Friday, June 27, 2014

Wild Flowers Of The Vermilon River

Every so often I snag a scene photo that I like. Which really only proves that good equipment and a beautiful area are critical to the mix, not my talent! But still photography while it involves the viewer, does not capture the mass of a wilderness hike; the sheer magnitude of the forest,particularly when its in full bloom. Film/video does that much easier. The problem with SLR video while it offers the large sensors, and lens flexible, is that its an uncomfortable proposition, and to make it comfortable requires add ons and dedication. By dedication, I mean your SLR is dedicated to video, and you'll miss still opportunities. Although you can move from mode to mode,but the stills show the non-dedication.Its akin to adapting a donkey to a horse race. Click photos for slideshow.

White Admiral.

So I bought a used Canon Xixia HFS 200. Its small and compact, and fits in with my hiking mode, and the absence of a tripod. Quite quickly, here's what I don't like about it: It has no viewfinder, so you are still stuck with a screen in broad daylight. The screen is a touch screen, and I think the inventor of touch screens should be shot. The next model up takes a converter, which would convert the Zoom to 500 mm, which I would like also. I could move up, and the size would be the same which I like. But I'll stick with this for now and practice.


Notice the sharpness of these photos. You won't get it in a video camera, because of the size of the sensors. White Admiral opposite. And with a video, butterflies are hard to photograph, because they fly so randomly. I'll talk about the software later somewhat extensively because its critical..

A post to: I'd Rather Be BirdingOur World Tuesday, and WBW.

Northern Crescents, about the size of your thumb.
Eastern Swallowtail in a wild flower patch

Wild Lupins. The still photo gives no idea of the size of the wild lupin patch, but a video will.
Skipper on wild daisies


Insect on Wild Rose

Show the movie and don't talk so much!! And where's the popcorn?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Tour Of The Mysterious Manitou Islands & A Sharp-shinned Hawk Of The Vermilon River.

 The Manitou Islands are in Lake Nipissing. You need to know a few things first. First a little Indian, or Aboriginal lore. Roughly speaking the bands of the Northern Ontario are of the Algonquin group, while the southern aboriginals are members of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Iroquois would support the English, and the Algonquins the French in the struggle over the fur trade. The Iroquois Confederacy was every bit to quote one historian as sophisticated, and advanced as the Roman Empire,even in its quest of empire. The local Algonquin band was the Nippissing.Aboriginal religion was/is more spiritual than say Christianity, in fact, more akin to Japanese Shintoism. It lacked, if that is the word, the people traits, and the add ons of other earlier religions that characterize Christianity, for instance, resurrection from the Egyptians, or Christmas from the pagans.Manitou is then the "Great Spirit", and several places are sacred to him, here and in other eastern areas.The previous post was a tour of the Manitoulin Islands, another sacred place. There are other spirits and totems in the culture,but that's enough for now. The Manitou Islands have the reputation of ghost Islands.

 There are two videos in one here. That's because under the free plan of vimeo, I'm only allowed one post per week. The second video was an accident. As you know I virtually live in the wilderness, and yesterday this hawk came to visit my feeders. A pet cat knocked her out of the tree and was chased away by a neighbour,although she started to defend herself. I was out by then, so we put her on my picnic table where she decided to sleep. She didn't move, so after a couple of hours, we put her in a cat cage up high,and let her sleep. This morning we released her to the forest. She's a juvenile, maybe female, Sharp-Shinned Hawk. I knew you'd enjoy these close ups. It was again difficult to identify her, but a series of shots on Utah birds courtesy of Paul Higgins confirmed the ID.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Wild Flowers of the Vermilon River.

 This week represents a change in format as a result of the change to Vimeo. You can not load to a google site from anything but YouTube. But you can link directly to your video on Vimeo, which accomplishes the same thing, and gives you HD at the same time. I think some of you are missing the video opportunity for the challenge, and the opportunity of using a different media. For instance, the included photos freeze Nature's beauty, but video shows Nature's garden in a very different way. Nature's garden is seasonal and quite untidy as the flowers change, sometimes even rapidly and therefore dying along side the new. Nature is not the neat urban gardener. I think you'll notice that in the video.

I think I'm not so much a slave of the technology as I was, although I don't want to give the impression that I'm an expert. This means that in video you can set the time line, meaning it can be backwards. If I were, make that when I remake the Mystic Lake video, I'll do from the lake to the trail. This will stop me from meandering as video has a subject focus. I still have a tendency to try and tell everything which is the format of my hike blog. You also need a shooting list, a rough format and a non-fear of close ups. This whole sequence was shot using my 18-55mm lens.

You can catch the Wild Flower Video here: Wildflowers Of The Vermilon River. Click and it will take you to the Vermilon River. I should add that these are the flowers of the riparian growth, not the forest floor so no blueberries. To return to the stills site, click here: Me Boomer & The Vermilon River.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Hike To Mystic Lake.

This video outlines a hike that I took last week to Mystic Lake one of the many uninhabited lakes in the area. I had a lot of trouble with the narration in photo shop only to find out I could use another tract. I uploaded to Vimeo also, and the quality difference is noticeable.But I couldn't seem to upload from Vimeo to this post.

Just a warning: this post is 9 minutes long as it is a four hour hike.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Two Faces Of The Vermilon River.

I'm still in the beginner sequence of editing on PS. This video,which is the shortest of all, uses sound. First a voice over using a micrphone that I bought for $20, not a bank breaker. The river sounds were included in the clips using an add on camera microphone from Nikon to avoid camera noise- a little bank breaker at about $150 neogiated down to $129.99. As well I enhaced some of the sounds using free web sound effects. I used the microphone to record these and then discovered that I could do it directly avoiding microphone sounds. Oh well live and learn. Most of the sound is from the Nikon mike, and is very high quality I think.There is the sound of a train in the background which you can vaguely hear. When I uploaded it to U Tube, U Tube asked me if I wanted them to do an edit. It was so bad that I had to re-load the video. I'd like to skip U Tube in the future if I knew how. To return to the main Blog click here: Me,Boomer And The Vermilon River

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Virtual Tour Of The Long Lake Wetlands

I have since the last post added to my equipment following the advice of Nancy J. of NZ. The addition is a LCD screen Viewfinder from Seven Oaks that mounts on the camera using the tripod screw. It covers the screen allowing for bright sunshine shooting in the video mode. I'm a little miffed at the addition, because I think Nikon should have covered off the problem themselves. The trouble with Japanese engineering is that it inherently stays in the box.Think about this. All companies extol their models and lens for wildlife shooting, but none are naturally waterproofed  for rain or snow.They're a fair weather product.Clearly, the engineers need supervision.
The cost was 130.00 Cdn$. Before I bought the device I faced up to the problem that perhaps the SLR is really not a video camera, perhaps not much more than a little toy for shooting birthday parties. This took me round the web again reading about video and SLR's, because I was considering a video camera along the lines of the Canon XA10 , which I'm still interested in.The pros on the web said the the SLR has unique advantages in video because of the sensor size which permits less depth of field problems and a unique 3D effect, which you can see in my close up water scenes. So here we go again.
In answer to some of the responses: You don't shoot video in broad sweeps because a lot will be out of focus, and jerky. Rather you  shoot clips. Take a deep breathe and continue on and return again. The editing will let you cut out the jerky garbage, join clips by fades, and cover up mistakes. You don't really think a made for money film gets shot at once. It's shot in clips and put together by a film editor. So your soft wear is all important because you're the director, the cameraman ,and the film editor.The parts that are jerky in today's film are the result of my poor editing, not my camera skills.
But you do need to keep your video on track, and I'm just learning that.So you need to block it out, and limit it. My last video was too long. I also shoot stills in video mode with the device on and peek through the viewfinder. Before using the video I use the still viewfinder to focus, because it's sharper than the screen.
I'm a simple person, and I'm quite fascinated with nature, especially the wetlands, which are home to so many forms of life. This video deals with a wetland and its Riparian vegetation-the wildflowers that inhabit its shoreline.You've seen my forest up close. What isn't rock is sand on clay. Yet the flowers grow like mad and are such vivid colours. Only the Iris grow in the boggy black soil.
I could do a criticism of my video, but I'm running out of space,so enjoy. This one is five and a half minutes long.
To return to the still blog click here: Me,Boomer and TheVermilon River. A post to: Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Hike Along The East Track Wetlands

Warning: If video, or improving your video skills is of no interest, then ignore this site. I think video provides another opportunity, although a different one, of presenting your interests- wildlife,travel,or whatever in a pleasing way. Video adds movement and life. The editing equipment is quite good, but video is different than shooting stills.You'll see that in this video where I've linked clips to create a virtual hike the viewer participates in. I'm hoping to get enough people to create a common learning site. To that end I'll post this on My World meme separately.

I'll warn you now that this is a long video, about 11 minutes long. The East Track is an abandoned railway line that ran from here, central Northern Ontario, south east to Ottawa then on to the Port of Montreal. The main idea was to skip Toronto. Most of the northern part is wilderness. The extent of the line I don't know, but remember that Ontario is large enough to hold Texas and California, and still have some room left. This part of the hike is about 8 kms return. It, the trail, crosses a road which leads to an inhabited lake, one of the few inhabited lakes in the area. I marked the intersection, and have made arrangements for some one to drive me there and pick me up, so I can hike another 8 km on the other side, about my limit.

On the other site, I had mentioned the Trans-Canada trail system. I only use that on the River, and even then generally use the cross country sky trails. I generally hike abandoned rail lines, mining roads, or maintenance roads, and old trails. Therefore I carry emergency and safety gear. I even carry a map and  an old style compass in case the cell phone doesn't work.

Now to the video. The purpose was to show you a transition Boreal forest. Its richness and lushness, and to give you some idea of the area where Boomer and I, and now me, wander. I'm still in the beginner section of  PS video software. I think the filming is less jerky. Now I need to try filming the wildlife, but the screen makes that difficult,especially in the sun. It took me about a week and a half to edit this, so I won't be setting up a meme anytime soon ( maybe sooner if the shield works. See below.). The video has a surprise ending proving you can take the boy out of advertising, but you can't take advertising out of the boy. The fades that bridge the stills gave me a chance to try numerous types.

I just googled video cameras with viewfinders. There are such animals, which are of course a step up from conventional camcorders. In fact they range up to $7000 US in price. Although Canon has one, the XA10, which is about $1900 in Canada. I think video, apart from kids and weddings,  has not caught up to wildlife and the wilderness, at least where I want to be, and for amateurs like me in general. I think what I'll do at this stage is perfect the scenic, and work at pleasing cut ins of stills. When I've moved out of the rank amateur to at least "gifted" amateur in this area, I'll look at the higher quality video set up.

Nancy from the note below is right of course. You can buy a hoodman loupe and harness to overecome the light problem which I'll do.On this site I'll let you know how I make out.

I generally look for creatures. On the next leg of this journey, I'll be looking for moose. But most photo ops happen totally by chance.

Click here to return to site one, the stills site:  Site One. A post to Our World.