Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Greenland 2012 - Equipment Notes - Video Camera

In my previous post on the kit I'm assembling for Greenland, I mentioned that I was thinking of buying a GoPro Hero 2 video camera.... well I have now made the aforementioned purchase, and here's the first video I took with it on the Hilbre paddle with Arnaud on Saturday. I mounted it on the front of the boat using a helmet strap supplied with the camera. You can see the GoPro in one of the Hilbre island pictures (where I point it out with the "new toy" comment). I think it would be good to get a pole mount arrangement for the rear of the boat looking forward. All I would then need is to work out how to recharge it in Greenland, but I have a couple of thoughts on that front.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Hilbre Island - 24th March 2012

Quick jaunt around Hilbre Island with Arnaud. Launched from the slipway to the S of the Marine Lake in West Kirby. Paddled out and around the island and stopped for lunch at the pebble/shell beach at the S tip of Hilbre.
Round trip of 10km, must have been paddling for about 1:40 in total. SE wind was a bit stronger than we would have liked making the return leg hard work for a while. Pictures taken with the Fuji S2950 - seems OK, some lost detail in shadows though, but can't grumble.

Waiting for the tide to come in
Lunch stop - couple of other parties doing same trip
Hilbre N End - Note new toy!
Birds on Little Hilbre
Dinghies on the Marine Lake

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 17th March 2012

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 52:12 inc a boat delay
Back in 55:08 with another boat delay from a rowdy bunch on a hire boat that were a bit of a hazard.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Greenland 2012 - Equipment Notes - Camera

I'm off to Greenland in July on a kayaking trip led by Martin Rickard from sea kayak adventures. We'll be camping from the kayaks for about 11 days and this trip will be throwing up lots of issues with respect to what kit to take and use. We have a weight limit to keep an eye on for the flights via Iceland and we will also be away from civilisation for several days.

One of the first dilemmas I've had is what camera to take (or cameras?...). None of my existing cameras are powered by conventional batteries - they all use rechargeable ones that require mains electricity to recharge and we can not count on getting access to mains power. So I decided that my best bet would be to get a camera powered by AA batteries and to take a number of packs with me to power the camera.

Once you get above basic point and shoot cameras there are not many that take AAs. I didn't want an expensive camera since I may lose it overboard one day. So in the sub £150 range most searches I performed led back to the same models:
  • Nikon L120
  • Canon SX140IS / SX150IS
  • Fujifilm S2950
In the end I plumped for the Fuji and got it for a good price (£109) from Amazon. It ticked most of the boxes - including a digital viewfinder as an optional alternative to composing photos on the LCD screen. I saw this as a major feature that would save battery life out "in the wild". Picture quality seemed to get better reviews on the Canon, but a lot of reports of it being a battery eater put me off. Ditto for the Nikon - no viewfinder reduces the ability to reduce battery usage. Finally the fact that Martin also uses a predecessor in the Fuji model range swung it for me.

I'll be using it on some upcoming trips to see what battery life I get out of it plus a chance to see what the image quality is like. 

I'm tempted to take two cameras and I'm toying with the idea of getting a GoPro HD video camera that can also take good quality stills. This will again raise the issue of how to charge it and I'm thinking of using a solar  panel. If this works it would be great, but it is too risky an approach to assume I can charge both cameras with it, hence the decision to buy an AA powered camera as the main choice. Watch this space!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 11th March 2012

Clarke lane <> Higher Poynton marina
Out in 53:19, back in 55:01. Getting a bit quicker, but return leg still a slog.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Macclesfield Canal - 3rd March 2012

Clarke Lane <> Higher Poynton Marina
Out in 53:52, back in just over 57 (GPS cut out...)
Bit frustrating on the return leg, just couldn't seem to pull the average speed above 8.8kph. Bit of a headwind, but shouldn't have made that much difference?