King of the Hammers in Johnson Valley, California is the toughest single day off road race in the United states. That statement right there tells you this is not just a race it’s an endurance test of both race car and driver. The 2016 Ultra4 King of the Hammers had only 31 race cars finish out of 104 cars that started the race. Race winner Eric Miller’s total time was 7:30:55, that is a long time to be in a race car let alone an off-road 100+ MPH rock crawling machine. Eric Miller has now won this grueling test twice now also winning back in 2012. The King of the Hammers is a week long event filling the Johnson Valley OHV lake bed with thousands of fans making the trek out to both watch this amazing race and to enjoy the desert.
I now make this event a must every year if you are at all a race fan, off-road enthusiast I suggest going at least once in your life. Aside from the racing seeing all the different peoples vehicles is a treat in itself. You will see everything from motorcycles, four-wheelers, dune buggies of all sorts, rock crawling rigs that are absolutely amazing and probably the most popular is UTV’s or side by sides. I am a huge fan of the off-road community everyone is so nice, if you see a rig that interests you walking up to talk to the owner is so easy. It’s a very giving community owners always willing to answer questions about their rigs or just about whatever. Every year we meet some great people at the races.
King of the Hammers Facts
Eric Miller is 2016 King of the Hammers champion
Location: Boone Rd. Landers,CA 92285 United States
Camping: You can camp anywhere out on the lake bed but be prepared for a dusty week at the Hammers. In fact just seeing all the different peoples camp setups is unique to say the least.
Services: There are basically no services of any kind out on the lake bed so bring all that you will need.
Are you in the need of an easy way to get your GoPro files off your memory cards (GoPro file transfer). Lets say you are going on an amazing family vacation in Hawaii how many memory cards do you need to take for your GoPro? I’d say maybe two at most. I recently was on a trip to Moab, Utah here is a video I made from that trip. I had taken my laptop in the past this year I thought I had enough memory cards (over 300 gigs worth) no I didn’t. I ended up deleting some of the footage, some was footage I know was unusable, but some may have been. I went on a search for solving this problem for future trips and found the Kingston 5 in 1 mobile companion.
GoPro file transfer with Kingston Mobile Companion
The Kingston mobile companion is a wireless hotspot, media streaming little wonder and best of all a GoPro file transfer accessory. At only $30 from Amazon it’s a great investment. What it it does is allow you to insert your micro SD and SD cards from your GoPro and transfer files to other SD cards, zip drive, memory stick, or portable hard drives while in the field or on vacation. It has it’s own battery power allowing you to use drives that are bus powered (powered through USB).
Charging GoPro batteries
SD card slot (comes with micro SD adapter)
Wi-Fi access point (needs existing network to work)
The Kingston mobile companion is more than just a GoPro file transfer accessory it is also a 4640 mAh portable battery. You can charge your GoPro batteries on the go. Although this is something I would not plan on using the Mobile companion for. The power output is relatively low and takes quite a while to charge GoPro batteries with. To give you an idea Kingston states that it will charge a smartphone two times.
Kingston mobile companion with backup drive
When using external hard drives they need to be formatted for PC. I use mainly use Mac computers myself so I had to format a drive to MS-DOS (FAT-32). With this format you can use the drive on both PC and Mac computers. Normal Mac format is Mac OS Extended (Journaled) which is not supported. The Kinston Companion is a great addition to any photographers or GoPro users gear bag.
I have tried all kinds of GoPro accessories over the last few years very few of them I find myself using as I do the GoPole Base. This is probably one of my most used GoPro accessories, because it’s small light weight and easy to carry everywhere. As one of the original GoPro accessory companies GoPole has a name that is now a word for describing what is a extension pole or selfie stick specifically made for use with GoPro cameras. GoPole has no affiliation with GoPro or Woodman Labs. They make all kinds of different accessories to help you use, protect and mount your GoPro camera better.
GoPole Base with frame mount
GoPole base is a micro tripod for use with GoPro cameras. The Base an incredibly useful micro tripod for your GoPro camera. Base can be used as a hand grip, tripod or a stand for your extension pole. The GoPole base has a suggested retail of $39.95 but it seems to average around $34.95 making it a little steep for it’s size but it makes up for that in the usefulness of this little GoPro accessory. The GoPole Base can
GoPole Base with Bobber
be used in two distinctly different ways. One your GoPro camera can be mounted directly on it, two it can be used to add a “base” to your GoPole or extension pole turning it into a tripod. I have another way that I use it a lot as, a hand grip or just an easy less conspicuous way to hold your GoPro. I mainly use it with my GoPro in the frame mount making it really low profile, with this setup it fits easily in a jacket pocket. The GoPole Base is very well made out of a sturdy plastic with rubber feet. Having a standard GoPro style mount on one side and a standard camera tripod style 1/4-20 mount on the other. If you are looking for a perfect all around accessory or gift for a GoPro user the GoPole Base would be a top pick.
If you are looking to pick one up here is a link to Amazon that helps me out, thanks.
GoPro Karma the name of the industry leading camera makers new drone to be released in early 2016. In fact I have talked to someone in the industry who said an April launch for the GoPro Karma is likely. This is probably one of the most anticipated drone launches ever. GoPro investors are hoping the GoPro Karma drone is a hero just like all of it’s amazing capture devices (camera’s) are. The GoPro stock has been in a tail spin for months now after topping out in October of 2014. GoPro released a teaser filmed with it’s new Karma drone here. GoPro has been making not only great cameras but their accessories are top of the line, with well thought out design coupled with high end materials make GoPro accessories top notch, GoPro Karma should be just the same. Some would say GoPro accessories are expensive and indeed they are, but you get what you pay for. If you want to trust cheap plastics to hold your $500 dollar GoPro thats your choice, I do not and advise it.
I look forward to seeing what GoPro brings into this emerging world of drones with the GoPro Karma. In it’s teaser video I highlight was put on the fact that the footage shown was not stabilized in post production at all. I would imagine GoPro putting a huge emphasis emphasis on aerial photography and videography. I also look to see a Hero4 session form factor camera with Hero4 black like specs to go with an amazing aerial filming system. Keeping the camera small and light is key with drones. The bigger the camera is the bigger the drone must be to carry it. They are describing the Karma as a ultra portable, foldable drone. GoPro needs to keep the price on this drone in reach of the masses to sell millions of them. I would think they need to be under $2000 for this drone possibly less in the $1500 dollar range.
Best first GoPro accessories to get for the new GoPro user. Top picks for everyone from the active Skiing, kayaking GoPro user to the family video camera. You have just purchased or got a new GoPro as a gift, what is the first GoPro accessories you will need? After owning more than eight GoPro cameras and being an avid user for more than 5 years now I wanted to share my picks for some of the best first GoPro accessories to get. These can vary for different people mainly from the point that GoPro cameras can be used in many different ways. Some users are active in everything from skateboarding, wake boarding, kayaking and some users will be more into taking time-lapse or just capturing life’s moments at family outings with their family’s GoPro camera. Here are some simple but must have first GoPro accessories to get after you have your new GoPro.
First GoPro accessories to get
GoPro cameras now shoot 4k video this is amazing for a video camera in the $400-$500 price range. The down side is power consumption, although the camera has gotten really small battery technology is not getting smaller.
Smatree Hero4 Battery Kit
Battery power in the Hero4 camera series is not the best with average shooting times at less than 2 hours. The good news is that since the cameras launch there have been several good battery companies filling this void. Wasabi, Smatree are probably the top two making excellent aftermarket batteries for GoPro cameras. Having extra batteries is priority one after purchasing a new camera. You can get two batteries from either of the companies mentioned above for less than $15.00.
Lexar 633x & Sandisk Extreme PLUS
Having the correct memory card with GoPro cameras is key to your GoPro working properly. This is especially important in all Hero4 series camera’s you will need a class 10 UHS-1 up to 64GB. The two that I have had zero problems with ever are the Sandisk Extreme PLUS and Lexar 633x micro SD memory cards (both pictured).
Extension pole or hand grip
GoScope Boost extension pole
If you have purchased a GoPro you have probably seen people using extension poles or “GoPole” or “selfie stick” what ever you want to call it doesn’t matter. They are really handy for getting full body shoots doing any number of activities. The reason I titled this section “extension pole or hand grip” is some people may not want a big pole having just a simple hand grip for your GoPro is just perfect for getting the shot. Making your own extension pole is one of the most popular DIY GoPro accessories that GoPro users around the world make. If you don’t mind spending a couple bucks the GoScope Boost is one of the best GoPro extension poles i’ve tried. The GoPro brand 3-Way is also a great purchase in that it is a three different accessories in one.
GoPro tripod mounts
These are a cheap and easy GoPro accessory to get at less than $10. They allow you to attach your GoPro camera to any tripod or any other accessories that have a 1/4-20 screw mount.
Camera bag or case
You just spent a chunk of change on an amazing new GoPro camera taking good care of it and your accessories is a good idea. This one there are many possibility’s out there for this one depending on how big you are planning your GoPro gear collection getting. To start you can even use things you already have. You don’t have to have a GoPro specific case, there are all kinds of different camera cases that work just fine. Anything soft works, just take good care of your GoPro equipment any it will last for years. Now go out and capture some amazing shoots!
GoPro action cameras are the top pick if you are wanting to capture some amazing video’s of skydiving, snowboarding, skiing, throwing your baby in the air (your wife might not like that last one but it’s been done) or just about anything. A growing number of people including me are really enjoying the photo capability of these little cameras. Now I know a GoPro is not the ideal camera for every situation they have a very wide angle (170 degrees) and you need to be close to the subject. These cameras can capture some amazing shoots that a regular DSLR camera can’t. With the release of the Hero4 Silver & Black models a GoPro Night Mode has been added giving you control over the shutter or exposure time. You don’t need to fear if you are not a photography geek, the GoPro Night Mode is relatively easy to use.
Getting Started with GoPro Night Mode
There are two main Keys that you need to keep in mind when shooting in GoPro Night Mode. First is that you will need a tripod or stable place to mount the camera on. Second is using the GoPro app or remote to control your GoPro. When shooting long exposures or in GoPro Night Mode once the shutter is open you do not want the camera to move at all. GoPro night mode on Hero4 cameras have exposure settings ranging from auto to 30 seconds. I always like to take at least one photo in auto just to see how it looks. Surprisingly the GoPro Night Mode in auto is usually right on and it gives you a really great shot. Shooting in GoPro night mode takes practice so I suggest trying it whenever you have a chance, the more you use it the better your photos will get. For more on GoPro night mode check out this article.
I have to admit I tend to shoot a lot of footage with my GoPro cameras without creating a video with that footage in a timely manor. I have been trying to change this for two reasons. First off if you edit soon after you shoot its easier to remember where certain points or moments are. Video’s are like short movies they usually are telling a story, when you get to editing
Editing with GoPro studio
a video soon after it was shot you are more likely to easily put that story together. The second big reason to get footage edited quickly is to share and document those memories. More often then not you will not edit up a video or even a vacation video several months after. You may not even make that video at all, I didn’t. I would just fill hard drives up with great GoPro footage and never get around to making a video from it. Here is a video that I made from a recent trip to visit family in California.
I am always trying to learn more about editing and making video’s so I welcome all comments and critiques on this video or any of my work. This video was edited using GoPro studio, it is a free software from GoPro and it does a pretty good job for me. I have herd a lot of more advanced users say it is not for them, but it works just fine. It’s available for both Mac and PC users. I am imagining GoPro making it easier in the future to compile and edit footage quicker right from the camera or camera app. Get out and capture some great moments. Follow it up with editing that GoPro footage soon after it’s made. You will create better video’s while building a library of video’s instead of just hard drives full of footage.
You have made the decision to get a new GoPro Hero4 camera great, the one piece of hardware you need to start capturing epic shots is the correct Hero4 memory card to maximize your new GoPro’s capability’s. Having the right Hero4 memory card in your GoPro Hero4 Silver and Black camera is key to capturing the best footage. The GoPro Hero4 Black is capable of shooting 4K video at 30 FPS (frames per second) to record at these higher resolutions the camera has write data at higher bit rates than any other GoPro camera ever made. The GoPro Hero4 black records booth 4k and 2.7k modes at 60 mbps. There are a few other modes that also use this higher bit rate 1080 90 & 120 and 720 240 FPS. For the GoPro Hero4 Silver & Black cameras I (and GoPro) recommend booth the Lexar 633x and the Sandisc Extreme for optimum Hero4 memory card performance.
Hero4 Memory Cards
Hero4 Memory Card
Lexar 633X Specs: microSDHC/microSDXC UHS-1 card speed rated at a class 10 95MB/s read speed
Although Lexar does not not an exact write speed (from tests around the internet people are getting 40-44 MB/s) for this card just listing it at less than the read speed this card works perfectly when recording 4k with protune on.
This card works great when using a Hero4 shooting in 4k with Protune on.
Yes this may add another $50-$75 to the cost of your GoPro purchase but if you don’t not have a card the complements the performance of the camera those settings are useless. Some say well I may not be shooting in 4k yes that is understandable. I don’t either but, every time I have tried out a cheap “discount” cards in any of my GoPro cameras I have had some sort of problem. Whether it is a corrupted file, incomplete file or just a failure to record and the camera just stops recording. No one wants this right in the middle of an epic moment on that once in a lifetime cruise or vacation. Get a GOOD Hero4 memory card!
Every year a myself and a group of friends head out to Moab, Utah for some 4Wheeling fun. This year I made a video of the group (not me) tackling the Green Day trail at Area BFE off road park just outside the city of Moab. (Here is is a link to last years video also.) Most of the guys in the group drive Toyota trucks we also have one Jeep guy that comes every year.
Headed up Green Day Trail Area BFE, Moab
I currently have a Toyota tacoma and love it. My tacoma is basically stock just 33″ tires vs 31″ stock, front and rear bumper along with rock sliders on the sides. Toyota tacoma’s with the TRD package come equipped with a rear locking differential. This makes a huge difference when crawling on Moab’s tough trails. I actually like days when the group chooses a hard trail like Green Day trail so that I can do some filming. I do 100% my filming using GoPro cameras. The GoPro cameras are perfect for getting the action from both on the vehicles and around them. The mount I use most on this type of filming is any kind of roll bar mount. I use GoPro brand and a few custom ones that I have made specifically for this trip. Like these on this page here.
GoPro recently introduced an accessory called the BacPac Extension Cable. It is basically an extension for both the Battery BacPac and the LCD Touch BacPac from GoPro. GoPro BacPac Extension Cable allows for control of the camera remotely with an LCD Touch BacPac, change out a new Battery BacPac without un-mounting your GoPro camera. This is ideal in time lapse situations when you don’t want to change or move the cameras mounting position. At a suggested retail $39.99 the GoPro BacPac Extension Cable is a little steep for just a cable. I am A fan of GoPro design and craftsmanship in all it’s products, but this one I think should be about half the price. Non the less it is a nice accessory to have, hope there will be some good aftermarket copy’s that offer this type of product.
A modification for the GoPro BacPac Extension Cable
GoPro only says the BacPac Extension Cable can only be used with a frame housing. So after got a hold of one of these cables I wondered if you could modify the rear door of a waterproof housing for use with it? Yes you can with a little grinding modification. All you need to do is cut a notch out of a back door of a standard housing or grind a little away from a skeleton housing back door. Just put your GoPro in the case you want to modify and mark the area to be removed with a sharpie or marker. I personally used a mill to carefully cut this notch in the back door. This could also be done with a Dremel tool or small die grinder. I tried to make it as tight of a fit as possible for use in dusty situations or maybe even water by applying silicone around it.