw that my twenty-minute shoot (or was it longer?) had yielded some interesting clips, but they were far from perfect. That said, my Osmo Pocket had successfully captured the amazing sounds of that waterfall.

And based on that variable, I decided to edit together the video clips into this short sequence:

It’s hard to properly record the majesty of any waterfall, but happily, I did successfully capture the different songs from this little water beast. And that carried the day for me.

It’s just another example of how audio is often the unsung hero behind any successful video.

The Sirens Still Sing
In hindsight, I should have brought my waterproof GoPro. But happily, I didn’t destroy my DJI Osmo Pocket. Nor did I fall to my doom on the slippery rocks. My family and friends indulged my waterfall encounter, and we eventually continued on our glorious hike.

I’d call that a good day.

Yes, both my camera and I escaped the lure intact. But this waterfall still calls to me. I can still hear its music.

I’ll be back…

How to Take 10 Minutes on Vacation to Create a Brilliant Timelapse

I captured a timelapse video of Barred Island in Maine while the tide lowered, revealing a narrow strip of sand and an entry point.

Look, I knew I wasn’t fooling my family. Not when we went on vacation to Maine, experienced an incredible hike in Acadia National Park, and took a break for lunch. Because then, I unzipped my backpack and didn’t take out my sandwich. That sight is an easy tell by now.

Instead, I pulled out a compact tripod and my DJI Osmo Pocket camera which I’ve been using to create timelapse videos for the better part of the past year.

My wife and ten-year-old son have come to expect that I’m going to try to quickly capture a timelapse shot in moments like this.

Ten Minutes on Top of your World
Lunch on the top of a hiking summit a thousand feet up usually happens pretty fast. There isn’t time to capture hours of a changing landscape. Not when I’m primarily there to enjoy it with my family.

But carving out ten minutes? Yes, my family can handle that.

Capturing a video frame at two-second intervals for ten minutes creates a nifty ten-second timelapse.

It’s enough.

Enough to allow me to feed my creative spirit, but not too much to be disruptive to the larger goals of our day.

Chasing Nature’s Relationship with Time
Snapping a photo isn’t a problem. We’re all used to pausing for someone who needs to take a few seconds to get a quick picture.

But timelapse shots are a different game, and those ten minutes can feel like an hour when it’s really time to resume a hiking trek. I actually take closer to fifteen minutes, because I also need to set up and break down my little tripod. (It’s a Manfrotto Element Small Aluminum Traveler Tripod. $93.84 on Amazon.)

I really appreciate my family’s flexibility as I’ve explored my little hobby capturing nature timelapses.

My Timelapse Videos from Maine
Last week, I shared my favorite photos from our Maine hiking trip.

And now, here are my timelapse clips from our fun adventure in Maine.

Thank you, DJI Osmo Pocket, Manfrotto tripod and my family for helping me to capture these beautiful moments.

44 Seconds from my Surreal Summer of 2020

Have you begun to see life differently too? Here’s my view from the beach…

I’m not complaining. As I write this, our state is currently not a hot spot. My family and I are healthy and safe. But of course, this summer of COVID-19 is anything but normal.

Even a walk on our local beach early in the morning feels… surreal.

Avoiding the crowds yet also craving more human interaction. Enjoying the uninterrupted patterns of nature and flow of water, though unable to avoid the constant awareness of instability and global disruption.

It sometimes seems like I’m living in someone else’s painting.

This short video I shot with my DJI Osmo Pocket provides a sense of this experience that I imagine you may also be feeling…

 

Again, I’m not complaining. Not really. It’s just so weird. And if I’m actually inhabiting a virtual painting in some alternate reality, I’m happy it can be at a beach on a sunny Saturday morning.

#FindingTheBrightSide

%d bloggers like this: