DIY Cable Cam

 Watch the video below to see how to assemble and rig this great little DIY Cable Cam!  

GoPro or Cell Phone Cable Cam

GoPro or Cell Phone Cable Cam

Supplies you will need

5ft - 1/2 PVC SCH 40 Pipe ( cut 3-12inch 2-1  1/2inch and use what's left to roll your cord on)

3 - 1/2 PVC Male Adapters

2 - 1/2 PVC Female Adapters

1 - 1/2 PVC Coupling

1 - 1/2 PVC Tee SxSxFPT

2 - 1/2 PVC Caps

1 - 1/2 PVC Plug

PVC Primer  

PVC Glue

1 set of 1 1/4 patio Door Steel Wheels

3 - Flat Corner Braces 2 1/2 inch  

6 - 1/4-20 x 1 1/4 inch Machine Screws with nuts

1 - 1/4-20 x 2 1/2 inch Machine Screws

1 - 1/4-20 Wing Nut

4 - 1/4-20 Nylon Lock Nuts

2 - #6 5/8inch Sheet Metal Screws

1 - 1/4-20 3/4 inch Machine Screw with nut

2 - Carabiners with key rings ( see picture below)

1 can of Spray Paint that Bonds To Plastic you pick the color

150 feet of 550 cord black

10 feet of 550 cord any color

2 - Aluminum Carabiners

1 - Figure 9 Carabiner

 

Found this at my local Home Depot.  

Found this at my local Home Depot.  

DIY Cable Camera  

DIY Cable Camera  

I designed the rig to break down into 4 pieces that could easily be put in my backpack. If you did not need this feature you could omit the male and female adapters and get a standard 1/2 tee that could be glued on all three sides to save some money also the break is a nice feature but can be omitted as well.  

If you are mounting a GoPro, the standard tripod adapter screws directly to the bottom.

 

GoPro mounted to Cable Cam

GoPro mounted to Cable Cam

If you want to mount you cell phone they make a tripod cell phone holder that works great.  

 

I always love to see your work, email me photos of your completed rig and videos from your projects using the cable cam!  

Click here to contact me 

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! 

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. 

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.

Wyoming

Mountains, planes, rolling hills, rivers, lakes, and streams, here in Wyoming there are so many different types of topography all in one location. On this trip we visited a beautiful section of Wyoming called Seminoe State Park. As we exited the interstate we passed a small sign that read Seminoe State Park 30 miles ahead. That 30 miles of open road went from pretty to beautiful to amazing into unbelievable. The drive in was full of wildlife, antelope herds of fifty or more ran along side our car. Their bright white and tan fur blended together as they ran, so well that you could hardly tell where one antelope stopped and the other began. In a few locations along the roadside I stepped out, camera in hand to get a shot of the passing herds. The antelope quickly let me know that having that many friends watching your back makes for a quick response and an even quicker getaway! 

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About half way in we came upon enormous sand dunes! No rocks, no trees, just the softest finest sand in many shades of red, tan, and white. I am told it is an ATV'ers Dream! My sister in-law, brother in-law and my nephew trailer their ATV's into Seminoe whenever they can to enjoy the endless riding trails and magnificent mountain views. They have told me so many great stories about the trials and dunes. We plan to come back in the spring to do some back country rides with them, I can't wait. 

As we rounded a bend I caught sight of an enormous valley and down at the bottom was a beautiful lake. This lake is man made and it was made by damming up the Seminoe River. Along side the lake sits the boat club, a group of small cabins next to the docks and launch that gives access to this recreational boaters paradise. 

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A bit farther down the road we came to the camping area, a well maintained small group of sites with all the hookups and comforts you need. As we toured the campground we noticed a small group of wild horses grazing by the roadside. There were all different colors from white, tan, painted, and an all black horse that's fur was so dark it looked as if it was velvet. My wife Nancy and I jumped out of the vehicle and slowly made our way down the road toward the horses. As we approach they did not seem to mind us in their space. I snapped a few shots from a distance and a few more as we got closer. We watched as they slowly moved along and crossed the campground road in front of us. The large painted horse turned toward us and slowly came in our direction he stopped about 30 feet in front of us and seemed to pose for a few pictures before going back to his group. 

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Over all our trip to Wyoming was so amazing. But as all trips, it was way to short. So much to see and so much to do, Wyoming we will be back for another ride next year and we can hardly wait! 

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Deer it's COLD.

This week we are out west! Rawlins Wyoming, a beautiful little town on the edge of the Continental Divide 7000 feet above sea level. The snow and cold weather are a great change of pace, highs in the teens and lows in the negatives. 

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There have been a lot of firsts on this trip so far. This is the first time I have been to Colorado, and Wyoming. The first time I have been in weather under -20 degrees, and the first time I have seen a Mule deer in the wild! What amazing animals, large groups of them walking across vast, open snowy, wind blown landscapes. It looks to me like the community group is strong with these animals. As I watch them you can clearly see the mothers walking along with there little ones tow. As the dominant buck sits quietly watching the heard. 

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The photographer in me wants to spend hours and hours following and patiently waiting for the perfect moment. And the photographers wife next to me says lets go it's cold!

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Friend Me! It Will Be Fun!

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Over the next 6 days I will be doing some traveling to a great American city. One rich in history and beauty. What will I be doing? Geocaching, hiking, photography, history, celebrating my wife birthday, visiting some beautiful places and so much more! Where are we going? You need to follow along to find out! I am going to be posting all photos from the trip on Facebook this time. So if you would like to come along for the ride friend me at www.facebook.com/gilletteoutdoors i will see you there! 

William Gillette

Share It

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 It's worth sharing. What is better than witnessing something amazing? Sharing that moment with someone else. Have you ever had something happen when you were totally alone and thought to your self they will never believe what just happened? Most of the time you tell your story later but it just doesn't have the same energy or excitement. That memory goes by the wayside even if it was amazing. Now take that same event and ad one friend seeing it with you, Wow the stories you will tell, bouncing that emotion back and forth between the two of you. your friends and family listen to your story start to get excited and it becomes a moment. Years could go by and your friend will say remember that time we... And you will laugh and get to relive it again and again, that moment will not only live on but that relationship is stronger because of it. Me and my best friend A.K.A my wife do this often, a silent car ride one minute. The next minute we are both laughing so hard we have tears in our eyes, one "hey remember when.." Will create hours of open conversation. So go on an adventure, do something new, bring your friends, and family, create some "remember when..." Moments. Life is worth sharing!

Depth Of Field

Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

One thing that separates a DSLR camera from your standard point and shoot is the dramatic range when it comes to Depth of field. 

depth of field (DOF): is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.

TRY THIS

Put your camera on a tripod, go outside and find a fence. Set up yor camera so the legs of your tripod are touching the bottom of the fence and rotate the camera so it is looking down the fence line. Set your DSLR setting to "A" (Aperture Priority mode) and adjust you the dial on your camera that controls the Aperture setting or the F# on your cameras readout. If you have never adjusted these setting on your camera dust off the manual or search your cameras model number online for info on your specific cameras adjustments. 

Adjust the apriture (F#) to the lowest possible number for you camera, each lense has a different range of apriture so this number will be different depending on you lense. Take a picture down the fence line.  

Now without moving your camera adjust the apriture (F#) setting to the highest possible number. Take a picture down the fence line.

Compare the images.  

 

You will see that they are very different. Let's talk about the first image you took, with the lowest apriture (F#) setting. In this image the section of fence closest to the camera should be blurry and out of focus, as the fence gets farther away it should become clear and in focus and than as the fence goes on it will become out of focus again. This is short or shallow Depth Of Field.

Now in the second image the fence should be almost completely in focus the entire way. This is a long Depth Of Field.  

 

Left apriture F22, Right apriture F3.5

Left apriture F22, Right apriture F3.5

Depth of field is a great tool for telling a story in an image, it places the focal point of your shot front and center. Also the out of focus portion of the image adds mistery to the shot. Play around with your apriture setting and practice useing this setting. It's setting like this that make good images great images. 

Location, Location, Location!

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A very wise man once said "if you want to take more interesting pictures go to more interesting places". Now as a young photographer I remember running around trying to make somthing out of nothing when it came to locations, and some times it worked. But as I have gotten older I now realize that location and timing are everything in photography.

Now that's not to say that sometimes the stars don't align and you get that unbelievable shot that no one could plan for. It is more realistic that you put in the time on scouting and light mapping and timing everything out to give you the best possible chance of getting the shot you are working toward.  

Some important thing to consider when looking at a location for outdoor photography. 

When I find a location I like, I always look at the angle I need to be in for the shot. In the compass app I take a screen cap with my phone (above) so I have the information at hand when I am planing my shoot. From this screen cap I can tell I am shooting west into a setting sun. This is good info to help plan.  

When I find a location I like, I always look at the angle I need to be in for the shot. In the compass app I take a screen cap with my phone (above) so I have the information at hand when I am planing my shoot. From this screen cap I can tell I am shooting west into a setting sun. This is good info to help plan.  

1. Location, ( literally GPS or address) I always grab a quick GPS location on my iPhone. I do this so it is easy to go back to this place in the future or if I am working with others I can send them the location in google maps so they can easily find it. I also meet a lot of other nature photographers out on trails and it's nice to be able to help them find new exciting locations. 

2. Light, look around for issues regarding light. Will a setting sun be to bright to shot in the direction you will be set up? You might need to try sun rise. Are you in thick tree canopy and need the sun to be overhead to give you the best chance for proper exposure? Again a smartphone compass is a great tool that almost everyone has on them at all times. 

3. Climate, here in FL we deal with bad rain storms almost daily. I know that between 2pm and 5pm during the summer I need to make sure I have a plan in place to deal with storms. Or that in the winter months our high water table causes thick fog in the early morning hours. Researching things like this will also help in determining the direction you want to take in telling the story with your shot. 

4. Terrain, when scouting a location take carful note of the terrain you will be shooting in and anything along the trail you will be traveling to get there. When planing  a shoot the gear you bring will be drastically different if you need to hall it 18 miles up mountains and across rivers, And being prepared when you get there is a must. Tripods, filters, lens, cards, remote shutter, rain gear, water... This stuff gets heavy don't overload with stuff you will not use, plan the shoot and shoot the plan!   

All of these factors will come in to play when out on the trail. I don't plan out every photo, sometimes they come by chance. But when you find a great location and really want to make that capture special. Take the time to plan and give you image the best chance of being the one you have in your mind.

 

Photography Basics : The Rule Of Thirds

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The rule of thirds is a very basic rule that is so simple but goes so far when it comes to its application in nature photography. 

Rule Of Thirds ; dividing an image in three equal parts vertically and three equal parts horizontally. The intersections made by these lines are the focal points of an image.    

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If you look at these images you will see that I have divided them as per the rule of thirds. When I set up these shots I purposely placed the subjects that I wanted to highlight into the intersections. By doing this I made these subjects the first thing you look at when you see the photo. Your eyes will go to these focal points first automatically without you even  knowing it is happening. 

Why? It is a natural thing that you do. Survival as a human depends on it! You have been doing it your entire life. Every day you use this skill without thinking twice about it. You first learned it as a baby. When you where a baby and could not communicate with your mom and dad you looked at there faces to get your information. More importantly you looked at there eyes and mouth. If they were smiling you knew everything was ok and you where safe, there eyes bright and wide and the corners of there mouth upturned. If they where scared  you also knew to stay close to mom and dad. If you have kids you know how this works. It is the reason a baby smiles when you smile it makes them feel safe. 

 

"Controlling Light" Part 4

This is the last video in a four part series called "Controlling Light". A photography basics video that will help you better understand the Manual (M) settings on your camera. Knowing what these settings are and how they affect your camera will help you understand how to use them

 

Phototogrphy Quick Tip!

Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

 Here is a Photography Quick Tip. Straight lines are pleasing to the eye in photographs because they give your eye a path to follow through the shot. Your eye will automatically go to the end of this bridge first, because that is where all of the lines lead. In Landscape photography this is used often with images of roads, paths, fences, even rows of bushes or pines on a hillside can give you great lines. Practice useing straight lines like this to help your images tell a story to the viewer. When I framed up this shot I wanted to show the viewer how long and narrow this bridge over the gorge was. I chose this high angle with my focal path directly down the center of the image. I tried to give my viewer the same feeling and focal point I had when I first came up to this bridge. Only AFTER I located my destination point on the bridge did I look around at all of the beautiful view, and that is the way I wanted my viewer to see it as well.

Keep in mind the story you are telling may not only be visual but also mental. If I shot this image at eye level, you would have seen the bridge I wanted you to see, but by elevating the camera 12 feet above the walkway of the bridge I tried to capture the feeling you get when stepping out onto a suspension bridge 100 feet over a river. 

Practice is the only way to become a good story teller in photography. It may take 200 shots from 30 angles to get the look and feel you want. Keep try, keep thinking outside the box "pixels are free" every photographer in the world has 100 times more bad shots than good. After you get that shot that tells the story you want to tell, you will always remember the technique you used to get it for next time. And working through a shot like that is what makes good photographers great photographers! 

Now Get Out There!  

Graduated ND Filter.


Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

One piece of equipment that any nature photographer needs is a good set of ND filters, and specifically a graduated ND filter. ND stands for Nutral Density and it stops down the intencety of the light without much change in color. Most people have seen circular ND filters that screw onto the front of your lense that are one solid tint. The graduated version goes from ND tint to clear glass in a smooth soft transition. Pictured you will see a camera with a filter frame and filters installed. I prefer this style filter over the circular style for a few reasons. The first being you can easily ad more than one filter to the frame. Second the frame allows you to slide the filter in any direction in or out of frame so you can more precisely put your gradient portion of the filter where you need it. A circular graduated filter will blend in the middle of the shot every shot. So I find you set the shot up for the filter instead of filtering for the shot you want.  

Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

When do I use a Graduated ND Filter? This is used when there is a portion of you shot that is to bright to keep the rest of the image properly exposed. Example sunsets are one place I almost always use my GND filter. The foreground is in shadow because the sun is directly behind it, if you have ever taken a picture of a sunset you know that most everything in the foreground of the shot will be total black and the sky will be properly exposed or the foreground will be properly exposed and the sky will be total white and lack color (clipping). Using a GND filter you can place the gradient portion of the filter just below the horizon line then meter for exposure. Your capture will be more evenly exposed, you will get the great colors from the sky and still have foreground to tell a story.  

This filter also works great when in the woods, canopied trees darken the forest floor sometimes you will get hot spots from breaks in the tree cover. It also works great for high temp reflections off of water. There are many uses for this style filter. The cost will very wildly depending on quality, but you can pick up a descent set for around $80 US, and if you take proper care of them they will last you a very long time. 

Now Get Out There!  

 

"Controlling Light" Part 3

 

  This is the third video in a four part series called "Controlling Light". A photography basics video that will help you better understand the Manual (M) settings on your camera. Knowing what these settings are and how they affect your camera will help you understand how to use them

Source: http://

"Controlling Light" Part 2

This is the second video in a four part series called "Controlling Light". A photography basics video that will help you better understand the Manual (M) settings on your camera. Knowing what these settings are and how they affect your camera will help you understand how to use them

Tent Stake Basics


Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

If you are buying a tent or have bought a tent in the past here is some information that might come in handy.  

Pictured here you see three different style tent stakes. And if you have camped in your lifetime I am sure you have seen at least one of these before. When you buy a tent it will always come with enough stakes to stake it down, and now a days the most common supplied factory stake is the small aluminum J or L style one pictured in the middle. What you may not know is that these stakes are all intended for different soil conditions, so depending on the part of the world you are living in or going to be camping in you may need to purchase different stakes to keep you tent held tight to the ground. 

Being an avid camper I have camped in almost every soil situation and have learned (sometimes the hard way) that things like stakes will always be overlooked when planing your next adventure. So preparing now for all future trips is easy and relatively inexpensive.  

First off, let's learn what each of the stakes above are used for. We will start with the top one, the yellow one. You may also see this in green plastic or even made out of aluminum. But the basics of this one are wide flat splines that run the length of the stake. This feature makes this stake work great in sandy or loose soil, but I do warn you that one hard root, shell or rock can easily crack or break this style stake. 

Next the common factory style stake, the middle one. This stake works best in firm or clay type soil. Small surface roots like grass are fine but since this stake is usually aluminum it will bend easily if you hit larger roots or stones. In sandy or loose soil this stake will pull out in the smallest wind. Making this stake unusable.   

The last stake pictured here the long steel nail with the high visibility orange top. This stakes rugged design makes it work perfect for hard packed stoney or rootie soil. It's length also gives you more strength in high winds. This stake also works great on canopies which act like sails in the wind. 

I recommend you alway carry two styles in your tent gear. I always carry the sand style stake and the steel nail style stake in my gear at all time. The nail style stake will work anywhere the factory aluminum stake will so keeping all three is overkill. Also if you have ever used the factory aluminum stakes you most likely have bent them more often then not.  

Useing the right stake in the right situation is very important, cutting corners can and will be costly or dangerous. I hope this helps you on your next adventure. Now get out there! 

What is That Sound!? ( Campfire Story )


This is a true camping story that I love to tell around the campfire. 

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One Birthday camping trip a few years back, my girlfriend and I headed off to Hillsborough River State Park. In Hillsborough County, Florida. A beautiful state park on the banks of Hillsborough River. One night after a long day of canoeing, hiking, and Geocaching, the girlfriend and I were cooking dinner over the fire. If I remember it correctly this all unfolded somewhere between the wood grilled hamburgers and a Reese's peanut butter cup S'more.    

As we sit talking about our day, I start to hear something way off in the thick forest behind me. It sounded like maybe a raccoon rustling the underbrush or maybe a passing deer traveling an old trail that runs along side the campground. At first I did not think much about it. It was a cool night in March so we sat close to the fire side by side with our backs to the forest, the fire pit between us and the tent. With no moon and a lot of cloud cover the night seemed very dark and you could not see much farther than the edge of the fire glow. As we talked about the normal campfire things I caught the sound of rustling leaves getting a bit louder, and then louder, then faster and LOUDER! And it suddenly appeared to me that something was running through the forest directly at us!! And as it got closer it sounded BIG! In my mind flashed images of every horror film, rabid dog, and pack of wolves. I stopped talking and looked at my girlfriend quickly, she looked back at me and for a split second no words needed to be spoken. She jumped up and ran full sprint toward the tent. And no lie I jumped up, pushed down both chairs on there sides in front of me and took stance facing the woods like a football linemen waiting for the blitz! I stood starring into the darkness, heart pounding out of my chest... Out of the extreme darkness running full blast came... Four babe armadillos with there mother. They scurried over the arm of my chair around my feet and continued there way back into the forest. 

I laughed out loud to myself for a minute and then went to find my girlfriend, who I found two campsites away. LOL. The next day was my Birthday and on a long hike on the Florida trail I asked my Girlfriend to marry me, she said yes. What a great trip!