If you are over 50 (like me) then you are in the generation where technology is really astounding. Point in case, the other day I went to visit my granddaughter Zoey and when we walked in she was sitting in front of an I-pad, playing a game; she knew what she was doing and she is only 15 months old. I was impressed but not shocked as it seems like each day I have to shake my head a bit…I have the feeling you have been there as well?

My family is usually mad at me around Christmas because I am tough to shop for. The problem with being an outdoors person is that often I am very specific about the things I like, close really doesn’t cut it. I appreciate their efforts but honestly I am better just buying my own gift; so…this is exactly what I did. Video has become a very important part of the outdoor experience and I really love to share parts of what I do with my family and those out there who can also learn and appreciate the passion of fly fishing and hunting. I have a couple cameras that take video; trouble is that the one that takes great video (and photos) isn’t waterproof.Bird3 Now the camera that takes photos and video underwater (and is waterproof)…well, it doesn’t take high quality photos. So, I have to be highly cautious with the first camera and carry it in a waterproof case so that I can take many of the great still photos you have seen in my column for years…while at the same time if I want to ‘catch’ any underwater adventures, then I have to carry the underwater camera. The solution…GoPro.

You might be familiar with GoPro but if you aren’t, I bet you have seen video that was shot with it. The fact is that just recently 60 Minutes did a great piece on the camera; they interviewed the inventor and how it came to be…most of the action shots you have seen the past couple of years from surfers to skiers jumping off of mountains to skydivers…many have used the GoPro. What it does for me is allow me to use one camera to take great video both above and within water…as well as take high quality photos. Now, the real beauty of the camera is the mounting system that gives me the ability to be hands free while taking high definition video. I have a few different mounts from a Chestie (just like it sounds, it allows the camera to be strapped to my chest) to a head mount. Nothing complicated with the head mount as it is strapped directly to the front of your forehead using a very comfortable system that looks like something a coal miner would use to carry his light.

I haven’t yet used the camera for hunting purposes but for sure it is going to allow me to film some neat video of my dogs while bird hunting; in fact I have found a Frisbee dog system that will allow me to mount the GoPro directly on the back of one of my Shorthairs and get a video perspective of what they see while bird hunting…more on that in 2014.

While out in Missouri the week after Christmas I was able to put the GoPro to good use as each day I caught a number of trout with my GoPro…both in the ‘chestie’ and ‘head mount’. I have to say that the angles created by both positions gave for some incredible perspective of how to trout fish and the incredible scenery and sights that accompanies such fishing. Video #1 was shot using mostly the chest attachment and allows the viewer to watch the cadence of strip fishing and how to strip set to catch a trout. Video #2 was shot using the head attachment and gives the viewer an excellent overhead view of casting as well as the awesome scenery that accompanied me fishing in 7 degree air temperature…steaming water and foliage that is crystallized!

Each day I am continually surprised with the wide range of uses that my GoPro allows. The photos posted here were shot in my front yard…in fact I set the camera up mounted directly to the feeder and let the video run. It was a blast sitting in my comfy chair while watching the birds come/go while feeding. Bird1I let the camera run for about an hour then connected the camera to my computer; I stopped the video at various points where the stars of the show (the birds) were up close and personal, then snipped the photos using the computer’s snipping tool. Now here is the key…the video is of such high quality (shot in 960 P) that snipping the video gives you a high quality image. The camera can also be set to shoot in 1080 which is the highest quality. I might also add that the housing that contains the camera is completely waterproof and can go 160 feet underwater (which is about 155 feet further than I want to go).  All in all I am very impressed with the camera and can see that many outdoor enthusiasts from kayakers to deer hunters could put its qualities to good use. You might also wonder about pricing; as of late 2013 the GoPro HERO3: White Edition(the original model) was on sale at in the $200 range. That is a lot of camera for the ‘buck’!

Maybe it is not too late for you to buy yourself a post-Christmas gift; if so…do some research on the GoPro and I think you will see how incredible the system is for us outdoor folks. Keep tuned this year as I will hopefully have ‘shot’ some other great scenery while using my own Christmas gift as we all Enjoy the Great Outdoors.

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