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, 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.

NEXT STAGE = STORY

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
  9. PHOTOS
    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 Yr.no 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, 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, 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.

cycling, hiking, travel

My NEW Touring Bicycle

Due to the pandemic, it’s very difficult to TEST RIDE bikes. Shops simply don’t have much inventory.

I knew that the Trek Checkpoint line were often included in lists of top Gravel Bikes for All Terrain.

I was looking for something more rugged and with more carrying capacity than my otherwise excellent Ghost.

I ended up with the Checkpoint ALR 4 … mainly because I lucked into finding one in stock at West Point Cycles in Vancouver. Still — it took over 4 months to get the accessories I wanted.

This bike is Aluminum, not steel, so it’s relatively light at 10.26 kg / 22.62 lbs. Carbon fork.

It’s got a ton of attachments. I special ordered the deluxe BONTRAGER racks front and back. I’ll load up with 4 full size panniers for longer trips.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I bought an inexpensive (CAD $43) 25 litre rear top pannier bag for those trips I want even MORE capacity.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I upgraded the tires to BONTAGER HARD-CASE editions. That should mean fewer flats. Just in case, I have a saddle bag basic repair kit.

After considering wearing bike shoes, I’m happy to have decided on flashy flats with adjustable straps. Deftrap nylon platform pedals.

I’ve hidden an AirTag so can locate the bike with the FindMy app.

Internal cables are tidier.

I now have the option to use drop bar grips — but I normally prefer flat bars. Happily, I can switch between several handlebar positions on this rig.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I put a quad lock for my phone central on the Blendr Stem. It has two attachments, normally my light and GoPro.


Once in a while I’ll take off the saddlebags and use it like a mountain bike.

Click PLAY or see it action on YouTube.


What is the Rule of 430?

… a formula that demonstrates replacing about 430 driving miles with 430 riding miles can offset the carbon cost of your new bike. Anything above 430 miles, and your bike is now carbon-negative.

Future BIG bikepacking trips I’m considering include:

books, climate change, hiking

Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire by Trina Moyles  

Trina Moyles is a northern Alberta woman who decided to write a book about climate change and the resulting increase in forest fires.

Forest fires are one of the few outdoor “dangers” that truly worries me when hiking and cycling.

Over several 5-month summers alone in fire towers, it evolved into more of a life memoir.

And Trina has had a very interesting life.

While searching for smoke, Trina unravels under the pressure of a long-distance relationship–and a dawning awareness of the environmental crisis that climate change is producing in the boreal. Through megafires, lightning storms, and stunning encounters with wildlife, she learns to survive at the fire tower by forging deep connections with nature and with an extraordinary community of people dedicated to wildfire detection and combat. In isolation, she discovers a kind of self-awareness–and freedom–that only solitude can deliver.  …

Amazon

I learned a lot. And found the book very entertaining.

Canadian Geographic REVIEW.