cycling, hiking, photos, travel, video

DJI Mini SE Drone Test #1

I tried and failed to fly a DJI Spark drone when it was released 2017. Did not once get it off the ground. It was a dead weight on my Patagonia trip that year.

In 2021 the (Mavic) Mini SE is their entry level model. CAD $349. … How long before I break it? 😀

I’ve either gotten a lot smarter — or their drones are much easier to operate now.

Click PLAY or watch the 1st flight on YouTube.

cycling, product endorsements

My Bike Helmet Mirror

I’d always been a skeptic of helmet mirrors: Easily breakable. And WHY would I be riding in traffic?

BUT so far I’m quite happy with the EVT Safe Zone Bicycle Helmet Mirror:

  • quickly removable
  • looks very durable
  • adjustable with one hand
  • more relaxed with assurance about what’s coming up behind
  • easier to decide when to cross the road
  • 100% made in the USA

The largish mirror makes it easier to see what’s coming. But it’s nowhere near as good as a car mirror.

AND it’s quite expensive. About CAD $90.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

cycling, hiking, travel, video

My video/photo editing workflow

Updated December 2021.

A #CovidGoal was to improve my video editing.

A secondary goal, to improve photos and start sharing them more. I started an Instagram account for my hiking pics – BestHikeVisuals.

Mostly I’ve been disappointed with the many limitations of Instagram. I’m not at all a fan of that platform.

After posting my French Creek tribute, I declared I was GOOD ENOUGH at video editing for my purposes. Approaching “Concious Competent“. I could sit down at a table with a professional video editor and understand 75% of what they were talking about. 😀

The remaining 25% has mostly to do with colour. Skin tone. Complicated stuff. Creators who can afford it often send their own work out to an expert for colour correction.


Story. Story. Story.

Every edit should contribute to the STORY.

I threw this one together quickly as a teaser for upcoming West Coast Trail videos. But in some weird way, it’s evocative of that wild and challenging hike.

I’m particularly happy with the audio.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Mostly my videos are for outdoor recreation, but I also hope to get back indoor soon shooting Gymnastics.

  1. I’m usually shooting solo
  2. 3 cameras (Sony ZV-1, GoPro 7 and iPhone 13 Mini with-or-without DJI OM 4 gimbal)
  3. For video I’ve switched from 24fps to 30fps as it’s a little clearer, though less cinematic. 
  4. ZV-1 is primary A roll footage.   It has by far the best audio
  5. Ignoring advice of most experts, I mostly shoot Intelligent Auto Mode.  In fact, I shoot Intelligent Auto Photo Mode almost all the time — as it’s QUICK to take a 5472 × 3080 [16:9] photo and QUICK to take Intelligent Auto video 4K 30fps. With 4K I have plenty of room to crop or zoom to my final product in 1080p.
    1. Chris Brockhurst has different opinions on ZV-1 settings. Next time I change it up, I’ll use his advice.
  6. ZV-1 Memory Recall #3 = 1080p / 60fps for slow motion (60 is better math when slowing for 30fps output)
  7. ZV-1 Memory Recall #2 = 4K / 30fps
  8. ZV-1 Memory Recall #1 = is for Time Lapse  photos 5472 x 3648 [3:2].  This setting I use mainly for photos, choosing the best from the collection.  3:2 ratio as that works fairly well for Instagram
    1. Apple’s free Photos app on the Mac is not great, but I’m still using it for organization.  And quick edits.  It’s actually quite a good editor in 2022./ 
    2. I’ve switched to Pixelmator Pro for editing the best of the best photos for Instagram.  
    3. All photos are archived in my Flickr Pro account
  10. I quit trying Sony S-Log2, S-Log3, and other HLG profiles used by the cool kids as it was way too much hassle for dubious gains in quality.  I often shoot photos in RAW and JPG both but usually edit in RAW.  
  11. iPhone 13 Mini on the OM 4 gimbal for B roll: slow-mo, time lapse, special effects, etc. (always 4K and 60fps for slow mo or speed ramping.  30 fps normal. 24 fps low light).  I shoot HDR High Dynamic Range 10-bit as the better quality ProRES options are HUGE file sizes, very slow to transfer from phone to laptop. The 13 has less stabilization than 13 Pro or Max, so I’ll use it on the gimbal as much as possible.
    1. One great feature that only works intermittently is GESTURE CONTROL to start and track me.  Stopping the video with a gesture almost never works. 
    2. Space on the phone is not a worry as I’ll transfer photos and videos on the fly via a tiny SanDisk 256GB memory stick.  
    3. The 13 Mini will be a dedicated camera.  I’m currently using an S.E. mini as my phone phone. 
    4. When the Sony ZV-1 eventually dies, I’ll try to carry only GoPro and iPhone.  Light and durable.
  12. GoPro 7 is for B roll: action, water, fake drone, etc. (mostly 2.7K 60fps as 2.7 is the highest it can go with Superview (16:9 aspect ratio) enabled.  I’d only switch to 4K if on a tripod.)
    1. low light set on auto
    2. ISO min 100, max 400 (400 might be low)
    3. Protune off
    4. Head mount, chest mount, handlebar mount, selfie stick, or tripod, depending on the situation. 
  13. I’m planning to add drone footage in 2022.  The DJI Mini SE.   
  14. Editing video with Final Cut Pro X on a MacBook Pro 14″ 2021 with 16 GB internal memory.
  15. Export in 1080p
    1. master file using ProRes 422
    2. export ‘Computer’
    3. export H.264 Faster Encode
  16. Shoot 120 fps only for smoke, fire, fast moving sports, etc. 
  17. As little hand held video as possible.  Use tripods.  Handheld would only be used to show ACTION.  Close-up motion.  I don’t shoot much of that. 
  18. Shorter the better for my videos. 
  19. No ads

Keeping electronics powered while on the road is one of my bigger concerns.

For the iPhones, I’ll use a Anker 20W charger adapter as 20W is quickest.

For the GoPro, I’ll carry at least two 3.85 Volt batteries and a tiny charging case. I find these batteries die too quickly.

I’ll sometimes carry a solar panel in addition to a charging battery (or two).

The Sony is by far my favourite camera. But when it breaks I’m planning to continue using only an Action camera and iPhone on a gimbal. Both are small, light and durable. And — perhaps — a drone.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

cycling, hiking, travel

Cycling Norway, Faroes & Iceland

With my new touring bike, the trip I’d most like to take would include Norway, Faroe Islands, and Iceland.

Gorgeous. Expen$ive — unless you are camping most nights.

Ultimate plan is flying to Oslo July 2022. Connecting flight to Tromsø. Have my bike assembled there by a recommended bike shop.

Cycle about 3000km south to Langesund. In about 30 days. That includes close to 300km by ferry.

This route is the recommendation of a consultant I’ve hired. His name … Matthew Norway.

Matthew put together a map for me in the Komoot app. (If anything goes wrong, I’d cycle to the nearest train station. 😀 )

I’d cycle to the Island of Senja first. Then the Lofoten Islands.

That route includes about 30 ferries. Most of those free.

I’d be doing something like this.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Time allowing, I’d ALSO do some famous rides in the south of Norway as I worked my way to Oslo. Most interesting is Rena to Lillehammer, the Berkebeinerrittet route. It hosts the largest mountain bike race in the world. Or something even more challenging.

Click PLAY or watch some Norway cycling and hiking on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Weather is the BIG problem. I’m trying to put together a system that could handle the worst possible conditions. Matthew recommends the app for making decisions based on weather.

Finally, I’d take the ferry from Langesund near Oslo to Hirtshals on Denmark’s Jutland peninsula. (5hrs)

I’d book the ferry from Hirtshals in Denmark to the Faroe Islands (30 hours). It runs twice a week during the summer.

Once I get to those remote islands, I’ll mainly focus on the most famous hikes. Many of them cost $30 or more as they are all on private land.

It’s another 18 hours by ferry to Iceland. I’m still deciding what to do there.

I’d arrive in Seyðisfjørður on the east coast. Depending on my time and enthusiasm, I MIGHT do one of the routes crossing inland.

Easier would be to find transportation to the most interesting cycling areas:

Click PLAY or watch some Iceland cycling and hiking on YouTube. #inspiration

Iceland is lowest priority of the three destinations as I’ve traveled and hiked there in the past.

cycling, hiking, photos, travel

Lisbon, Portugal in November

I arrived Lisbon Nov. 2nd, 2021my birthday. During a pandemic.

My excuse was ESSENTIAL TRAVEL 😶 to get a dental implant done. Expen$ive — but excellent. And finished within 2 weeks. A dental holiday.

Click PLAY or watch highlights on YouTube. (3min)

I avoided museums and restaurant because PLAGUE — but ordered out from famed Time Out Market at least 6 times.

Tourists love Lisbon.

Fantastic street art for pretentious influencers. 😀

I stayed at Sunset Destination. Not the best hostel in town, but definitely the best located. On top of a train station transportation hub. AND they have a great rooftop patio.

I walked more than on a typical hiking day. There’s much to see. Many viewpoints to visit.

Belém Tower
Monument to the Discoveries
Praça do Comércio and Rua Augusta Arch

Santa Justa elevator
Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT)

I really liked climbing the Christ statue at sunset.

Cristo Rei

I’ll be back in Lisbon next Spring to get my implant installed.

cycling, travel

Cycling Portugal

I rode Portugal November 2021. November is considered off-season. There were very few tourists.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube.

Cycling Alentejo and the Algarve is very popular, especially with German tourists.

For me Alentejo was much better. Very undeveloped. Low population density.

The Algarve is overdeveloped. And not in any way more scenic.

Weather was good. But I did have one BIG rainstorm.

I mostly followed the EuroVelo 1 Atlantic Coast Route using an app called recommended to me by two Polish cyclists. Other cyclists recommended RideWithGPS. I’ll try that on my next trip.

It’s not much signed. Not clear. The EV1 in France — by comparison — is well signed and much better maintained.

I was quick to go off route if something looked interesting either left or right. Ended up getting lost and having to backtrack quite often.

With a week long touring bike rental from BikeIberia here’s what I ended up doing:

Lisbon > train to Setubal > ferry to Costa de Gale
Night 1 – Small room beside a small town bar in Comporta
Night 2 – Great hostel in Porto Covo
Night 3 – Tenting near Odeceixe
Night 4 – Great hostel in Sagres (huge rain storm)
Night 5 – Sagres
Night 6 – Hostel Portimao
Night 7 – Great hostel in Faro

Cost was about 30 EUR (US$33.85) / day for 7 days. Cost / day is less if you book for longer.

That included a good bike, well maintained. Helmet, handlebar bag, 2 waterproof panniers, toolkit, spare tube, pump and lock.

BEST of all — you can drop the bike anywhere you want in Portugal and Spain at no cost. The company picks it up on your last day. Brilliant.

Click PLAY or watch an EV1 promo video on YouTube.

I’m already considering riding one of the Camino de Santiago routes in future. Perhaps Lisbon to Santiago along the coast.

I slept most nights in a hostel, the best of which was MUTE in Porto Covo, where I had started my Fisherman’s Trail hike the week prior.

sunset from the MUTE hostel balcony

I would have slept in the tent more often, BUT nights are long in November. And it was colder than I expected.

In general, I took the scenic route closest to the Atlantic.

Beaches in November are deserted.

I ate one restaurant meal a day.

Free coffee at the hostels. Or on the trail.

I’d detour to tourist attractions.

I easily finished at Faro within my 7-day rental. Probably the least charming town en route.

Small coastal villages are best for me.

I’ll be back to Portugal / Spain to rent AGAIN from the same Lisbon based company. This is the easiest way in the world to do cycle touring.

cycling, health & fitness, hiking, travel

My Dental Vacation in Portugal

I got implant dental surgery November 11th at 11am. #NotChicken

I’ll update this post with details on how it went.

Canadian dentists are WAY too expen$ive.

Nations around the world that cater to “dental tourists” include:

Not Portugal. BUT I wanted to travel to Portugal for hiking and cycling in November. Also, it’s one of the most vaccinated large nations in the world during a pandemic.

Of dentists in Lisbon I looked at online, most impressive was the Institute of Implantology.

Here’s their Dental Tourism page.

I booked a FREE assessment appointment on my birthday:

  • November 2 ~ free assessment
  • November 4 ~ cleaning and measurement for ‘flipper‘ (temporary replacement tooth)
  • November 11 ~ implant surgery and placement of the flipper
  • November 15 ~ final checkout

The last 4 days in Lisbon were in case of complications. And that allows time to adjust the flipper, if needed.

Happily I had no infection nor swelling. And the flipper looks pretty good. Can you tell which top front tooth is now removable?

In fact, I’m as good looking as ever. … Ladies? 😀

I’ll return to Lisbon in 4-6 months to have the permanent fake screwed in.

The Institute of Implantology is not cheap. Price everything included for me will be about CAD $5000 (US$4000, EUR3490). Here are some of the major costs:

  • €160 CT Scan
  • € 160 Extraction
  • € 890 Implant placement
  • € 650 Bone Graft
  • € 280 Flipper

The bone graft encourages regeneration of bone and increases the odds that the tooth will stay in my skull for life.

The Institute of Implantology is the second private hospital I’ve used. The other was Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Toronto. Both are excellent. I wish I was rich enough to use more private clinics.

My surgeon was Dr. Gonçalo Caramês. Trained in Los Angeles, he married another dentist. They planned to set up practice in Seattle but he opted instead to return to Portugal because of the pandemic.

The facility itself is impressive. Chic. Very modern technology.

cycling, travel

Tree to Sea Bike Touring Loop, Vancouver Island

I’m looking forward to exploring the northern half of Vancouver Island by bike.


I’ll do some variation of the Tree to Sea Loop, 1000-kilometres on gravel around the lesser-known areas on the north end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It’s 90% unpaved.

Highlights include massive valleys, oceanside villages, towering coastal mountains, and deep fjords via an impressive patchwork of forest service roads.

Right now the route requires a water taxi from Tahsis to Zeballos, which will be replaced by the Unity Trail that will eventually connect the two communities.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

cycling, hiking, travel

Birthday Party in LISBON

I’m 64-years-young on November 2nd.

I’ll be celebrating in Lisbon, Portugal. You know — the most vaccinated nation in the world? 😇

No quarantine. No covid test. BLAST. Connecting in Montreal, I was one of about 10 connecting passengers informed that we did need a Covid test before getting on the plane. I got a 20 minute test at the airport for $150. Very confusing as Portugal allows vaccinated passengers to arrive without a test on TAP airlines and others. I blame Air Transat for poor communication.

I’ll be hiking famed Fisherman’s Trail. And Seven Hanging Valleys.

Renting a touring bicycle from BikeIberia.

BUT if anyone asks, I’m there mainly looking to get some dental work done. North American dentists are the most overpaid in the world.

searching for a dentist

As usual, I’m flying to Europe on Air Transat. Cheapest by far — BUT they don’t have many flights / week.

As it happens, I celebrated my 53rd birthday in Porto, Portugal. So this is something of a re-do.