Tag Archives: video

wildflowers continue!

I’ve missed a few days of posting photos because I’m in the process of putting together a second edition of my flora guide and I’ve been out almost every day hiking and photographing leaving little time for anything else. BUT, as you probably know, the flowers won’t last forever so I gotta get ’em while I can!

Yesterday I spent half the day with friends and representatives of the Maricopa Audubon Society and the Central Arizona Butterfly Association. It was a scouting trip for a possible bird and or butterfly walk next Spring. The area is in the North East part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and is one of the most beautiful trails in the Preserve. Because this area is at a higher elevation, there were still plenty of Wildflowers. To give you an idea of how much there is to see…..the trail is just 9/10ths of a mile each way but we spent 4 hours exploring! All in all, it was a very successful morning and I’m betting they will add this trail to their schedule next year.


an endless playground

For me, the highlight of our most recent Joshua Tree National Park visit was an adventurous hike through one of the many, many canyons there. It’s no big deal for a bouldering guy like Chris but it was a little challenging for me. Probably a little dangerous too since I was carrying a camera or two but hey…..I wanted proof showing I actually did it! I apologize for the shakiness but it’s tough shooting while climbing one handed 🙂
(Click Here for info on Camping)

canyon hike joshua tree
Hiking aCanyon at Joshua Tree National Park (click link for video)


agua fria national monument video

As promised, here’s a video from Sunday’s day trip across Perry Mesa.

Agua Fria National Monument Day Trip Correction: Mining dates should read 1882 not 32


Video Tech Info: Not aware of the consequences, I made the mistake of capturing video of our day trip in High Definition (Canon SX1). Even with endless editing/cutting yesterday, the smallest acceptable movie was still over 9 gigabytes. (YouTube only allows 2GB). Trail/error and googling and asking for help (thanks Michael), I finally got it down to a manageable size. Any jerkiness or abrupt transitions are my fault….the result of my drastic editing trying to reduce the file. I’m going to master this yet!

photography tips

For my friends who are new to photography (or not), here are some very simple photography tips.
Memorize them or write them down and carry with you. They’ll make photography more fun!

Rick Sammon’s Top Ten Digital Photography Tips

Here’s a link to Rick’s YouTube Channel where you’ll find more photography tips:

Michael The Mentor – Lessons on how to use a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera

Here’s a link to his YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/MichaelTheMentor

MomPhotographer – Especially for compact camera users

Here’s a link to her YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/momphotographer

first kitten video

As promised, I’m finally starting to post the first videos I took of our cats.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 3 years since we rescued Cleo and his sister Cloe!

Warning if you’re not a cat lover….Viewing my cat videos is like watching grass grow.
I can’t help it. Cleo and Cloe are so cute I have a hard time cutting anything out 🙂


(Video shot with a Canon S3IS – editing software: Vegas Studio 9 Platinum).

thinking cool thoughts

I’m testing a WordPress plug-in that lets me embed a video in a post. Since it’s so hot here,
I thought of a video I shot this past December of a hike through the wash that borders our
neighborhood. The sound of the water actually worked to cool me off 🙂


(I still haven’t figured out all the compression settings for best quality)

extracting stills from video

Boulders are being delivered on Monday so all this week I’ve been busy digging holes for them.
(They’ll look more natural if they’re slightly below ground). Here’s an image showing a hole
I’ve been picking at for 3 days! Can you spell Caliche? C – E – M – E – N – T 🙂

Of course I had to document my swinging a pick ax so I set my Canon SX10 on a little tripod
and turned it to movie mode. The following is a single frame extracted from that video.

Single frame extracted from video
Single frame extracted from video

I’m a Windows user and have always used Windows Movie Maker to quickly grab stills from movies.
(The program comes installed on PCs) Unfortunately, my two latest cameras generate a .mov format
which Movie Maker doesn’t recognize. So what Options do Windows users have?

One option is to get a file converter. I’ve tried a free program called WinnFF which works great.
It not only converts your .mov files to .avi which Movie Maker recognizes but also to numerous other
formats if you might need. It’s called WinnFF.

WinnFF converts to MANY popular formats
WinnFF converts to MANY popular formats

Another free (and easy) option requires QuickTime Player. You would just play the movie and stop it
when you see a frame you like. Then do a screen shot and paste it into your photo editor and crop.

Free Quick Time Player
Free Quick Time Player

The option I used this morning was Photoshop CS4 Extended. It has a script that will import movie
frames as layers (you must have QuickTime Player installed). This script is also fun for creating Time Lapse.

Photoshop CS4 Extended's script
Photoshop CS4 Extended's script
Layers created from video file
Layers created from video file

The next option is to buy video editing software. My first digicam (Minolta Dimage 7) had a movie function
so I’ve been playing with video since 2000. I’m by no means an expert but I’ve learned a bit over the years.
Because the Minolta captured in the .mov format, the first program I used was Quick Time Pro. It has limited
editing capabilities but you’ll at least you can play with your movies if they are .mov.

Take it from my experience; Quick Time Pro is NOT user friendly! But for the price, it’s a good way to get started.
You’ll need Quick Time Player 7 to upgrade to Pro.

Upgrade for Windows

Upgrade for Mac

Since then, I’ve tried a few video editing programs and have settled on Sony Vegas Studio.
Comparing it to the big guns (Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier ), it had everything I needed and MORE.
The best part is that it’s affordable.

Today, you have access to tons of free online video tutorials for most video editors.
When I started, I had to resort to user manuals and trial and error. Talk about confusing!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention camera software for movie editing….such as ZoomBrowser.


I’m learning Adobe InDesign at the moment and was very happy to receive (free) 30 days of unlimited access to Lynda.com. This website has video instruction for an incredible number of software titles. The instructors are top in their fields. Access for a month is only $25 which is a great deal since you can check out any of the other topics if you want. Below are the titles I’m working through. Why? I want to create a book from scratch.