I NEED a First-Person-View (FPV) Drone

My retirement hobby is making hiking videos.

Best of all is drone video.

What’s next?

Certainly I’ll be getting an FPV drone … sometime.

If I HAD to buy one today, it would be the DJI Avata. But the price of U.S. $1428 is too steep.

That will come down quickly.

My current drones cost me about U.S. $300 each.

Here’s the kind of fun shots you can plan and shoot with an FPV. It’s radically different than a normal drone.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Spring Hiking/Skiing Banff

Having grown up in Calgary, I’d done a LOT of hiking in the Canadian Rockies in the SUMMER.

But for the past 3 years I’ve stayed in Banff for Spring skiing and Spring hiking.

Hiking in March / April was NEW to me.

Each time I stayed in the Samesun Hostel, the best overall of 3 good hostels in Banff.

I learned the hard way trying Sundance Canyon that micro spikes are essential for hiking ice. I backtracked to town and bought Yaktrax. An excellent product.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

BEST Spring Hike in Banff?

For sure that’s Sulphur Mountain. You MIGHT be able to ride the gondola down free. Soak in the Hot Springs at the bottom.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


For a short hike right from town I typically simply walk the rivers and creeks. Lovely.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Lisa’s Birthday Adventure Week – Moab, Utah

I had a GREAT time with Dave and Lisa Adlard in one of my top 10 hiking towns of the world – Moab.

End of March should be ideal weather for outdoor activity. BUT 2023 was colder than usual.

Lisa rented a huge house. We had 19 people.

AND another 10+ over at other rental properties.

Click PLAY or watch a HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO on YouTube.

The birthday girl and friends enjoyed a SPA session.

That same day we were at a Climbing Club in Salt Lake City.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Rapel at William’s Bottom was a highlight.

I was video guy for this one. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I skipped the Side-by-side Quad adventuring. Jason only rolled his quad once. And only a quarter turn into sand. No injuries.

We had 2 dirt motor bikes, as well.

Corona Arch was the hike where most of our group got together for sunset.

Arches National Park was cold and windy when we were there. A fantastic place.

Dead Horse Point is wonderful. We had one group hike. And one group cycle.

Click PLAY or see Deadhorse on YouTube.

We ate most of our meals at the house. One restaurant blowout was hosted at Zac’s.

The infamous mountain bike circuit is called Slickrock Trail. I survived it in 2007 and did NOT want to risk a second time. BUT some of our group cycled it safely. Jeni and I hiked Slickrock.

A wonderful adventure vacation. It reminded me of a similar trip with Adlards to the Oregon Coast in 2021.

My video/photo editing workflow

Updated March 2023.

A #CovidGoal was to improve my video editing.

Here’s a summary of my video editing journey. So far.

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. I store my best photos on a paid site ➙ Flickr by Smugmug.

I shoot iPhone photos and video in HDR (High Dynamic Range). The BIG advantage of phone cameras is the black magic used in the automatic setting.

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 a specialist 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 6 gimbal)
  3. The BIG upgrade December 2021 was getting a DJI Mavic SE drone, their entry level model. CAD $349. 
  4. For camera video I’ve switched from 24fps to 30fps as it’s a little clearer, though less cinematic. 
  5. ZV-1 is primary A roll footage.   It has by far the best audio
  6. 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 on the Sony to take a 5472 × 3080 [16:9] photo and QUICK to switch to Intelligent Auto video 4K 30fps. With 4K I have plenty of room to crop or zoom to my final product in 1080p.
  7. The biggest risk of shooting Auto is shifting exposure during the same scene.  When that happens I’ll have to crop scenes so as not to show the flickering.  One exception is with the DJI drone — with the exposure is set to Auto while flying, I can LOCK 🔓 it in by clicking the small button bottom lower right of the Fly app display.  
  8. Shooting auto I tend to get video more saturated than reality.  To that, I add even more saturation and contrast.  I like that exaggerated look though it’s considered uncool in 2023. 
  9. ZV-1 Memory Recall #3 = 1080p / 60fps for slow motion (60 is better math when slowing for 30fps output)
  10. ZV-1 Memory Recall #2 = 4K / 30fps
  11. ZV-1 Memory Recall #1 = is for Time Lapse  photos 5472 × 3080 [16:9].  This setting I use mainly for photos, choosing the best from the collection. 16:9 ratio makes for a time lapse that matches the dimensions of my export video.  
  12. PHOTOS
    1.  I often shoot photos in RAW and JPG both — but usually edit in RAW.  
    2. Apple’s free Photos app on the Mac is not perfect, but I’m still using it for organization.  And quick edits.  It’s a much better photo editor in 2023 than just a couple of years ago.
    3. I’ve switched to Pixelmator Pro for editing the best of the best photos for Instagram.  
    4. All photos are archived in my Flickr Pro account
  13. I quit trying Sony video 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. 
  14. iPhone 13 Mini on the OM 6 gimbal apps: Camera, Moment, DJI Mimo, SkyFlow
  15. the 13 Mini probably just as good as the ZV-1 in bright daylight.  But I’ll use it mostly 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. The better quality ProRES is not available on my 13 Mini.
  16. I’ll probably switch to the dedicated SkyFlow app timelapse app as it’s so quick and simple.
  17. 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 gimbal feature that finally works consistently on the DJI OM 6 is GESTURE CONTROL for tracking myself.  It seems like I have a cameraman, though I’m solo.  That’s only available on the DJI Mimo app.
    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 and audio player.  I’m currently carrying a second iPhone, the S.E. mini as my phone phone. 
  18. 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. 
  19. Editing video with Final Cut Pro X on a MacBook Pro 14″ 2021 with 16 GB internal memory. That said, the cheapest MacBook Air is sufficient for almost everything I do. 
  20. Export in 1080p
    1. master file using ProRes 422
    2. export ‘Computer’
    3. export H.264 Faster Encode
  21. Shoot 120 fps only for smoke, fire, fast moving sports, etc. 
  22. 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. 
  23. Shorter the better for my videos. 
  24. No ads

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

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 on tripod and iPhone & gimbal. Both are small, light and durable.

The top hiking blogger, Kraig Adams, recently sold his big camera and is using only iPhone and drone.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

For Want of a Nail

I’m typically the guy who says: “Why carry a nail? It’s too heavy! … We probably won’t need it on this trip.” 😀


The proverb is found in a number of forms, beginning as early as the 13th century.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Related sayings are “A stitch, in time, saves nine” and “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. 

PLANNING to Hike the Canary Islands

I spontaneously flew to the Canary Islands from the U.K.

Flights are cheap.

Weather is great in November. 😎

On arrival I found you couldn’t easily purchase camping fuel. Nor are hiking guidebooks available for sale.


I decided to stay just one week. And only on Tenerife. Reconnaissance.

But I’ll be back.

The best islands for hiking are:

Some of the best hikes require complicated permits. Some are only open on weekends. I’ll need to do more planning next time.

I’m thinking at least 3 weeks. At least 4 islands.

Buy my hiking books online. Book permits well in advance.

November ➙ February look to be the best months.

There are plenty of European tourists. But I didn’t meet even one American or Canadian over a week.

Also, you need to speak Spanglish here.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Once I bought a cheap flight to Lisbon, I found the fuel canister I needed in a hostel FREE BOX. So I know they exist on the Canary Islands.

They MIGHT be for sale from either Leroy Merlin or Decathlon in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. Some have found them at petrol stations and ferreterias, hardware stores.

Meru – climbing the Shark’s Fin

My goal in hiking is to ENJOY the experience as much as possible.

High altitude mountaineers suffer — the opposite.

I finally got around to watching Meru, the 2015 documentary film about climbing the Shark’s Fin route in the Indian Himalayas.

Mainly because I really admire Jimmy Chin, the best climber of all-time who can ALSO film his adventures.

In 2008 Conrad AnkerJimmy Chin, and new guy Renan Ozturk almost made the first ascent of the infamous Shark’s Fin. It was harsh. They suffered physically and psychologically.

Before their next attempt in 2011, both Chin and Ozturk (separately) suffered horrific climbing falls. Somehow Jimmy popped out of a monster avalanche suffering barely a scratch.

Watching the movie, everyone agrees Renan should not be going back to Meru. He suffers a minor stroke during the second climb.

Jimmy’s master work was the Academy Award winning Free Solo. (2018)

This one is no Free Solo. But it did keep me gripped from start to finish.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Meru is the anti-Everest,” says mountaineer and author Jon Krakauer. “This climb has seen more attempts and more failures than any peak in the Himalaya.”

Krakauer commentary throughout was a highlight for me.