I’m really excited to have a guest post today. Jason Shreder is the owner of Montana's Zoo Town Surfers and sent us in this waterproof camera round-up for 2013.
One of the best things about spending lots of time on the river is the people you meet, places you go, and all of the memories in between. Many times, it’s hard to translate how you feel or what you see through the lens of a camera, but it's sure worth trying. There are many different reasons to take photos on river trips, and I will leave that topic for you to decide.
Nowadays, there are many options for point and shoot cameras that are waterproof, dustproof, and shock resistant. Trying to find the camera that’s best for you can be frustrating, even with the big ole’ World Wide Web. Over the past ten years, I’ve tried almost every model that’s been out. Below, I’m recommending my top 5.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 is the best waterproof camera on the market today. Nice design, quick shutter speed, and a nice zoom make this camera a deal. With an underwater depth of 40’, ruining this camera is going to be hard. Although this camera doesn’t have as many megapixels as the others (12.1), the photos will still look good if you want to print some larger photos.
The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-TX20 is a great all around camera as well. It’s a couple ounces lighter than the Panasonic (for all you minimalists), and has a couple more megapixels as well (16.2). The Sony only has an underwater depth of 16’, which is somewhat of disappointment. The camera is a bit more expensive, starting around $250.
I have a long relationship with Olympus cameras. When I first started boating, the Olympus Stylus Tough TG320 was one of the first waterproof cameras on the market. Well, the other folks finally caught up. This tuff camera has a better zoom than the others but doesn’t have the best shutter speed and battery life I need when taking action photos. For a $100, you can’t go wrong.
Some folks buy Canon, some buy Nikon. The Nikon CoolPix AW100 is similar to the Sony and is priced about the same as well. I have never liked the buttons on the Nikons, especially when wearing neoprene gloves. I like a camera that has a nice grip, and this one could certainly slip out of your hands.
The Kodak Easyshare Sport doesn't have the bells and whistles that the other cameras have, but if your looking for a cheap, simple, easy to use camera, this is it. This small and compact camera is great for kids to use on the river. Less than $100, you’ll be less upset if this camera disappears into the depths of the river.
For the record, I'm a professional river guide, not a photographer, so hopefully this helps. Floating down the river is one of the best ways to see the world, spend time with family/friends, and create memories of a lifetime. Make sure you try and capture some of those moments, so you can look back, share, and relive those awesome memories.
Jason is owner/operator of Montana's Zoo Town Surfers, a Missoula-based outfitter specializing in kayaking trips and lessons, scenic and whitewater rafting, stand-up paddleboard trips and rentals, and American Canoe Association kayaking instructor training
I always knew that Dragonflies were enemies to insects but I had no idea they were as cold, calculating and viscous as they actually are.
The top-10 list website, Listverse has set of 10 surprising facts about dragonflies. Here is my favourite fun-fact from the list:
Fact: They Can Isolate Their Prey in a Swarm
Dr. S.D. Wiederman discovered when he began studying the way Emerald dragonflies select their prey. Curious about the way dragonflies hunt, Dr. Wiederman and his team placed a nano-electrode inside the visual processing neuron of a dragonfly. They then positioned the "subject" in front of a TV monitor with two moving objects.
In simple nervous systems, multiple objects tend to fade out; the insect can’t handle the attention multitasking. But dragonflies have the ability to switch their attention between objects at will. Under observation, the dragonfly focused first on one object, then shifted to watch the second, then shifted back to the first again, never losing track of where they were. This selective attention span allows the dragonfly to single out one target in a swarm, then zero in on it exclusively-while remaining aware of the rest of the swarm to avoid a collision.
All I can say is thank goodness that they are not big enough to hunt us.
More dragonfly fun-facts on Listverse.
Photo credit: Dragon Fly | Flickr by meke http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en_CA / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
I got news over the weekend that Amy and Dave Freeman finally completed their massive 3-year, 11,700 mile expedition called the North American Odyssey which included traveling by kayak, dogsled and canoe.
Back in April, 2010 they started their afternoon adventure in Bellingham, Washington paddling the entire coastline of British Columbia, then across the Yukon and eventually working their way back to Lake Superior. The last leg of the trip included kayaking to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence then down the eastern seaboard and eventually ended up at the southern tip of Florida.
The expedition was a partnership with their non-profit organization, Wilderness Classroom whose mission is to “increase students' appreciation for the environment while improving core academic skills by introducing students to the wonders of exploration and wilderness travel through live, web-based expeditions and school assemblies.”
We interviewed Amy and Dave last year just before starting the final leg of their trip.
For those who haven’t seen Dragons Den before the idea is simple. Business owners (and weird inventors) come on the show and only have a few minutes to pitch their big idea to a group of investors (called Dragons). The Dragons decide on the spot if they are in or out. If they like your idea they make a deal and invest in your company. If they don’t like it, you get the old walk of shame... In the US you might have seen a similar version of the show called Shark Tank. Here in Canada it's promoted as Canada's most popular unscripted show with 1.3 million people tuning in each week.
This is a pretty big deal for Seaward so they have been preparing like mad for this Saturdays taping for several months when they first auditioned for the television show. “I’m president for our local Toastmasters club so the members are absolutely sick of hearing my pitch.” says Doug Godkin, General Manager of Seaward Kayaks, “That being said, the group has been great at pretending to be the Dragons and asking the tough questions to find holes in my pitch.”
Nobody at Seaward wanted to give the spicy details away about the upcoming proposal but did say that Seaward is looking to expend their kayak line into new areas and take the company to the next level.
Doug feels that they have a decent chance of attracting the attention of at least one of the dragons. “We are very proud of the fact we are an established company and all of our kayaks are built here in Canada. There is always pressure to take the cheaper way out and start production overseas but we feel strongly about keeping the manufacturing here. For that we are looking for outside investment.”
The plan is to tap the episode this Saturday (April 6) here in Toronto and it should air sometime in the Fall. “The producers haven’t given us an air date yet. In fact, there is the possibility that we won’t even get on the air. It all depends on how well the taping goes.”
I wish the best of luck to Seaward Kayaks. With 1.3 million Canadian’s watching, this is easily the biggest audience the little company will ever have so showcase their products. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to introduce kayaking as a healthy and fun activity to Canadians.
I will post an update when we know more details about an air date and all that good stuff.
More info: cbc.ca
Photo credits: cbc.ca and Seaward Kayaks.
Back at the end of January I had the pleasure to be invited to attend a strategic planning meeting for Paddle Canada. I got invited because I’m the Chair of the Sea Kayak Program Development Committee. The goal of the weekend meeting was to develop a 3-year plan and it already had a catchy title: Float Plan for Success.
The reason for the meeting came about because the Board of Directors felt the organization was just about to enter a new phase in the life of the Organization. For those who studied the long and sometimes weird boring history of Paddle Canada will remember several years ago when the Organization had major financial trouble that left it hanging on for dear life. Thanks to good leadership at the top who made some tough choices, Paddle Canada has come back stronger than ever and is now ready to tackle some new projects.
Overall the weekend was a lot of fun (as fun as strategy development can be I guess) and filled with lots of fellow paddling policy wonks nerds like me who were happy to chat the days (and evenings) away talking about how to turn all Canadians into paddlers.
A couple of days ago Executive Director, Graham Ketcheson posted a finished report about some of the changes you will see over the next 3-4 years. If you are bored already the short summary is that the new strategic plan isn’t ground breaking but it is a change in direction for the organization.
Here are a couple of highlights:
1) New Vision and Mission Statements
The new Vision and Mission Statements have a stronger focus on the development of its paddling instructional programs and the development of complementary partnerships with other organizations.
2) Strategic Priorities and Goals
After hours of brainstorming as a group we boiled down the ideas into four major categories which are Public Awareness & Membership, Youth, Partnerships and Instructor Development.
That does this all mean for Paddle Canada?
There are a couple of advantages to formalizing a strategic plan. As I mentioned earlier, none of these were ground-breaking revelations or direction changes. What it does do is to make sure that the members of the Board of Directors are on board with the new plan and everybody has bought in. The second (and more important) outcome of it is that the Board has developed a clear set of “marching orders” for the Executive Director to take and figure out how to implement over the next 3-4 years. This gives him a lot more freedom to work with people and grab the opportunities as they come along without wondering what the board thinks about this new direction.
What does this mean for you as a member or instructor member?
It means that there is going to be a whole lot more work coming down the pipe for the volunteers so we will need your help. If you have 10 minutes of free time on your hands and are interested in helping out, get in touch with Graham and he can set you up.
More info: paddlecanada.com