The temperature peaked around 10°C this afternoon, so the Kid and I went to the hill.
Actually, the hill was mostly glazed in a thin coating of ice, and what wasn’t ice was starting to melt, so much so that we ultimately called it a day when we were starting to get simultaneously wet and cold.
As per usual, I bolted the GoPro to the front of the sled and recorded the more interesting parts into a short video:
It’s not the first time I’ve recorded sledding photos or video. It’s something of a winter tradition: snap a camera to the front of the sled and see what comes out the other end. But I will say that with the new GoPro Hero6 and the built in stability the results of this afternoon are some of the smoothest footage I’ve taken.
Loving that camera a little more with each outing.
Compared to last weekend, today was an epic sunshiny day of awesome. The temperatures leveled out around the zero mark by early afternoon and the sky was virtually cloudless.
Sure, I may have snuck off to get my twelve click run in with the crew first thing, but I was back at home shortly after ten and Claire and I kicked off an impromptu daddy day with an hour at the pool. Actually, it was still a little chilly for our run, so rebalancing the core body temps with a swim and then a dip in the hot tub was as much fun for me as it was for her, the little fish.
The aforementioned running crew was still hanging around for coffee, even after we finished our swim, so Claire and I popped in to chat, Claire demonstrating her best impression of a bratty, obnoxious kid while we sat in the local cafe for twenty minutes.
You’d think that was a solid day so far, but considering it wasn’t even lunch yet we still had so much more in store.
We hung the holiday lights, and it was warm enough that even without gloves my fingers were still warm enough to manipulate the stupid little plastic clips. Those are crumbling, by the way and note to self… I’m gonna need to splurge the three bucks next year and buy a new bag or two.
We spent twenty minutes recalibrating our temperatures inside before Claire started nudging about sledding. I told her to go find out if her friend, the little girl a couple doors down, could come along. I know, I know… break the no friends rule for daddy day… again. But after running and swimming and going up and down that ladder a couple dozen times, I was dreading the notion of climbing up and down the toboggan hill more than was necessary.
Sledding was slick: 25 kids on a small suburban bump in the middle of a field, but that doesn’t slow anyone down, no sir. And after my two charges had their fill and were spending more time making snow angels than actually sledding, I –good dad, am I– pulled them both home on the sled whilst being serenaded with a respectable seven-year-olds duet of “Let It Go” …in the snow.
I took Claire sledding yesterday. Readers may be under the impression that I think myself some kind of infallible father, because largely what I write about here are the highs and successes. But confession time: yesterday, I may have been a bit of a meanie-pants. Or, at least that’s how she perceived it (which, after all, is really all that matters, right?) I’ll save the details, but needless to say the snow play and struggles that I thought was all-round funny, maybe a little bit character-building, and would make great “blooper reel” footage of our afternoon, well, she thought I was me just being mean. She told her mom. It made me sad. And we had a hear-to-heart about it later. Lesson learned.
A reloaded post is a short-and-sweet collection of the (sometimes-interlinked) randomness from my recent life, universe and everything else in between. They would be more detailed but they tend to be events lacking in either (a) details or (b) depth; Or lacking in the time to more fully record them. Enjoy.
It snowed. If this seems a familiar lament, that is because the one of the last posts I wrote was complaining about snow. But it snowed again mid-week, this time burying the city in yet another (seemingly-unseasonable) blanket of the white stuff.
Thursday was chaos. Karin was in Calgary for work. I was single-parenting. And we woke up to the bluster of more swirling flakes and a good two or three centimetres of powdery accumulation.
Sparkle was not impressed and dashed out for a quick-as-she-could piddle. And I hustled to get the girl ready for school and myself ready for work, despite a lingering bit of overnight stomach discomfort. Whatever. I dropped Claire off and by the time I was half-way to the LRT station I was in a mixed befuddlement of weather and stomach pain and snow-frustration. I turned around, went home, and called in sick. It was a good thing, too, and not just for the proximity to private wash-room facilities. Over the course of the day I watched as darn-near a foot of snow piled up on then shrouded the city in white.
By four I was frantically scraping down the driveway enough that I could make an escape with my car and skid my way over to the school to pick up Claire. By five it was pretty much determined that Karin wouldn’t be making it home over the closed highways, at least not until the snow had stopped and they ploughed the roads the next day.
Running in Snow
Of course, running was out. Running in a little snow is fine. Running in a bunch of snow makes for an exhausting adventure and a subsequently interesting bit of venting via a blog post. Running in epic snowpocalypse makes for broken runners. We cancelled everything on Thursday, and even by Friday I struggled to find a bit of clear path to make even a moderate neighbourhood jaunt something besides a epic fail of winter pain. I skipped. And I skipped again on Saturday. I don’t take skipping lightly these days, but I skipped none the less. There was nothing to be done about it. It just was not fit for man nor beast out of the trails.
By Sunday, despite the encroachment of a minus-twenty chill that had slunked in behind whatever storm-front that had delivered the snow, I joined my group for a near-on seventeen kilometer trudge. But by then the paths were mostly clean and the dwindling remains of unswept trails did not much more than send us trotting off course and on a crazy path-finding expedition to routes yet unseen.
Playing in Snow
Epic snow makes for epic play, of course. Claire was not even a wisp of hesitant when I suggested we wander over to the hill for some sledding on Saturday afternoon. We weren’t the first to have thought of ascending the mini-mountain near our house, but we were the first to have trudged through any particular route from our side of the park. This meant a slog through shin-deep fresh powder, and trail-blazing a simple path from the cleared side-walk to the hill.
I shuffled and routed a straight-as-possible line from A to B, but the kid sine-waved her own variable-amplitude route. The biggest surprise upon reaching the hill was not the abundance of snow, but the fact that it had drifted into a perilous sort-of lip of hard-pack on the fast side of the slope; A run up allowed for a bit of acceleration before a solid eighteen-inch drop over the edge of the drift whirled sledders into an near-out-of-control drop and spin routine that looked downright painful for anyone over the age of twelve. Claire tested it with a head-first belly-slide, but within a quick five minutes was daring a bone-jostling repetition of the descent on her sled.
I videoed. I need my body in working condition for the next few months.
Sure enough, after weeks of postponed ship-dates and a frustratingly mysterious pre-order process, the GoPro Hero3 Black I purchased waaaaay back in early November arrived in the hours before we were leaving town for the wedding of my brother-in-law. And while one might imagine this would be an idea time and place to test out a new video camera, I never did get around to shooting any video during that particular event.
I don’t do product reviews, by the way.
Instead, having taken two full days of vacation time for the wedding, we got back home a little early on the second day (so Claire could attend Kindergarten) and I was left with a sunny and mild winter weekday, a bunch of free-time… and a brand-new action camera to put through it’s paces.
I don’t do product reviews, by the way. So, this isn’t a run-down. It’s a sweet piece of technology but as a guy who fashions himself more of a junkie about the actual output of the camera and less about what’s inside, I could have spent hours fiddling with settings and trying to scope its capabilities and limitations. Instead, I just took it for a couple outings, and had a look at what it was capable of without any hardcore fine-tuning.
The camera was a bit of a whim purchase. Occasionally I do a bit of work on the side — designing websites or logos — and the agreement we have in our house is that side-job cash is uncommitted capital for frivolous purchases. So, dishing out four hundred and fifty bucks from my fun-money-fund to buy yet another camera — while a little extravagant — is all solidly based around feeding my ongoing photography addiction. And this time, at least from my first day’s impressions, it was worth it.
The problem with (um… impact of) getting a new camera is two-fold:
1) You tend to get new equipment and need to spend a lot of time learning how to use it. Cameras all have their own personalities. They handle light in different ways, the react to shutter-presses uniquely, they push data around in patterns that may seem arbitrary, but can impact how you use the camera, and…
2) You rarely get a camera and have an immediate and perfect opportunity to use it. Apart from a wedding (which I’d never use a brand-new out-of-the-box system to snap important shots) for which I was more a participant than anything else, it was just a random week-day in December. You end up seeking out opportunities to snap or record… mundane as those opportunities might be.
For example, in learning how to use the camera and seeking out an opportunity to use it, I just went for a walk in the nearby park.
The result: some random video of various ways of moving the camera. I walked, ran, panned, got in close, grabbed some distance, and even set it on the ground to record. I back-lit, side-lit, under-exposed and applied that real-world contrast test that so many cameras fail in an epic way: snow. But the Hero3 passed with flying colours.
No sooner had a hacked the Outing One footage up onto YouTube, than my daughter came home from school wanting to spend some QT with her old man. Her idea: Minecraft. My idea: tobogganing. I won.
The GoPro came with a small assortment of mounting tools, bits, bobs, and stickies. One thing I find myself doing too often is “saving” the add-ons for “just the right thing.” Problem is, you save all this stuff, never use any of it, and a year later you’ve got a pile of pristine equipment and no footage or photos. But a quick visit to GoPro’s website will tell you that extras are a dime a dozen — well, actually six for $20 — and to save them is just silly.
So, I said frak it, and I peeled the sticky tape off one of the mounting brackets and stuck it front-and-center on our new(ish) wooden toboggan. Action Cam meet Action Kid.
The result of an hour of tobogganing on a December afternoon, GoPro Black mounted snugly to the front of our sled, was a really cool video of us walking to the hill, climbing, sledding, playing, falling, and having a great time…. none of which I can show readers here because I set it to some copyright music and it’s not getting uploaded.
But, I did try out some of the other features, all of which pair super-great with the included wifi remote. My new favourite: burst-photo mode. While it might seem silly to take up to 30 photos in as little as one second with the single push of a single button, it’s not until you’re out in the field (or in our case, on the top of a hill) with a camera mounted to fast-moving object that you realize the awesome implications of this. I set the camera to 30 photos in 2 seconds (half it’s full capability — but it seemed more appropriate for the purpose.) Face the camera at the subject, give the subject a firm push over the edge of the slope, wait a fraction of a second, and hit burst…go!
Result? Thirty sequential photos of a five second toboggan ride, twenty-eight of which are either (a) identical or (b) crap… but two which are damn-near-priceless.
Those I can post.
I think we’re going to have some fun with this new toy.