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      Guides — Camera

      Helmet Cam Slow Motion

      Helmet Cam Slow Motion

      Everything is cooler in slow motion. It is very interesting how many possibilities you get with those little waterproof cameras. Check out the different frame rates, camera angels and a bunch of great different perspectives in one of the most exciting sports you can film.

      How To Create Epic Time Lapses With Your GoPro

      How To Create Epic Time Lapses With Your GoPro

      Timelapse photography is, put simply, a number of photos of the same scene, spread over a period of time, and squeezed into a video. The video is played back in a shorter amount of time, enabling others to see changes in a landscape over the natural progression of time while not having to wait through the actual length of it.

      Whether it’s bustling streets in the city or clouds gliding and twisting over a landscape, timelapse photography tells a much greater story about a place than any single image could.

      Thanks to the GoPro’s built-in functionality, timelapses are incredibly easy to shoot and simple to edit using GoPro Studio, which you can download on your computer for free here.

       4 steps to creating epic time lapses with your GoPro:

      (First things first, make sure your GoPro is fully charged and that you have a lot of free space on your SD card.)

      1. Choosing the right interval

      Your interval depends on what you’re shooting. GoPro allows you to choose from a 0,5 second interval to a 60 second interval which you can change in the settings. You have to see how fast or slow your subject is moving to choose the best interval for the situation. For example, a sunrise happens quite slowly so a 10 second interval would work better than a 2 second interval as there is no major visible change in the sky in that period of time. Your shorter intervals would be used for shooting a busy street or crowds of people at rush hour.

      TIP: Keep in mind that the smaller the interval, the smoother your time lapse will turn out and the longer the duration.

      2. Setting up the shot

      Your GoPro's role when creating timelapses is very different to when it's mounted on your surfboard, capturing you pumping at full speed through Pipeline-sized barrels (or so you wish!). For your timelapse to be effective, your GoPro must be firmly mounted perfectly still for a duration of time.

      It’s important to use the right GoPro accessories to keep your camera as stable as possible. You don’t want your timelapse to be ruined because your camera wasn’t in a fixed position or a gust of wind knocked it over. Some great accessories are the GoPro 3 Way mount, the JOBY Action Tripod mount and, if you’re looking for something more affordable, the WOH Tri-Arm XL.

      In the video below, I had my GoPro mounted on an extendable pole which I stuck in the sand. You’ll notice that the camera moves slightly because it wasn’t stable enough. Using a stronger tripod would have given perfectly smooth results.

      Early Morning at Cave Rock from Natalie dos Santos on Vimeo.

      Tripods are small, light and easy to set up wherever you want to do your timelapse. They’ll allow you to get new vantage points as you can set them up on just about any surface.If you’re lucky enough to have a GoPro 4 with an LCD screen on the back, setting up your timelapse is a whole lot easier. If not, the GoPro smartphone App allows you to control your GoPro from your smartphone using WiFi. This makes it easier to frame your shot.

      (TIP: Turn off your GoPro’s WiFi once you start shooting to save its battery.)

      The framing of your shot is the most important part of any timelapse. Try capture some sort of movement like people walking, trees swaying in the breeze, or my personal favourite; clouds moving at sunrise or sunset.

      3. Shoot.

      Now that you’ve selected an interval and attached your GoPro to your tripod, you can click the shutter button, sit back and relax. A red light will flash on your GoPro at every time interval you selected. Don’t move your camera at all while it’s shooting and wait until the sun has risen completely or rush hour is over until you turn it off.

      4. Editing

      Connect your GoPro to your computer and you should find a couple hundred images depending on how long you were shooting for.

      Open GoPro Studio and import all of the images, selecting them all at once. Convert them and proceed to step two to edit your video. I like to add music to my timelapses and adjust the speed of the timelapse to go wth the music. Add a song, play the timelapse and split it into clips to change the speed. Keeping the timelapse at its normal speed looks pretty good too.

      Now you can export your timelapse and marvel at your creation!

      Same old Rock, different day. from Natalie dos Santos on Vimeo.

      Ocean Art

      Ocean Art

      I was on the beach early one morning when I noticed the waves crashing onto the rocks and spraying up into all different kinds of unusual shapes. With the sun rising in the background, it was quite a beautiful sight. I really wanted to capture the moment on my GoPro Hero 3+ Silver but the rocks were way too far out to reach, and GoPro's don't have a zoom function.
      I soon found a big piece of rubble on the beach and lagged it to the shore. Much to my delight, when a wave came crashing onto the shore it would hit the rock and go shooting up, warping into these walls of foam.
      How the shots were captured: After placing the rock on the shore, I set my GoPro on 10/1 burst mode and got really low behind the rock to capture the foam splashing over. Yes, I got soaked and yes, the water was freezing but it was all worth it for the shot! I didn't have my WOH Lang Arm at that stage but if I did I could have easily extended the pole, stood back and have waited for a wave to come.
      To see more of my GoPro photos, check out my Instagram

      Microadventure To Secret Falls

      Microadventure To Secret Falls

      The sun was up and my cats and I were safely tucked away in bed. I had overslept. In an attempt to not be so hard on myself anymore, I shrugged it off.  I had packed the night before and was super chuffed to see 9 kg of gear (minus the cats) squeeze into my Adidas backpack. I had been shopping around for a suitable pack, but hadn't yet found "the one".

      I was pretty nervous as I pushed my bike outside and waited for my Garmin 310XT watch to pick up satellites. I would be on my own, cycling 70 km from Malmesbury to Secret Falls (, north of Tulbagh, for the weekend and fingers crossed I wouldn’t forget anything major or have any issues with my bike. I still didn't feel comfortable dealing with punctures, broken chains and the like.

      The first kilometer was a happy descent, but as soon as I hit level ground and started pedalling, panic set it – sitting on a seat with 9 kg on my back was not a good idea and no amount of anti-chafe would relieve me from the effects of a point load applied to the seat. I would just have to suck it up.

      It was tough going up Bothmaskloof Pass out of Malmesbury to Riebeek Kasteel, but I was enjoying the familiarity of the Swartland farmland that I had become accustomed to during the past few months of living out here in the sticks.

      At the top of the pass a group of riders who I recognised from the Malmesbury Cycling Club passed me and we had a quick chat. It immediately lifted my spirits. They went down a steep gravel section but I was still familiarising myself with riding with a pack, so I opted for the road down the pass into the beautiful valley.


      Earlier in the week a colleague had convinced me that after Riebeek Kasteel it was pretty much flat riding to Tulbagh, but it seems it was only an illusion created by sitting in the driver's seat of a car. The feeling of freedom while cycling through the countryside was indescribable. Carrying everything I needed in my backpack, I just wanted to keep going. And then I hit Nuwekloof Pass just before Tulbagh. 

      I distracted myself by studying the pass and looking over to the old road beneath the railway line. It helped and pretty soon I was flying down the other side.

      Fifty something kilometers from home I arrived in Tulbagh with cramping legs. I swallowed 5 Cramp-Eaze capsules. All I wanted to do was sit down. So I stopped for breakfast at the very first place I saw – The Patriot Restaurant at De Oude Herberg in Church Street. They make delicious omelettes and the best freshly squeezed GREEN (as opposed to browny gold) apple juice. It seemed to do the trick and the cramps abated.

      At this point I thought I only had a few more kilometers to go and then a little hill up to Secret Falls. It turned out I would go on to do another 20 km and gain a further 600 m of elevation, to give a total of 1100 m of ascent for the day (Nothing phenomenal, but way more than the little bits of riding I had done in the past). Thank goodness I didn't realise it at the time.

      From the entrance gate at Secret Falls it’s a 4 km cycle to the campsite. The first section passes through fruit orchards with giant, tempting, tasty looking pears. If you are in a car, you need to leave your vehicle at approximately halfway and jump into a friend’s 4x4 or carry your camping gear for 2 km, which includes a brutal climb near the end. 

      This picture really doesn't do the climb justice and it almost looks like a downhill! The whole experience was pretty traumatic; I had no idea how far to go before reaching the campsite and it was never where I thought it was. There were always more gates to go through. The feeling was akin to running the end of a trail race with poor route markers when you are already exhausted and you want to strangle the race organiser, cry and lie down on the ground all at the same time. 70 km later I pulled into the campsite on the slopes of the Winterhoek West Mountains.

      It was all worth it. Secret Falls was the most beautiful camp site that I had ever seen, with picturesque views for miles over the valley and a pool from which to take it all in. With only 9 campsites, they are currently fully booked until May 2016 (keep an eye on their website for cancellations).

      The owners take no nonsense and state upfront that they only want campers who don’t moan and groan about things. They also ask that you take your rubbish home with you. The vibe was really chilled and quiet with awesome people. I was invited to have dinner and breakfast the following morning. I declined because I needed to lighten my own load, but I had great conversations with other adventurous outdoorsy people. Travelling solo has always been a positive experience.

      There are four trails on the property. After arriving at the campsite I did the short 30 min out and back Waterfall trail. The waterfall was only trickling this time of year, but the trail is nice and foresty. You can link up with the much longer Baboon trail that loops down to the cottages and back up to the campsites. I had accidently hauled my bike up part of the steepest section of the Baboon trail when I took a wrong turn from the dam on my way up. It was too much for me for one day, but without a bike I imagine it's a lovely hike. 

      Setting up camp was so much fun and my Vango solo tent was a lot bigger than I expected and really easy to set up. 

      It was a cool night, but I was nice and toasty inside my First Ascent Down Sleeping bag wearing my Vivolicious tech tights ( I usually don’t take expiry dates too seriously because most things tend to last a lot longer than stated on the packaging. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my pink salmon in a sachet that expired in June 2014. It was an epic fail, but I polished off some mushroom risotto which I cooked on my CampingGaz cooker and drifted off to sleep while reading a book about the history of Tulbagh.

      The next morning, after watching the sunrise over a cup of coffee I set off along the Leopard trail to the waterfall. From the Leopard trail you can continue along a longer trail to the top of the mountain. I would be coming back later in April to do the route with some friends, so I just wanted a little taster. It looked good and I’m looking forward to getting to the top of the mountain.

      I broke camp and was again amazed at how everything could fit into one little backpack. It didn’t seem like I needed much else. Having an entire house filled with so many things suddenly felt very unnecessary.

      The Red-E 4500 MAH Powerbank that I had received for Christmas came in really handy. I charged my Samsung S6 once fully and while packing up, I realised that there was a USB port from which I could charge my watch while cycling.

      I took it easy on the ride back home and reflected on the adventure…the fear that I had in the beginning and the freedom of venturing out on my own and riding off into the unknown. It was all just brilliant. I often struggle to explain it to most people, but when I speak to other solo adventurers their eyes light up in mutual understanding. To celebrate…and because I simply could not sit on that saddle for one more minute...I stopped for pancakes (salmon, cream cheese and pesto) in Riebeek Kasteel.

      My seat had become a fiery furnace and it got incredibly tough towards the end. Tough in the way that I had become accustomed to during endurance events. When your body doesn’t really want to play along, but your mind is so determined that it will absolutely not consider giving up. It’s in that space where I thrive - when the going isn’t necessarily fast, but I feel incredibly alive and acutely aware of the fight within me. It’s moments like this when I am most grateful for the life that I have.

      After 2 hours of riding into a headwind and 6 km from home I pulled off and sat down on the side of the road slowly eating my M&Ms. I had been saving them for a possible moment of despair and the mouthfuls of nutty-chocolateyness made me feel much better. I headed up the long climb, reluctantly accepting the reality that my weekend adventure had come to an end.

      Follow Taryn on: InstagramTwitterWebsite

      Water And Light

      Water And Light

      My favourite time to go out and shoot is early mornings and evenings. As the sun begins to set it creates this beautiful, emerald lighting which reflects off the ocean's surface.
      I swam out with my GoPro Hero 3+ Silver and my flippers one late afternoon at Ansteys beach, Durban. There were a few surfers in the water and I knew the lighting at this time would make for some epic shots.
      The sea was so breathtakingly beautiful yet, completely unforgiving. 
      By the time I had swum out to backline, one of my flippers broke in half and was nowhere to be found. The other was cracked and hanging off my foot. 
      I still managed to enjoy every minute of being in the sea after laughing it off and silently dreading the long swim back in. 
      I absolutely love being in the ocean and watching the waves break from underwater. It is truly a spectacular and humbling sight. My GoPro allows me to capture these moments of beautiful chaos and share them with others.
      How the shots were taken: I set my GoPro Hero 3+ Silver on timelapse mode with 0,5 second intervals. I often use this mode so that I can just point my camera and shoot without missing a moment. I then look through all the photos and select the best ones afterwards.
      I used my WOH Lang Arm extendable pole to get my GoPro close to the waves to get the shot without getting sucked in myself. The Lang Arm is great as it can extend to almost a metre and is strong enough to withstand the rough waves. 
      My GoPro is always attached to this extendable pole when I am not using my surfboard mount in the sea. The tether, which is attached to the pole, is secured around your wrist and prevents your GoPro from getting lost in the sea if you accidentally let go of it.
      I also had my floaty back door on my GoPro in case all else failed!
      To see more of my GoPro photos, check out my Instagram page: @natsdossantos