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GoPro Drones A Perfect Fit

 

GoPro’s Nick Woodman while at Code Conference May 26-28 in Rancho Palos Verde, California revealed what was rumored that GoPro drones were in the works.  The GoPro CEO described drones as the ultimate accessory for action cameras.   With just about every consumer drone you see flying around the sky these days having a GoPro camera attached to it this is a good move for GoPro.  I think GoPro drones aligns much better than GoPro being a “media company”.  Being an avid GoPro gear enthusiast I believe GoPro makes the best accessories for their cameras and GoPro drones while a bigger accessory it just fits with what they do.  From the plastic they use to the design GoPro drones I anticipate will be very well designed and tough as nails.

GoPro Drones Expanding the EmpireGoPro Drones

DJI one of the leading drone makers with it’s “Fantom” model of drone used to mainly GoPro cameras now has it’s own propriety camera.  The GoPro drone will just be the opposite of this move by DJI.  If GoPro drones can be just as easy as current drones to fly I think GoPro will have it’s next hit, the GoPro drone is planned to be released in the first half of 2016.

GoPro also filled us in on why they had recently purchased Savoie, France based virtual reality company Kolor.com. Kolor’s software lets users to stitch together multiple photographs or videos to make 360-degree panoramas and videos, that is called “spherical content”.  Here is a link to one of the mounts pictured with Mr. Woodman.  This allows viewers to control what angle of a video they see, again another great fit for GoPro.  GoPro drones and spherical content both emerging markets that are in perfect alignment with GoPro moving forward.  As GoPro expands the empire it looks like they are making good decisions, I personally look forward to seeing the incredible products that GoPro brings to these two growing markets.

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GoPro Thumb screw Wrench a must have accessory

Having some sort of GoPro thumb screw wrench has become for me one accessory that is a must have.  GoPro Thumb screw Wrench to me is now a must have accessory for every GoPro users gear bag.  Tight pivot arms enable no camera movement so you wont miss any great shots. There are several different options out now days, some better than others.

GoPro thumb screw wrench 4 different options

GoPro The Tool  is not unlike a lot of the other GoPro accessories well designed and thought out.  It even has a bottle opener integrated into the opposite end.  It comes bundled together with one of GoPro’s other great accessories the handler or can be purchased separately for only $4.99 cheap stay tight insurance if you ask me.  GoPro thumb screw wrench

GoBudi Another company that makes a good GoPro thumb screw wrench.  GoBudi sells their GoPro thumb screw wrench in a bundle also with five long GoPro thumb screws for $9.99.  The GoBudi wrench is just a small plastic wrench that fits over the thumb screw giving you more leverage.

Smatree is probably better known for their GoPro batteries of which are very good and a great deal.  This GoPro thumb screw wrench has been made out of aluminum and works on both GoPro thumb screws and aftermarket aluminum style thumb screws. These are $7.99 by itself or $14.99 in a bundle with some fancy aluminum thumb screws.

EEEkit GoPro thumb screw wrench is also made of plastic making it nice and light to carry in your pocket.  These can be found at Amazon.com for only $5.00.  This wrench, The tool, and the GoBudi all have a feature that I really like in that it can’t slide past the end of the thumb screw.  With the Smatree wrench you have to hold it at the largest part of the thumb screw for it to work not a huge deal just a difference I found in using these four wrenches for the last few months.

 

 

 

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Memory Card Care, Best Tips For GoPro Memory Card Care

Taking good care of your memory cards is just as important as caring for your camera. A camera’s memory card is essetialy the heart of your camera and a key element to capturing great video and pictures with your GoPro or and any digital camera. Good memory card care is not something to take lightly  you can spend upwards of of $80 dollars on a single memory card.  Taking good care of them is essential to long life and optimum performance in your GoPro camera.  This does not effect you as much when you have only one card in your gear bag, but as you aqquire more and more cards you need a good place to keep your memory cards.

Memory card care with SDcardholder.com

SDcardholder.com memory card holder

I have found a personal favorite in SDcardholder.com these little holders are the size of a credit and make memory card care easy.  The come in all a bunch of different colors to suite your needs.

Memory card care tips

  • Delete images & videos on your computer not in camera

Deleting images and video’s from your card while in your camera can actually shorten the life of your memory card.  To increase your memory cards life erasing all your images at once after uploading to your computer only uses one erase cycle instead of multiple cycles.  As a general rule of thumb the fewer times you add or remove data from memory card the better life you will get out of that memory card.

  • Use more than one memory card

Using more than one card is just like having more than one hard drive in your computer.  If there was a failure with your memory card you would not loose an entire trips worth of video and photos.  Example: you are going on a trip to Hawaii and thought you would buy one 64 gb card, the better idea is to buy two 32 gb cards and use both while on your trip.  You will also get more use out of two cards versus using one card all the time.

  • Don’t fill your card to its max capacity

It is not the worst thing to do to a memory card but it is a good idea to avoid recording to the max that the card will store.  There could be a write error if the camera is trying to write to the card and runs out of space.  Most likely this will just effect that last file but I don’t like to chance it.

  • Don’t remove card while camera is on

Memory card care Hero4

Remove memory card with camera off

When digital cameras were new there was a risk of a voltage shock to the memory card while being inserted and taken out.  Most camera manufactures have solved this possible problem but I still like to keep this a good safe memory card care.  You especially don’t want to remove the memory card while the camera is writing to the card.

  • Don’t run your camera battery all the way out

This is a another way to both miss great action and to have a write error is if the camera power runs out while it is writing to the memory card.  When your camera battery indicator is flashing with zero bars left, power down and change the battery.

  • Format your Sd card for each camera you use it in

Memory card care starts from the beginning that si with a good format.  It is not a good idea to use the same card for multiple cameras.  You are probably ok to use the same SD card in multiple GoPro cameras but I try to format the card every time I switch it between camera’s especially if it is a different model or firmware version.  It is also good memory card care to reformat cards ever so often just to make sure the format is good.

  • Ad contact info on your memory card

This one is not necessarily memory card care but, Lately I have seen a lot of lost GoPro camera’s on the Redit GoPro page.  Most GoPro owners would save themselves a lot of heart ache by either adding and keeping the first photo on there GoPro with contact or business card info.  Most people in the end are good people and will return your camera if found.

Good memory card care is mainly simple common sense camera care and use.  I also advise buying good quality cards to of my favorite are Sandisc and Lexar.  Saving a couple $ could and very likely will come back to hurt you by loosing photos and video’s.  Take these precautions, be smart and your memory cards will treat you well.

 

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DIY GoPro camera dolly

I made this DIY GoPro camera dolly a few years back when I had a GoPro hero2 camera.  I really enjoy both making things and close up photography so this was right up my alley.  This was one of my first DIY GoPro projects my first was making a hand grip.  My DIY GoPro camera dolly has a couple pieces that I did machine so it is not completely “DIY”, but those parts do not need to be machined to get yourself a functioning camera dolly.  I based my design of of the Pico dolly found here at FilmTools.

Making DIY GoPro camera dolly

DIY GoPro camera dolly

DIY GoPro camera dolly

First off you will need a set of four either skateboard wheels or what I used and prefer is inline skate wheels.  Then I used a 3″ wide X 1/4″ thick X 10″ long piece of aluminum.  These specs could all be different depending on what you are wanting to do.  I ended up making three different places to mount to one center and to either end.  The axles is where I did the machining and this could be done any number of ways just anything to attach the wheels to and then attach to the middle of each end of the aluminum.  A simple camera dolly can be made any nuber of ways you don’t even need to get brand new parts.  You could easily build this all from parts that you may already have or that are easily aquired from a thrift store pawn shop.  Use your imagination and you can find the parts.  You can use your DIY GoPro camera dolly for all kinds of low angle shots either in a circle or curving motion or in a straight line.  These are fun little tools to get interesting smooth flowing shots with your GoPro camera.

DIY GoPro camera dolly with Hero2

Camera dolly with Hero2

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In my recent trip to the King of the Hammers event in Johnson Valley California our main transportation around the desert was in UTV’s.  Since i am GoPro fan we got quite a bit of footage of us driving around the desert getting some great

GoPro UTV mounting

GoPro handle bar/seat post mount “front view”

GoPro UTV action. GoPro UTV Mounting mainly using the GoPro roll bar mount and a couple spots were small enough to use the seat post/bike mount.

GoPro UTV mounting

GoPro UTV mounting “middle forward” mount.

GoPro UTV Mounting Tips:

One of the keys to getting good footage with GoPro UTV mounting is to make your camera mounted without having it move while driving over rough terrain. To achieve this it is best to use a wrench to keep all the GoPro thumb screws tight.  GoPro has a solution called “the Tool” it works great for keeping those thumb screws tight.  Another key tip is keeping the lens clean and free of dust from out on the trails.  To prevent having dusty footage keep an eye on your GoPro cameras and wiping them clean often will ensure clean shots.  Also a simple thing i have found to save power and enhance battery life is to turn cameras off when stopped or cover them up so they aren’t

GoPro UTV mounting driver view

GoPro UTV mount driver view

sitting in the hot sun.  Hot cameras will loose both battery power and shut off automatically (missing good action) due to over heating.  GoPro’s and UTV’s are a great combo, the UTV’s make for a great filming platform.  I have found that mounting cameras in the middle or as close to the middle as I can on both UTV’s and cars gets you the best stable footage.  Helmet mounted shots are also good just be aware that the camera is mounted on your helmet, I tend to forget and get a lot of unusable unusable footage.  In the end I would say for best results try a lot of different GoPro UTV mounting locations this gets you a variety of angles and editing options.  Get out, have fun, and be safe.

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King Of The Hammers 2015

For quite some time now, theUltra4 King of the Hammers has been a bucket list must attend item of mine.  A  week ago I was able to check this amazing event off.  Taking place in the Johnson Valley, California desert, this off road race is deemed the toughest one-day off road race in the world.  The King of the Hammers did not disappoint, I had an amazing time!  I don’t think I have ever seen more off road machines in one place.  There were motorcycles, sand rails, 4×4’s, you name it…people had their rigs out in force while attending the King of the Hammers event.  To feel the rumble of the unlimited Ultra4 cars is heart pounding; the speed in which they are able to climb the rock features is crazy.  Though this event had no grandstands, thousands of people attended, all routing on their favorite drivers.  If you have ever considered attending this event, think no longer- GO!  You will not be let down, and if you don’t have access to an off road toy, don’t let that keep you home; you can still get out to the coarse…I saw average cars all over the place making it out to the key fan areas.

King of the Hammers fans

Crowds gathered on the rocks surrounding “Sledge Hammer.

The winner Slawson “King of the Hammers”

Randy Slawson, in his Bomber Fab 4448 car, was one of the only cars that I saw not use a winch while going up the “Back Door” obstacles.  Most of the fans around me (including myself), were disappointed when the drivers pulled up and immediately started winching.  This was not Mr. Slawson’s style;  he showed up and took it on like a man!  It took a few tries, but in the end he got up while prevailing over the entire field, taking the Unlimited Class overall win.  I can’t wait to get back next year; the King of the Hammers is a must see if you like racing of any kind.  For more on the King of the Hammers visit Ultra4Racing.com

Randy Slawson Back Door

Randy Slawson and the 4448 heading up Back Door.

Jordan Pellegrino GenRight 4585

Jordan Pellegrino in the GenRight stock/modified car.

 

 

King of the Hammers Chocolate Thunder

The huge crowds of fans at Chocolate Thunder hill.

 

Slawson Winner 2015 King of the Hammers

The King Randy Slawson and his brother the co driver claiming crown.

Her is a video I made of my brother on the Suzuki DRZ-110 at the property where we were staying at.  Video is filmmed 100% using GoPro cameras in several different mounting positions.

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UTV Ride GoPro

Chasing the Hammers

 

 

The queen drives as well

His wife going to get the kids from school in the 4448

 

 

 

 

 

All photos were taken using GoPro cameras I am working on posting some of the videos I took during my trip.  Most of them are from mounts on a Kawasaki Teryx that we used to get around the desert or race venue.  Here is a post I did on GoPro extension poles or check out my YouTube channel for other GoPro reviews and tips.

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Best GoPro Time Lapse Accessory

 

GoPro time lapse Battery eliminator

Switronix Battery eliminator USB 10ft  GoPro Hero 3+ Black

Everyone loves GoPro cameras for their ability to capture amazing videos while doing some of the most extreme outdoor activities.  GoPro cameras are also great for taking GoPro time lapse photos.  GoPro cameras don’t have many down sides but one of them is battery power.  A standard GoPro battery only gets you 1-1/2 hours of use, for long GoPro time lapses this is no good.  Having to change out batteries every hour or so sucks and can make keeping camera in the same spot difficult.  Also if you are taking a GoPro time lapse outdoors the camera getting hot can sometimes be an issue.

GoPro time lapse made easy with the battery eliminator

So my best GoPro time lapse accessory is the battery eliminator from Switronix.  GoPro time lapse photography with the battery eliminator gives you near infinite possibility’s, if you have power your camera can be running.  It is also a relatively inexpensive solution being only $29.95 for a battery eliminator with either a 3ft cord or a 10ft cord with a USB on the end.  They are also available with a power plug for use on drones.  The GoPro time lapse battery eliminator is in my opinion the ultimate accessory for shooting time lapse with GoPro cameras.  I have used one for over a year now with great success, I have even done week long time lapses for work projects shooting 8 hours a day.  During these shoots I was able to turn the camera off at night and back on a gain in the morning using either the GoPro remote or GoPro app.  All while never even touching or moving the camera keeping exact same position the entire time.

Update note: These are currently only available for the GoPro Hero 3 3+ cameras hopefully Switronix will soon have a solution for Hero 4 cameras

Key points GoPro battery eliminator USB

  • No batteries to change out
  • Eliminates the charging cycle keeping camera cool
  • Allows for near infinite run time
  • Can still be used in GoPro case using skeleton back door


GoPro Battery Eliminator

Battery eliminator in GoPro Hero 3+ Black

Also check out my other GoPro top extension pole review

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GoPro Hand Grip Review Best Features & Ease of Use

This post provides a quick review of 4 of the best GoPro camera grips on the market today.  The GoPro accessories market is alive and well, with several small businesses popping up and grabbing some of the multi million dollar GoPro market.  This has mainly been achievable because GoPro themselves focused on just a few accessories, leaving things like GoPro extension poles, GoPro hand grips and a few other key accessories open to fill.  Three of the companies that are the leaders in this space–GoPole, UKPro, and Sandmarc–are U.S. based companies.  GoPro has started to make a good run at taking some of this accessory business back from these companies however, with the addition of the GoPro “3-way mount” (type of extension pole) and “the handler” (hand grip).

Along with describing the features and showing what is included with each camera grip in the video, I will also show a water float test using a battery backpack attachment to demonstrate maximum possible weight.

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The GoPro hand grips

The GoPro Handler

GoPro The Handler GoPro hand grip

The Handler By GoPro

Retail Price $29.99

GoPro has really stepped up its accessory design in the last 6-12 months with several well designed accessories, and the GoPro Handler is no exception.  As far as GoPro hand grips go, I don’t think they could have done this one much better; it’s well thought out and c constructed with quality materials.  It has a nice, soft, easy-to-hold grip that works well in both dry and wet conditions, and has an orange bottom so that when it is dropped in water and floating, the orange end is facing out of the water.  This hand grip has a lot of cool features, but for me the best part of this great GoPro hand grip is what comes with it: “The Tool;” a thumb screw wrench for tightening all standard GoPro thumb screws.

GoPole Bobber

GoPole Bobber GoPro hand grips

The Bobber By GoPole

Retail Price $29.99

GoPole is a leader in the GoPro accessory market and the Bobber GoPro hand grip is one of their flagship items.  Along with the original GoPole the yellow Bobber is one of GoPoles best selling and copied items.  There are cheap copies available on eBay for less than $10, and  these are  basically an item that you pay for what you get.  I personally don’t want to trust a knock-off hand grip to my $400 GoPro camera.  This latest model of the Bobber is their best yet, having a nice yellow body for great visibility, while introducing a nice rubber grip around the center tones down the all yellow body.  The GoPole Bobber GoPro hand grip comes with two bottom attachments– one screw in lanyard and one screw in carabiner, both are 1/4-20 threads.  Having this 1/4-20 thread on the bottom of the Bobber makes it very versatile, and you can easily add a longer pole attachment here, turning the Bobber into an extension pole.  To top everything off, the Bobber comes with a GoPole signature high torque thumb screw for attaching your GoPro securely to this great GoPro hand grip.

 

Sandmarc Carbon Grip

Sandmarc Carbon grip GoPro hand grips

Sandmarc Carbon grip

Retail Price $29.99

Sandmarc adds a great GoPro hand grip to their lineup of quality accessories with the Carbon grip.  The Sandmarc Carbon grip is a versatile grip in that it has both a female 1/4-20 thread attachment on the bottom of the grip and it also has a male 1/4-20 thread on top.  Along with this versatility, its camera mount on top threads off, which can be used as a tripod attachment.  This tripod attachment is made of aluminum, making it strong but hard to tighten.  (note: I have had reports of this stripping out trying to get the camera on tight) I was also a little disappointed that they require you to tighten the lanyard down on this same camera screw; I found this quite difficult at times.  In the end, it’s a carbon fiber grip, making it a sleek looking camera accessory.

UKPro Pole 8

Retail Price $29.99

UKPro Pole 8

UKPro Pole 8

UKPro Pole 8 GoPro hand grip  blends excellent UKPro quality and versatility.  This is a great hand grip to take backpacking or other places where you don’t want the bulk of a larger GoPro extension pole.  At 8″ it still gives a nice platform for taking selfies or sports action shots.  The only negatives I have found with this grip is that it is not waterproof and it does not include a thumb screw.

There you have it… 4 top GoPro hand grips, all worthwhile in their own merit, and not too many differences among any of them.  You really can’t go wrong choosing one of these grips;   Just find which will best suit your needs and get out there and catch some amazing action.

Here is my review of the Top 3 GoPro extension poles

Check out my YouTube channel for more GoPro reviews & tip videos

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GoPro Fetch Review

GoPro Fetch

My dog Cabo wearing the GoPro Fetch

GoPro finally has the whole family covered; first it was the Chesty, then came the Jr. Chesty, and now we have GoPro Fetch.  The family dog can now be a part of the GoPro action, capturing priceless moments like never before.  The GoPro Fetch is, like most GoPro accessories, well thought out and well built.  I would not say it is perfect, but it does do what it is supposed to do.  I have some very easy going dogs, which allows me to attach this to them without much bother.  I can’t say it will be easy to get on all dogs, and once it is on, there will inevitably be dogs who won’t like having it strapped to them. The device is designed with the comfort of the pet in mind however.  The nicely padded areas and soft lycra straps make the GoPro Fetch comfortable  for your dog, or any other quadruped for that matter!  The Fetch comes in one size and is adjustable to fit small, medium and large breed dogs. Smaller dogs may need to remove the front chest plate on the GoPro Fetch for a better fit.  The GoPro Fetch dog mount harness is fully machine washable, so at the end of the day, just toss your GoPro Fetch in the washer.  Some people have commented that the price of $59.99 seems too high, and yes, it may be a little high, but compared to other harnesses on the market it is reasonable.  As many dog owners do, I regard my dogs as members of my family, and thus, despite the device having some imperfections, and the price perhaps being a bit high, having the ability to see the world from my dog’s viewpoint is absolutely priceless.  Who knew the day would come when man’s best friend would join man (and woman) in capturing amazing GoPro moments.

Pros:

  • Great design
  • Comfortable for the dogs
  • Capture great moments through your dogs view
  • Washing machine safe

Cons:

  • Straps can slip
  • Price $59.99

GoPro Fetch Final Thoughts

The GoPro Fetch is a fun accessory to have, giving you the ability to capture the world the way your K9 companions do, as they experience life’s adventures along with you.  It is great to see GoPro expanding past the extreme sports market; this is yet another of many ways to use these amazing cameras.  GoPro Fetch is a winner for me.

Also check out my review of Top GoPro extension poles

More on the Fetch

Buy GoPro Fetch

Buy GoPro Hero4 Silver

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Toyota’s crawling Moab an adventure on Pritchett Canyon Trail.  Every year, usually the first weekend in May a group of friends and I take our trucks to some of the worlds most amazing off road trails in Moab, Utah for a few days of rock crawling.  Toyota trucks may not be your first thought in off road vehicle but in the 4×4 community most anyone will admit Toyotas make great off road vehicles both as hardcore crawler or just a trail rig.  I have only been going down to these incredible trails in Moab the past few years but the group of guys I go with are serious Moab crawling veterans who have been making this annual trip for over a decade now.  The group is mostly made up of  hard core Toyota owners there may always be at least Jeep or two.  In the end it is all about the love of going out and testing the ability of both you and your truck enjoying good times with friends.  During this time in Moab there is also an event going on called cruise Moab centered around Toyota land cruisers and Toyota 4×4’s of all kinds.  If you are looking for a great place to take your 4×4 vehicle Moab Utah should be on the top of your bucket list.  One other great reason to go to Moab is the beauty, from natural stone arches and the red rock formations Moab is simply amazing.

here is a link to some of last years pictures and a video.

Also check out my review of Top 3 GoPro extension poles

Buy GoPro Hero4 Black

Buy Polar Pro Polarizer

Pritchett Canyon video was filmed with a GoPro Hero 3 Black camera using a PolarPro polarizing filter.

The day Crawling Moab Pritchett Canyon trail Video

Toyota's crawling Moab

Descending back down rocker knocker

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