Composition Rule #1

Composition is the most important thing in photography. What is Composition? Simply put it is the Layout or structure of your shot. Have you ever looked at a photograph in a magazine or a painting in a gallery and though to yourself this is an amazing picture. But what makes it amazing? Well the answer is Composition. Artest have studyed what it is that makes an image pleasing to the eye for centuries. You can see the rules of composition in the paintings, architecture, potery, and clothing of our ancestors. Composition is the foundation that your image is built on and without a good foundation you will not have a good photograph. These rules are absolutely fundamental, knowing them and understanding them is what separates an amateur from a pro. There are many rules of composition, I like to focus on 10 rules that are the most important and widely known. Starting with rule #1 the Golden Rule of Photoagraphy, The Rule Of Thirds.

 

This is a very simple rule and when applied you will have great results. When setting up your shot imagine your viewfinder divided up into 3 equal parts vertically and 3 equal parts horizontally. When you do this you will be left with four intersections. These intersections are the main focus points for your eyes, and this is where your main subject of the shot should be located. It does not matter witch point you choose but keep in mind the story and movement of your shot. See the example shots below.

 

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The best way to describe the Rule Of Thirds is to show you what it looks like in real world images. These two shot show the rule in action.  I have divided them up into thirds,  so you can see the four focal points of the photo. 

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From the images you can see the points and how the shot was framed using the rule. But you can also see how I tried to convey a story and movement as well. Take the first shot of the snail. In this shot I wanted to show this snail making his way across the road, with so much out in front of him as he slowly goes along inch by inch. His journey is there in front of him. The next image of the bird in silhouette, I framed this image with the bird leaving the frame, almost escaping the frame. As if I came upon him sitting on the shore and he took flight to get away. He is exiting.  

Using the empty space in the shot as a way to convey movement and story, just another way to use the Rule Of Thirds to take great images.  

Did you like this post? The 10 rules of composition posts started on the GO Newsletter. If your not a member of this FREE Newsletter, join today! 

GO Survival Water Kit. Complete, Tiny, And Light Wieght!

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Growing up in the outdoors hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, backpacking, and mountain biking. I have  always tried to be prepared for anything. This being said I have always carried a survival kit on me when outdoors. I ran into an issue with this when I became an outdoor photographer. Toting tons of gear out into the wilderness makes one evaluate how and what they pack. So I stopped carrying my PSK (personal survival kit) to conserve space and weight. 

Bad Idea! After one near death experience I quickly came to my senses.  

It is dangerous and irresponsible to myself and my family for me to go off unprepared. So I set out on a mission to find a kit that was Complete, Tiny, and Light! Everything I found did not meet all three of those requirements, so I decided that I would put a kit together myself.  

After a year of searching for the right parts and pieces, and Researching what works in the real world and what doesn't. I came up with Three staples of survival.

GO Fishing Kit

GO Water Kit

GO Fire Kit

Each one is made with this thought in mind.

" Make it Complete, Tiny, and Lightweight and there will be no reason not to have it on you at all times" 

I have these kits in all of my vehicles, backpacks, camera gear, tackle boxes, ATVs, boats, and camping gear.  

The GO Water Kit

 

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This is the most complete kit you will find this size! Inside this pod measuring 1 inch across and 7/8 of an inch tall you will find everything you need to make 1/2 gallon of safe drinking water.  

In an emergency safe drinking water is a must to sustain life!  

Kit includes, Water purification tablet, water storage bag, partical filter, zip tie, rubber bands, and even an orange flavored electrolyte drink mix to help give you energy when you need it most.

once you find water this kit makes it simple to gather, treat, and store it 

 BUY IT HERE 

Check out this video to see how the GO Water Kit works. 

GO Survival Fire Kit. Complete, Tiny, and Light Weight!

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Growing up in the outdoors hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, backpacking, and mountain biking. I have  always tried to be prepared for anything. This being said I have always carried a survival kit on me when outdoors. I ran into an issue with this when I became an outdoor photographer. Toting tons of gear out into the wilderness makes one evaluate how and what they pack. So I stopped carrying my PSK (personal survival kit) to conserve space and weight. 

Bad Idea! After one near death experience I quickly came to my senses.  

It is dangerous and irresponsible to myself and my family for me to go off unprepared. So I set out on a mission to find a kit that was Complete, Tiny, and Light! Everything I found did not meet all three of those requirements, so I decided that I would put a kit together myself.  

After a year of searching for the right parts and pieces, and Researching what works in the real world and what doesn't. I came up with Three staples of survival.

GO Fishing Kit

GO Water Kit

GO Fire Kit

Each one is made with this thought in mind.

" Make it Complete, Tiny, and Lightweight and there will be no reason not to have it on you at all times" 

I have these kits in all of my vehicles, backpacks, camera gear, tackle boxes, ATVs, boats, and camping gear.  

The GO Fire Kit

 

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This is the most complete kit of its size! Inside this tiny pod that measures 1 inch across and 7/8 of an inch tall you will find everything you need to make 10 fires!  

Inside 10 waterproof matches sealed with a thin coat of plastic and then dipped with 4 coats of paraffin wax to both help seal and also act as a fuel. Also a cotton cord soaked in a natural oil and then encapsulated with 5 coats of paraffin wax to seal and act as more fuel. 

simply add light kindling, a few pieces of the cord and light with the match. Step up the kindling in size slowly until you have reached the size fire you need to stay warm or signal for help.   

BUY IT HERE

 

Check out this video to see how the GO Fire Kit works.  

GO Survival Fishing Kit. Complete, Tiny, And Light Weight!

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Growing up in the outdoors hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, backpacking, and mountain biking. I have  always tried to be prepared for anything. This being said I have always carried a survival kit on me when outdoors. I ran into an issue with this when I became an outdoor photographer. Toting tons of gear out into the wilderness makes one evaluate how and what they pack. So I stopped carrying my PSK (personal survival kit) to conserve space and weight. 

Bad Idea! After one near death experience I quickly came to my senses.  

It is dangerous and irresponsible to myself and my family for me to go off unprepared. So I set out on a mission to find a kit that was Complete, Tiny, and Light! Everything I found did not meet all three of those requirements, so I decided that I would put a kit together myself.  

After a year of searching for the right parts and pieces, and Researching what works in the real world and what doesn't. I came up with Three staples of survival.

GO Fishing Kit

GO Water Kit

GO Fire Kit

Each one is made with this thought in mind.

" Make it Complete, Tiny, and Lightweight and there will be no reason not to have it on you at all times" 

I have these kits in all of my vehicles, backpacks, camera gear, tackle boxes, ATVs, boats, and camping gear.  

The GO Fishing Kit

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 This is the smallest most complete kit you will find. In this tiny pod measuring 1 inch across and 7/8 of an inch tall, you will find everything you will need to make two cane poles. 30 feet of 15lb test line, 2 size 6 hooks, 2 reusable split shot weights, two screw in eyelets, 1 snap swivel, 1 float, and even 2 soft plastic maggots stored in a fish attractant for bait! 

Simply add a branch from any tree and you will be able to fish any body of water you can find. The addition of the eyelet to the kit will allow you to more than double your casting distance to get your bait out to deeper water where it will be more effective. 

 

 BUY IT HERE 

Check out this video to see how the GO Fishing Kit works. 

Star Trails

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The long exposure. Most all DSLR cameras are capable of taking star trail shots. A star trail is a streak of light in a long exposure shot that is created by star light. When photographing the stars at night the earths rotation cause the stars to move across the sky. Depending on how long your exposure is the trails will be short or long. The shot below took fifteen minutes to create. 

Here is how it was done.

First you need to understand the manual light settings on your camera. Shutter speedISO, and Aperture.

For star trails you want your camera to have as much light as it can get so bring the aperture (F#) down as low as your lens will allow. 

Now ISO and shutter speed will take a bit of practice and patience. I normal will shoot at a lower ISO with my camera because it is very old and tends to get grainier at higher ISO. Newer cameras will be better equipped to handle the higher ISO and no light. This will still be trial and error to get the desired effect you want in your image. After a few practice shots you will see how ISO effects your camera.

Shutter speed is adjusted with the idea of how long you would like your trails to be. I typically do not go shorter than 15 minutes because shorter trails are not as interesting to me. But it is all up to your artistic preference.

You will need a few things.

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Most importantly a sturdy tripod! If the camera moves at all even slightly during exposure your image will not have crisp clean trails. Also it is a good idea to have a remote control for your camera. This will insure you do not bump the camera when triggering you shutter. I have both the wired and wireless type, both work well for this. A flash or flashlight is handy for filling in light around and on your subject. The jeep in this photo was illuminated with a 1200 lumens flashlight. This will also take some practice, do a few practice shots shining the light on your subject. It may only take 3-5 seconds of light to illuminate your subject but it is a fine line between dark and light 

One of the biggest things to remember when shooting movement in long exposures, and this goes for night time or day time, is a fixed point of interest. Your pictures subject should not be moving it should appear that thing are moving around it. For example this image is of the jeep, the star trails are just background.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at william@GilletteOutdoors.com 

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National Trails Day!

June 06, 2015

34 hikers turned out.  

34 hikers turned out.  

A Friend of mine and Gillette Outdoors, Jeff Sparks (find Jeff on Twitter) invited me on a hike this weekend for National Trails Day.  

What is National Trails Day? 

"American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® (NTD) is a celebration of America’s magnificent Trail System, occurring annually on the first Saturday in June. NTD features a series of outdoor activities, designed to promote and celebrate the importance of trails in the United States. Individuals, clubs and organizations from around the country host National Trails Day® events to share their love of trails with friends, family, and their communities. NTD introduces thousands of Americans to a wide array of trail activities: hiking, biking, paddling, horseback riding, trail running, and bird watching and more. For public and private land managers alike, National Trails Day® is a great time to showcase beautiful landscapes and special or threatened locales as thousands of people will be outside looking to participate in NTD events.

National Trails Day® evolved during the late ‘80s and ‘90s from a popular ethos among trail advocates, outdoor industry leaders and political bodies who wanted to unlock the vast potential in America’s National Trails System, transforming it from a collection of local paths into a true network of interconnected trails and vested trail organizations. This collective mindset hatched the idea of a singular day where the greater trail community could band together behind the NTD moniker to show their pride and dedication to the National Trails System" (Nationaltrailsday.org)

 

 

Joshua Creek Trail Head, Charles Bronson State Forest. 

Joshua Creek Trail Head, Charles Bronson State Forest. 

As we made our way into the forest from the Joshua Creek Trail Head we followed the Blue blazed connecter trail over to the familiar Orange Blazed Florida Trail (FT) the photo above is of a small section that was blanked in fern. 

Damp and humid, this is the perfect home for ferns of all kinds.  

Damp and humid, this is the perfect home for ferns of all kinds.  

As the FT twisted and turned we went from scrub, to pines, to hardwoods, and even a low grassy flat where we found a rare Pitcher Plant in bloom. 

These carnivores plants growing in clusters. 

These carnivores plants growing in clusters. 

Here is the oddly beautiful bloom of the Pitcher Plant. 

Here is the oddly beautiful bloom of the Pitcher Plant. 

These strange plants are just off of an old access road that the local hikers have named Hog Trap Road.  How did the road get that name? Our trail guide was the one who named it! Here is her story.

 

All alone the trail from beginning to end grew wildflowers. When I could, I tried to stop and snap a few photos to share.

#1

#1

#2

#2

#3

#3

I am not a plant expert, if anyone is please let me know the names of these in the comments below and I can go back and caption them properly. 

Here is Jeff and the group checking out a Butterfly Orchid way up in this tree. 

Here is Jeff and the group checking out a Butterfly Orchid way up in this tree. 

In all 5.5 miles hiked and some new friends and memories made. I would like to thank Jeff for inviting me on this awesome hike and for celebrating National Trails Day with me! I would also like to thank the Florida Trail Association (Follow the FT on Twitter and Instagram) for putting on this great hike.

 

Geocaching, A Global Treasure Hunt

Geocaching, A Global Treasure Hunt.

 

Join me as I use my phone to look up and find a Geocache. And then let's look inside to see what is in the cache. Go to Geocaching.com to find out more and to sign up for FREE!  

Natural Tick Repellent

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Combine:

ONE PART TEA TREE OIL

TWO PARTS WATER  

In a small spray bottle. Spray your boots, pant cuffs, socks, and belt line. This is a great all natural tick repellent and it smells great too. 

Guest Blogger, Jeff Sparks: Chiggers! Ouch!

 Special guest blogger Jeff Sparks,

I’ll get to the chiggers in a minute. But first a little info on the trail. I visited The Cross Seminole Trail starting at the Black Hammock Trailhead. Parking is ample (special equestrian parking available) and the trail is paved.  It is built on the old railroad line that served the farmers in this area. At the trailhead you will find bathrooms (out of order on my visit) and an area for bicycle maintenance including an air pump and a place to hang your bike with some simple tools attached. Walking, jogging, biking, and horse-back riding are all encouraged.

Going south on the trail you soon run into a decision point – east or west? I decided to go east so that I could go underneath the 417 overpass. There are also many geocaching opportunities along the trail with some that are deep in the woods. And this brings me to the chiggers.

Normally on hikes I wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants. Wool socks and hiking boots. My hat covers my ears and neck and usually confuses the flying insects – they can’t figure out where to land. I have sprayed all off these items with permethrin which repels & kills ticks, chiggers, mites and mosquitos. 

On this hike I wore an untreated short sleeve shirt. What a mistake that was! The next day I started to itch and it progressively got worse. Taking my shirt off revealed about 40 red welts all over my torso and underarms. No bites on my legs or feet so the treated clothing was effective. The only medical treatment is to reduce the itching and wait for the welts to go away. The initial 24-48 hours is the worse and I still have a few areas that itch quite a bit today.

I have since discovered that LL Bean and other manufacturers sell clothing that includes permethrin. It is supposed to last 70 washes compared to the 6-7 from the spray bottle. I bought a shirt to try it out.

Don’t do like I do. Wear appropriate clothing. Take a shower when you get home. Enjoy your hike and your post-hike relaxation!

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Thanks for sharing your story Jeff! As always we love to hear stories from the trail. This one made me a little itchy I do have to say! I can totally relate to this one, I have hiked my entire life and up until just last year had never had the pleasure of chiggers. And lucky me I got them twice last year. Great tips on using protective clothing too, I found a great lotion that has sulfur in it and I have found that that will also help in keep the creepy crawlies at bay. Thanks again Jeff and happy trails my friend!

 

Everyone please support your fellow outdoor friends by following along on Instagram or Twitter.

You can follow Jeff on Twitter @shelfgeniejeff  

 

 

 

 

 

Camping Has Just Been Elevated!

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Napier Outdoors Backroadz Truck Tent.

Napier Outdoors Backroadz Truck Tent.

I recently got a new tent and finally got to use it! I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it with all of my outdoor friends.  

This will be a real world gear review not a technical review, I believe this is more helpful to most. 

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I ordered the tent from www.napieroutdoors.com to fit my truck. It is important to order the correct tent for your make and model vehicle, they also have tents for SUVs and cars. The website makes it super easy to find the correct tent for you! 

The Backroadz Truck Tent is the tent that I got

The Backroadz Truck Tent is the tent that I got

After unboxing the tent I was surprised how compact the packed tent was. It is small enough to easily fit under or behind the seat. In my Chevy Colorado Crew Cab it fits under the back bench seat with room to spare. This is awesome for the wife and I because we often take road trips and in the areas we travel hotels are not always nearby.

Napier truck tent with fly. 

Napier truck tent with fly. 

Once we reached the campsite at Highlands Hammock State Park FL, we found level ground to park and started to set up. Opening the tent feels just like any other tent, inside was the tent, rain fly, fiberglass poles, and instructions.  

Following the instructions, I rolled the tent out in the bed of my truck. This is when I found  the first difference. On the sides of the tent where your stakes would go on a traditional tent, are adjustable straps and hooks. These hooks run under the edge of the truck and hold the tent securely to the vehicle. I was pleased to see the care that was engineered into the straps and hooks to ensure that they will not harm your vehicles paint! Protective guards on the adjustment buckles to keep any hard surfaces from touching. 

After securing the straps I then turned to the poles. If you have owned a tent made after the 90s you will be familiar with these simple fiberglass poles. They are poles that are held together by an elastic line and simply unfold and lock together making one long pole. In this kit there are four, and they are color coded to make this process that much easier. Two poles just slide into pockets across the top of the tent crossing in the middle, one goes around the entry door area, and the other goes across the top to connect all the poles and create a ridge for the rain fly. If you have ever set up a standard tent you will find this part very familiar. 

Lastly the rain fly was pulled over the top and secured. In all I would say the first time I set the tent up it took me about 15 minutes, the second time I would say that time was cut to 10 minutes.  

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Right away I noticed some cool things about the tent. First is that the sides of the tent overlap the truck bed rails. This is awesome because rain will not be able to get into the bed of your truck and under the tent. Second, the tent has a sturdy floor that goes all the way up the inside of the bed. So if your like me and use your truck as a truck there is no need to clean out your truck bed.   

The entry door of the tent is large and nearly the full width of the tailgate, and there is so much more room inside the tent than I would have ever imagined. There is 5.6 feet of headroom!  

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 Being off the ground has a lot of benefits. No standing water, no critters, no cold ground... I also noticed a lot less dirt being tracked in, normally you don't have a place to sit and bang off your hiking boots untie them and stow them without ever setting foot inside your tent. The tailgate makes that all possible.  

The Backroadz is a two man tent, or in this case a one man and one woman tent. We had plenty of room even with our two dogs sleeping at our feet. I would however advise you to get the truck bed air mattress to fit your truck when you order. I will need to order one before our next trip, I am about 20 years to old to sleep without a soft bed. 

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In all we love our new Napier tent, it is great for those get up and go trips and super convenient. If you have any questions or would like to know more just email me William@GilletteOutdoors.com

Highlands Hammock

Just one of the many beautiful boardwalks in the park

Just one of the many beautiful boardwalks in the park

Located in Sebring Florida, Highlands Hammock State Park is one of my favorite parks in Florida. This park is best known for its thousand year old oak trees and amazing boardwalks, but it has so much more to offer such as more than 9000 acres of the most biodivers land in the state. A hiker can go from sandy pines and high grass land into hardwood oak hammocks full of palms and old florida fruit trees, and then find them selves atop beautiful Boardwalks that meander through old growth Cyprus swamps. 

We found this guy on the Fern Garden trail. 

We found this guy on the Fern Garden trail. 

With all of these divers landscapes also come an abundance of wildlife. Thousands of birds fill the forest, swamps, and grasslands all year. The black bear and Florida panther also make the lush habitat home. Don't be surprised to see alligators and turtles sunning on logs in the swamps or deer and raccoons passing along side your tent.  

The trees here are so magnificent  

The trees here are so magnificent  

The park offers an informative tram tour that takes the visitors to some beautiful locations in the park that are restricted to the public. Also the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) museum takes you back in time to show you how and why conservation is so important to our history and future. 

Camping at Highlands Hammock is the best way to experience everything the park has to offer. But I will warn you that this campground stays full most of the year so plan early and make your reservations ASAP! The campground has 143 sites available ranging from RV to tent sites offering electric and water on site. Restrooms, showers, laundry, and dish sinks are located in the campground and are all wheelchair accessible. 

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The first time I traveled to Highlands Hammock I was Geocaching . This is a global treasure hunt that you can do on your smartphone. If you have never done it I highly recommend it, it is free! This park has some amazing caches and is a part of the CCC Florida state park caches. This is another great activity that you can do with the whole family at this park. 

My dog Emit taking in the amazing views!   

My dog Emit taking in the amazing views!   

Pets are also welcome at the park so bring your best friend along for the fun!  

If you have any questions or would like to know more contact 

William@GilletteOutdoors.com 

Guest Blogger, Jeff Sparks

Photo by Jeff Sparks

Photo by Jeff Sparks

Boonie Falls

A recent hike on the Florida Trail brought me to a unique place – Boonie Falls. Dubbed the southernmost falls on the FT, they are not the majestic falls you may be used to seeing. But, to have them in Central Florida – known for generally being flat – is a wonderful sight.

Photo by Jeff Sparks

Photo by Jeff Sparks

Named for a local trail maintainer – The Boonieman – the falls are located at mile 359.9. Parking is available on Lockwood Blvd outside of Oviedo. A short 1 mile hike will get you to the falls. You will hear them shortly before you arrive and there is a nice bench to allow you to sit and enjoy the view. I happened upon them when the sun was shining on them. 

photo by Jeff Sparks

photo by Jeff Sparks

Depending on the season, be sure to use bug spray and expect the trail to be muddy in spots. I was surprised that the mosquitos didn’t attack me. I went just after sunrise and was in a heavily wooded and wet area. A prime location for them but they just weren’t there. Perhaps I just got lucky.

Photo by Jeff Sparks

Photo by Jeff Sparks

Another trail led me to the Econlockhatchee River – known as the Econ by the locals - and a nice scenic view. Spoiled only by a kayaker who never knew I was there. But, after he had passed the river became calm again as it made the northward trek towards the St. Johns River.

Photo by Jeff Sparks

Photo by Jeff Sparks

Thank you Jeff for sharing your beautiful florida hike with us.  

Jeff Sparks  

@ShelfGenieJeff (Twitter) 

 

If you have a favorite hike that you would like to share with us simply email your story and photos here

how you look at it

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 It's all how you look at it. I have never been very traditional in the way I live my life. I mean I have a traditional life, beautiful wife, great kids, house, job, dog... You get the picture. All of these things are my world, they make me whole, they make me, me. One thing that my wife has taught me is that some times the glass isn't half empty or half full some times it's just the right amount of water for a beautiful bunch of flowers. You see the amount of water is inconsequential to her she looks past the question because the answer itself changes from moment to moment. Most of the photos I love are taken from a different prospective, I love a photographer that showers me the ordinary in an unordinary way. I have been that way my whole life, I want to see the world from every angle. I believe that when we are children we take the time to do this, and as we grow up we just take everything at face value. When is the last time you climbed a tree? When you were a kid why did you climb the tree? You did it to change your perspective, to see what you could see. Where did that feeling of exploration go that need for adventure? It's still there, you just need to step away from your day to day to see it. I promise you that the underside of a bridge is more impressive than the topside, if you don't believe me go see for yourself. What you find might just change the way you look at your life.

A Journey Home

I went out for a drive this morning to find some golden-hour beauty. With my DSLR in hand, I found myself down back roads and trails I had never been before. Fog hung lightly in the air; the fresh dew on the grass seemed to glimmer in the warm golden light. 

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Along the way I met a few friends. I sat quietly, listening as they ate and put on their show. They made several loud outbursts; the sound cut through the forest like a knife. Their calls where answered a few moments later from the other side of a swampy cypress head. An early morning conversation. 

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When I reached my destination, the air was still and the forest quiet. The swampy creek was a looking glass, reflecting the golden light of morning. A warm glow surrounded me as I sat, concentrating on the sound of dew dripping from the branches and moss hung high in the trees of this peaceful sanctuary. This was my first time in this place but, somehow, it felt familiar. It felt like home. 

Just A Thought

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The people that really know me would say that I have a great relationship with nature, not that I am a tree huger but that I am at home anywhere I go as long as its down a road less traveled. To some people a 15 mile walk up and down hills and valleys sounds like punishment. To me it's relaxation, meditation, it's truth. I want to know what is around this next corner or just over that hill. Most trails I walk have a purpose like a waterfall, overlook, sinkhole, or an old fort wall eroded away by time. Some are just a small loop in a public park that was put there to allow you to get away from the city for just a bit to clear your head. What ever the reason for the trail to me the outcome is the same. It was an adventure, it was a bright red bird landing on the trail in front of me, or the loud crack of a stick just off the trail that freezes you like a statue in hopes the animal that broke it does not see you. It can even be slipping on a slippery mud bank into a small stream completely soaking your cloths with mud. Someone once said " if you had a dollar for all the trails you walked you would be a rich man" to which I replied "I am a richer man for having walked them"

Time Lapse Basics

There are many ways to shoot and edit time-lapse videos. One of the easiest is with GoPro cameras and software, but that is not the only way.

Time-lapse is a series of still images taken at measured increments over time, put in order and viewed one after the other. The faster you view them, the more seamless the video becomes. 

Imagine a flip book: each page is its own image, but when the pages are flipped through each of the images quickly, movement is revealed. 

Time-lapse is often used to view something that happens very slowly in a more interesting way. You may have seen it used to show flowers blooming, seeds germinating, or—as in the following video—used it to give slow moving clouds a more interesting pace. 

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Believe it or not, you can achieve this in many ways. The first is manually. To manually create a time-lapse, simply put any camera on a tripod or a fix mount that will not move and take a photo, wait an exact amount of time and then take another. This step is repeated over and over. This is the most difficult way to achieve time-lapse, but it can be done. 

Your second option is using a timer remote. Most DSLR cameras will have a wired and wireless remote option. Pick up a timer remote for your camera at your local photography shop or find it online. Make sure it is the specific one for your camera. You can then set up your remote to snap the images for you. This is a much easier and more precise way of using a DSLR to do time-lapse.  

You can also use a camera with time-lapse settings. GoPro is the most recognized camera of this type on the market right now and they really make it easy to get great video with very few steps.  

Depending on the speed of your object, you will need to pick the interval time for your captures. Most cameras will use seconds as the time, but for very slow captures—like flowers blooming—you may need to pick minutes or even hours in between images. 

Once you have your images, you will need to put them together to make your video. There are many programs on the market for doing this. GoPro has a program available for download on their site that makes a snap of this step. There are even apps for your mobile devices that make editing on the go possible.

To create the video above, I used an app for the iPad called MyStopAction. It's simple to use: just upload the shots from your card and import the entire folder of images, all at once, into the app. Once uploaded, you pick the frame rate for your finished video, add music and export. Done! 

Here is a fun little mount for GoPro that will make your time-lapses better!

Here is a fun little mount for GoPro that will make your time-lapses better!

First, find a kitchen timer. I bought this one from IKEA. If you do not have an IKEA near by, you can find something similar online. Then get an adhesive mount for your GoPro. I used the surfboard mount because I happened to have one and I don't surf, but the standard flat black mount will work as well. Do not use the curved helmet mount. 

First, find a kitchen timer. I bought this one from IKEA. If you do not have an IKEA near by, you can find something similar online. Then get an adhesive mount for your GoPro. I used the surfboard mount because I happened to have one and I don't surf, but the standard flat black mount will work as well. Do not use the curved helmet mount. 

Now you are ready to add movement to your time-lapse! Set up your camera for 1-5 second intervals and start your recording. Then set the timer and set it on a solid surface. Now you can sit back and let the camera do the work. You will love how much more dynamic your shots are with movement!

Now you are ready to add movement to your time-lapse! Set up your camera for 1-5 second intervals and start your recording. Then set the timer and set it on a solid surface. Now you can sit back and let the camera do the work. You will love how much more dynamic your shots are with movement!

Want to take it to the next level? Make the timer tripod-mountable with a few more steps. First, unscrew the bottom of the timer.

Want to take it to the next level? Make the timer tripod-mountable with a few more steps. First, unscrew the bottom of the timer.

Pull the metal cover off. 

Pull the metal cover off. 

Buy a 1/4-20 T-nut from your local hardware store. This is the same thread as a standard tripod base. Line up the T-nut with the center of the timer. Drill a large hole in the center of the plastic timer body, then drill four smaller holes around it that will line up with the spikes on the T-nut. 

Buy a 1/4-20 T-nut from your local hardware store. This is the same thread as a standard tripod base. Line up the T-nut with the center of the timer. Drill a large hole in the center of the plastic timer body, then drill four smaller holes around it that will line up with the spikes on the T-nut. 

Place the T-nut into the holes, making sure to line up the spikes so it sits flush with the bottom of the timer.

Place the T-nut into the holes, making sure to line up the spikes so it sits flush with the bottom of the timer.

Drill a hole in the metal cover just big enough for the tripod base screw to get to the threaded T-nut. Replace the cover. 

Drill a hole in the metal cover just big enough for the tripod base screw to get to the threaded T-nut. Replace the cover. 

   Not only will this allow you to get elevation and a nice firm platform out in the field, but you can now make your movement side to side, up and down, and anything in between.

 

Not only will this allow you to get elevation and a nice firm platform out in the field, but you can now make your movement side to side, up and down, and anything in between.

Editing On The Go

Here are a few of the apps I use every day for retouching, color correcting, watermarking, and titles. These are great for editing on the go and for easy, quick posting to all your social media sites. 

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PS Express:

Most photographers will be familiar with this program. Photoshop Express comes from the leader in photo and video editing software: Adobe. This is a go-to app when you need to adjust color, temperature, exposure, tint, ect. This versatile app gets the job done and is as simple to use as it gets. edit and crop your photos for Instagram and really pull out that rich color with this app!

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Pixlr Express:

Another app that has some great features for editing on the go is Pixlr Express. While slightly less user friendly than PS Express, Pixlr Express is a bit more in depth when it comes to tools. Now, this can be both good and bad, so try both apps out to really see what features you will most use from each. 95% of the time, I turned to PS Express as it is simplified and more straight forward than Pixlr Express, but there are times when I need that one filter or some funky thing PS doesn't have. This is the app I turn to to fill the gap.

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IWatermark:

IWatermark is the app I use to add watermarks to the photos I post online. If you are looking for a watermark program to protect your photos, this is the best I have found. I have tried many different apps for this task, but nearly all of them cut your picture quality in half. As a photographer, that is the last thing you want. IWatermark maintains photo quality and integrity while also being extremely easy to use. Once you've made your watermark, just load an image, select your mark, place it where you want and save or upload directly to your social media sites. It's that simple!

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TitleFX:

For simple, clean and high quality titles on the go, I use TitleFX. Again, quality is key when working with photographs. You don't want to slap a grainy, fuzzy title on your photo and call it a day. TitleFX may not offer a ton of fonts to choose from, but what fonts they do offer are among the cleanest and most commonly used. Many apps will tout "2000 fonts," but who uses DingBat or half of the crazy fonts out there? TitleFX gives me the good ones on the go and lets me get the job done right.

Guest Blogger, Jeff Sparks

 

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Flagler Trail – Seminole County, FL

Took an out & back hike this morning on the Flagler Trail (blue blaze). Starting at the Trailhead off of Snow Hill Rd, I traveled north. The morning started foggy & overcast. Everything was soaked from the rain we had the night before.

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The trail is in pretty good shape – there were a few puddles that I had to weave around. Not much was stirring due to the wet & cool morning. But every time I stopped I was swarmed by the ladies. Not human - but mosquitos.* They are not much into small talk but were always eager to see me. Only the benefits of modern science kept me safe and I was able to walk out of there without a bite.

If you like straight & flat trails – this one is for you! There are trail markers every ½ mile so you can gauge your distance & speed.

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* Yes, only ladies. If there is only one thing I learned from reading The Far Side by Gary Larson, only the females bite and suck your blood. 

Green Soup – Flagler Trail – Seminole County, FL

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Along the trail is this area of standing water that is entirely blanketed in green. Totally peaceful & I can imagine this was more common before the settlers arrived. I was expecting an alligator or the Swamp Monster to come out to scare me. But, I was able to move along without any problems.

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Florida Trail

Intersecting with the Flagler Trail is a part of the Florida Trail (orange blaze). A 1.2 mile hike to Snow Hill Rd. It is well marked and meanders thru the forest and swamp areas. If you ever want to get away from civilization, it’s hard to beat this trail. Just you and nature – no man-made objects can be seen from here. The Snowhill Mountain Bike Trail does come close at one point but there were no riders to be seen today.

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I made it all the way to the creek with a large & well-made wooden bridge. There I was able to gather the FTA Volunteer Trail Crew cache (GC2GPN3). According to the cache details, this trail was cut in 2005. After 10 years, it’s still in great shape and I hope you get a chance to explore it soon.

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Brown & White

Came across this collection of fungi today. I was struck by the flashiness of the white fungi versus the more normal brown ones. All on the same log & living in harmony.

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Circle of Life

Came across this stump on the Snow Hill portion of the Florida Trail. The stump is still giving life to other plants even though it no longer has a life of its own. A great metaphor for me as both of my parents passed away last year but they are still inspiring me today. I can only hope that I can provide the same legacy for my son.

Trekking Pole Lament

I lost my trekking pole. I left it at a trailhead last week & didn’t realize it until I got home. I went back several days later in the hopes that a kind soul had left it for me but it was not to be. Not a big loss as I only paid $20 but I still miss it!

When I bought it, I wasn’t sure if I would like using it. So, I didn’t want to spend much money and was able to get a collapsible pole cheaply. It has seen lots of use & the markings were starting to wear away.

I was thinking about replacing it anyway with a pair of lighter poles. I’ve got my eye on a cork handled model that may fit the bill. 

Don’t see many people using poles in Florida. Certainly the terrain doesn’t call for them. But I liked my pole for these reasons:

• Knocking down spider webs. I usually hike early in the morning on lightly used trails. The spiders have had plenty of time to span the trail.

• Stability – the pole allows me to look around without having to concentrate on the trail. I get to see more of the nature around me this way.

• Water – using the pole to measure the depth allows me to determine if I can make the crossing while staying dry.

• Caching – I can poke around for hidden caches without putting my fingers in danger.

Having hiked the last two days without a pole makes me miss it that much more. I almost felt naked without it. Can’t wait to get my new ones!

 

Follow Jeff on Twitter or his new Instagram here! 

Thank you Jeff for sharing your Wild Florida Hiking Trail with us, we really enjoyed the adventure and hope to see more from you in the future!